Friday, November 11, 2011

Book Review: The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton

The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pages: 352
Received: Review copy from publisher
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads Page


From Goodreads:

Debut novelist Kiki Hamilton takes readers from the gritty slums and glittering ballrooms of Victorian London to the beguiling but menacing Otherworld of the Fey in this spellbinding tale of romance, suspense, and danger.

The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood—Tiki’s blood.

Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched—and protected—by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. Her very existence haunts Prince Leopold, the Queen’s son, who is driven to know more about the mysterious mark that encircles her wrist.

Prince, pauper, and thief—all must work together to secure the treaty…


I don't like faeries

Faeries are one of my DO NOT WANT features, mostly because I think they're jerks and I have a hard time getting on board with their haughty superiority complexes (but also because I find it hard to swoon over a glittery guy described as "delicate").

If you're with me on faeries, then don't worry because The Faerie Ring is not your typical faerie book (fairy? faerie? Can't we get ONE spelling??). They actually don't take up much time in the book at all and when they do, they're definitely Bad News, as they should be.

Plus, they're never the romantic lead, so I didn't have to squirm over that.

I'm a cold-hearted woman

Gritty slums? Um, more like depressing slums. The first, oh, 130 pages or so mostly follow the plight of Tiki and her ragged band of street urchins as she tries to steal food and acquire medicine for them.

There is nothing wrong with this part at all. It's written well and I can see how people would find the kids adorable.

But me? I guess I'm a meanie because I was totally bored. I didn't really care that the kids were starving and one of them was really sick and they were all living in a cold abandoned building. I mean, sure, that's sad, but the kids were so "stock cute orphan" that I just couldn't muster up any feelings for them as individuals.

Plus, dirty, starving, sick kids doesn't make for exciting reading. Every time they sat there looking cold and ill and all "Please sir, may I have some more?" I wanted to snap at them and say, "NO! Now get off your butt and go kill a fairy."

I know, I sound awful.

None for you!

Name your romantic lead after this guy, and I'll pretty much love him forever

Ok, so he's not named exactly after the dashing Number One, but it's close enough for me. That he had a totally swoon-worthy personality didn't hurt matters either.

Rieker has that laid back swagger personality. He's cool, confident, enigmatic, and he has a charming protective streak. His relationship with Tiki develops slowly in the background and is based on mutual admiration earned over time. Points for that!

Outside of the elusive promise of brewing war, Rieker was my main reason for continuing on. My interest level spiked every time he entered a scene.


+ Side character Prince Leo who isn't a romantic interest (despite what the blurb might imply), but I still fell for him anyway. And no, not just because he's a prince (though that didn't hurt his cause). He's a "nice guy," but he's also inquisitive and a pretty sharp cookie. I would love to read more about him.

+ Dressing up for a masked ball. What can I say, I like playing dress up and hobnobbing with royalty.

+ The final third of the book. The pacing picked up and I was curious to find out who would make off with the ring in the end.

Stars off

I was totally confused about Tiki's age for a good part of the book. During the whole beginning part her voice, mannerisms, and actions felt like she was on the younger end of the YA spectrum, maybe even bordering on MG. Her street urchin family felt like her peers.

Then about halfway through she started to feel more like the mother figure to the rag-tag bunch. This made me feel better about the budding romance and Tiki's interactions with Leo, who is clearly not MG-aged.

But, eh, it was kind of a weird adjustment to make. I don't know if I was just reading things wrong in the beginning or if there really is an abrupt "aging," but this took away from my immersion and enjoyment.

I also just wasn't feeling Tiki in general. I didn't dislike her, but I didn't click with her either. This made the romance and all of Tiki's plights feel sort of flat for me because I was never fully invested (as if my Miss Hannigan routine didn't already make that perfectly clear).

The pacing was also a little uneven for me. I found the first 130 pages pretty boring and while the latter half picked up, it never delved as deeply into the impending faerie war as I was hoping it would. Instead the climax focuses on the sick little girl and, I'll admit, I was prepared and happy to sacrifice her for the good of the entire human population.

Bottom line

A nice solid book that ends as a standalone, though I'm pretty sure there are sequels planned. The historical setting was nice, but not overly immersive. I'd call this historical fiction lite.

I liked the third person narrative and while the POV does jump around a little, I thought it was pulled off well. Most of the POV focus is on Tiki, but the glimpses into Rieker and Leo's POV's (which I liked MUCH better than Tiki's) makes me curious to see what Kiki Hamilton would do with a male main character.

I liked it, I'm glad I read it, but I'm disappointed that I didn't connect with Tiki and that the war and intrigue never really developed as much as I hoped it would.

I did like Kiki Hamilton's writing style though and she definitely knows how to write attractive guys, so I'll be keeping an eye out for what she writes next. I'm not sure yet if I'll continue reading about Tiki though.

Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key 

Do you have any questions about The Faerie Ring that I haven't addressed? 
Feel free to ask in the comments!

Does Ruby agree with me? Disagree? Find out today at Ruby's Reads! Check out our Historical Fantasy Jubilee full schedule of events and giveaways!

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  1. Too bad you didn't like this one all that much, Small. I really like this time period and fairies don't really bother me all that much. Sounds like a win win for me. As for the Oliver Twist reaction, I felt the same way with the hundreds of orphan books I read when I was little. No wonder I was a reluctant reader back then. Sheesh.

  2. I lurve me some faeries no matter how you spell 'em! I think I'll try this since the fae are my fav snack read :D

    I'm interested to see if I pick up on an age discrepency with Tiki. Dumb name, Tiki. Why, Kiki Hamilton, why? Oh, never mind.

