Friday, November 4, 2011

Sharp, Anthea: Feyland: The Dark Realm

Expected publication: December 16, 2011
YA Sci-Fi/Futuristic Fantasy, 270 pages
Acquired and read: Sent by the author (thanks Anthea!) in return for an unbiased, fair review; I read it all in one go between last night and this morning - the bags under my eyes are SO worth it


Feyland is the most immersive computer game ever designed, and fifteen-year-old Jennet Carter is the first to play the prototype. But she doesn’t suspect the virtual world is close enough to touch — or that she’ll be battling for her life against the Dark Queen of the faeries.


Tam Linn is the perfect hero — in-game. Too bad the rest of his life is seriously flawed. The last thing he needs is rich-girl Jennet prying into his secrets, insisting he’s the only one who can help her.


Together, Jennet and Tam enter the Dark Realm of Feyland, only to discover that the entire human world is in danger. Pushed to the limit of their abilities, they must defeat the Dark Queen… before it’s too late.

So remember how the other day I was bemoaning the fact that I can't find any more good renditions of the legend of Tam Lin? This little gem totally fits the bill.

Meet Jennet Carter. Fifteen years old and living the good life as an addicted sim gamer - and as the daughter of one of the top developers in the market, she gets the new stuff right when it comes out. But with the new game her dad and his friend Thomas have developed - Feyland, the most adaptable, immersive game to date - she might have gotten in over her head. The lines between reality and old legends is fading, and when she crosses paths with the Dark Queen, she finds exactly how much is at stake.

And then there's Tam Linn. An earthly knight, to be sure, but not one with a charmed life. Balancing his gaming with a messed-up home isn't easy, especially when he can't help but want to get closer to the new, rich girl who keeps poking her nose into his business.

I'm not a gamer - well, not as much as I'd like to be (does Nancy Drew PC mysteries count? Seems like I can't cut myself off from the literature) - but the concept of being pulled completely into a game, raising the stakes so that the life you have is the only one you've got, is a compelling one. I couldn't help but tense up right along with Jennet and Tam as they got deeper into Feyland, and closer to each other. There were a few moments where I felt like, "COME ON! Communicate with each other!" but for the most part, their partnership fits as seamlessly as the plot.

Feyland proves that being published away from the general market doesn't mean low quality. There is a good amount of structure from the original legend and at the end, I definitely felt relieved that this wasn't going to be the last of Feyland (and you know how I feel about sequels recently). If you like faeries, a touch of sci-fi and old ballads, this is definitely the story for you.

Warnings: A bit of profanity. That's all.

Final verdict: Yes. But you can't have my copy. IT'S MINE.


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