Friday, March 16, 2012

Stolen Away by Alyxandra Harvey

Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Pages: 288
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Summary: For seventeen years, Eloise Hart had no idea the world of Faery even existed. Now she has been abducted and trapped in the Rath of Lord Strahan, King of Faery. Strahan was only meant to rule for seven years, as Faery tradition dictates, and then give up his crown to another. But he won't comply, and now chaos threatens both worlds.
The only one who can break his stranglehold on the Faery court is his wife. . . Eloise's aunt Antonia. Using Eloise to lure Antonia, Strahan captures his wife, desperate to end the only threat to his reign. Now Eloise must become the rescuer. Together with her best friends Jo and Devin, she must forge alliances with other Fae, including a gorgeous protector named Lucas, and Strahan's mysterious son, Eldric-who may or may not betray them.

I read Alyxandra Harvey’s first stand alone novel, Haunting Violet, last summer. Since discovering that one, I’ve wanted to read more of Harvey’s works. The fact that I’m willing to give faery books a try and maybe read about vampires (the six Drake Chronicles are her biggest works) again speaks volumes for the writing in Haunting Violet.
Eloise spends most of her time with her two best friends, trying to get through high school under the radar while still being pretty awesome. Jo could care less about being under the radar, wearing dresses inspired by eras gone by and spending her time writing or at her grandparents’ farm. Neither of them are aware of what is about to hit them--there is an entire faery world rife with political drama and on the brink of war. When El is taken into the world in the place of her aunt by the evil faery king Strahan, Jo and their newfound faery acquaintances must get her back and stop Strahan before someone is seriously hurt.
As we know, I (generally) like books with multiple points of view. Both Eloise and Jo had enjoyable voices to read. I did prefer Eloise, whose quiet disposition made people assume that she was a pushover. Untrue! She was a total badass and aspired to the look of a ‘40s pinup model. Way cool character.
Alyxandra Harvey writes witty books with good histories behind the stories presented. Part of the story takes place when Eloise’s mother and aunt Antonia were teenagers and explains the connection between El’s family and the Fae. I love when interesting parents get the chance to be seen as teenagers (prime example of such being in Harry Potter). Harvey managed to weave this directly into the story without making it explanatory dialogue. GOOD STORYTELLING.
Something I might have had a problem with was the instalove in the Jo/Eldric and Eloise/Lucas pairings, but I think this one gets a pass because of its fairy tale qualities. Eldric and Lucas were like old fashioned princes (despite Eldric being far more modern) that the romances read like princess stories from Disney. Acceptable due to Harvey’s craft.
In Stolen Away, Alyxandra Harvey created a great fae mythology, blending old fashioned fae court life with the very modern sensibilities of Eloise and Jo. I wasn’t so sure about reading faery books, but after this one I’ll surely be reading more (by that I mean Holly Black’s and perhaps I’ll give Julie Kagawa’s books a shot?).

Rating: 4 - good.

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