  3. Rummanah, I liked it a moderate amount overall, even if I did have a few things I didn't click with. Haha, see, when I was a kid I probably would have been all over the orphans. Orphans seemed to have such a cool life (Annie, Anne of Green Gables, The Boxcar Children). :P

    Evie, haha I didn't mind the faeries in this book. They were bad, which is exactly how I like my faeries. :) I hope you like it!

  4. Oh, Small! I didn't like Reiker very much, despite his awesome almost-Star Trekian name. (So glad to hear you're a Next Generation fan, btw.) And, I actually didn't think the on the streets stuff was gritty enough. Though, I'll admit that I LOVED the masked ball stuff. I totally wish they still held them.

  5. I really love fairies ... :( But it's more the idea of cute little winged girls with big eyes and sparkling clothes - that has something sweet for me! :D

    But I do understand your antipathy against books about. I find it hard to believe that fairies belong in other stories than fairy tales ... There is nothing attractive about them in the way of werewolves or vampires ... *gg*

    Anne (from Living in a Fairy World)

  6. This sounds interesting, though I admit I passed on this because of the faerie in the title.
    I don't like fairies either, unless it's fairy tales!

  7. Lol, the orphans didn't make you pity them? I hope I'll be able to relate to them better then ;)
    I'm glad there's no love triangle because the summary kind of suggests that there's one.

  8. Nope, you're not a cold hearted woman. Well, at least I don't think so, but maybe that's because I am one. I would have been frustrated to. I'm on the same page with you about faerie books. I don't like a lot of them, but this one may be okay. I don't think I'm going to rush out to read it though. I kind of avoid faerie books like the plague. Same with angel books and mermaid books. I have issues, me thinks!

  9. You don't like FAERIES??? (I know about the spelling) How could I know you this long and not know that? You have recommended series that have faeries in them to me. How can you say that??? You love Fairy Tales! Small you're killing me!

    That being said, I haven't read this one. It's been sitting here next to me saying, "Kristi said to read me" and yet, it sits. For me, it came with Daughter of Smoke and Bone and I truly don't know if another book will ever be able to awe me as much as that did. So since they came together I think it has a reputation to live up to. Silly me. And you don't like faeries. My NaNo story has a faery in it. You better like him. He's a hunk!


  10. Ruby, That's fine, I'll keep Rieker for myself :D Calling me a Next Generation fan is an UNDERSTATEMENT. Don't get me started though. I'd probably scare you with how much I can geek out over that show :) I want masked balls too! (I'd step into my holodeck and be all, "Computer, Masked Ball. Make it so.)

    Anne, Those faeries are cute! I can do cute faeries, and I can do BAD faeries, but I don't like the feminine male faerie love interests or the creepy BAD faeries who are also love interests. You're right, they should stay in fairy tales :)

    Alex, The faeries were a surprisingly minor part of the book, so if the rest of it sounds good to you then you might want to give it a try.

    A Canadian Girl, haha nope, not even a little :P I almost wish there was more of a love triangle. Poor Leo was left all alone and I just wanted someone to scoop him up and give him a kiss.

    Jen, hehehe we can be cold hearted together >:) I've only read a few angel and mermaid books myself. I can only take them in very small doses (but I'm Still not tired of vampires).

    Heather, ah, well, you probably don't know it because I'm not consistent about it :P See, I don't like faeries, but then I have a whole bunch of exceptions where I do like them. Or I love to hate them (like Reth in Paranormalcy. I LOVE him, even though he's totally awful to Evie). Fairy tales are different (why? I don't know :P ) I'm really big on exceptions to pretty much every "rule" I have.

    AAaah, you are another person who loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone! I'm so scared of reading that book :O Don't worry, I'm sure I'll love your faery. :)

  11. I agree with Small on Rieker. He wasn't OMG FABULOUS, but he was definitely swoon-worthy. I basically agree with your rating of this book, Small. For much of the book it was a struggle because I kept getting... well, bored. I hope the next one will be better.

    - Asher (from Paranormal Indulgence)

  12. Hmm, I'm on the fence on this one. I'm concerned I would not like the depressing, starving children aspect. I have a tender heart and don't really like reading about sick kiddos.

    I think I'm still going to wait a while for this one, maybe get it from the library?

  13. I've seen this book floating around for a bit now and I must say, I'm intrigued! Maybe because I do have a thing for fairies (Sorry!) or the whole ring thing, I dunno. Sounds like a book I could really enjoy though. Need to keep it on my radar!

  14. Glad that there are no faerie romantic leads in this one. I'm just not a fan either. Hurray for bad faeries!

    It's a shame that the faerie war never really panned out. Perhaps the author is leaving that to develop a bit more in the sequels? I hope so, because I kind of want to give this one a go. I've had not amazing luck with faerie books and was thinking this one might be a nice change.

  15. Asher, Yup, there are more swoony guys out there, but Rieker still did it for me. :) I hope the next one will be more action-filled.

    Gina, Aw, well, as Ruby said, it's not THAT gritty. I'm always a fan of getting books from the library. Or maybe you'll win our copy!

    Book Geek, pfft, you don't have to apologize! I suspect the fairies will play an even bigger role in the sequel, so definitely keep an eye out for it!

    Aylee, Yay for bad fairies! It was the Melissa Marr series that turned me off from fairies. I think the fairy war will be developed more in the sequel, or, at least, I hope. I'm not sure how it will work out because it seemed like everything was pretty well resolved on that front. But I guess I'll see soon enough. Have you read Paranormalcy? I think you'd appreciate Kiersten White's take on fairies :)


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