Title: The Faerie Ring
Author: Kiki Hamilton
Published: September 2011 by Tor Teen
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Tags: YA | Fantasy | Historical Fiction
First Lines: "You wouldn't be here pickin' pockets, would you?" Tiki jumped as the dark figure loomed over the corner where she sat pretending to be half-asleep.
The story is set in London, 1871. Tiki is a sixteen year old orphan living in an abandoned shop behind the railway station. She pickpockets wealthy people on the streets in order to survive and also takes care of four friends who she considers her family: Shamus, a boy her age, Toots and Fiona, the young ones, and Clara, the little sick one who Tiki cares fondly about. When Tiki steals a beautiful red ring, which she hopes to trade for a bundle of money, she quickly finds out that it's the queen's ring! After the handsome Rieker, a well-known pickpocket, discovers that Tiki has the ring, he tells her that it's more than just a ring. It actually holds an ancient truce for peace between the faeries' and human royals' courts. It must always be guarded by the royals since the faeries want to destroy it and the truce. Along with whoever has it in their possession...
I started reading this book with low expectations since I haven't read anything from this author before and usually aren't too fond of faerie books and historical fiction. Could I have been more wrong? Wow this book was magnificent! First, the setting...genius: Victorian London set in the 1800s. It was the perfect set-up and the author played by the rules. I hate when historical fiction books aren't accurate, whether by the way the characters talk, dress, or interact. But Kiki nailed the dialogue just right and included real places in London where events in the book took place.
I grew so fond of Tiki's brilliant character: she was determined, honest, mature, courageous - overall a great protagonist. Being a sort of leader of her 'orphan family', she truly cared about the others living with her and would stop at nothing to help heal little Clara, the four year old girl with croup. Each of the orphan characters were developed and I got to know them so well. So kudos to the author for her fabulous and memorable characters that felt so real. I also liked how she was able to put the reader on the fence about whether or not to trust Rieker. He and Tiki start having feelings for each other, but she doesn't know if she can fully trust him or not - whether he just wants the ring for himself. I continuously jumped back and forth with my opinion about him.
From page 153
Her fingers tingled with an unusual warmth when they brushed his skin. Surprised, her eyes darted to his face to see if he had felt the same thing. Expecting his usual aloof expression, instead his smoky eyes were locked on her face and the walls that he usually hid behind were gone. There was something that almost looked like longing in his expression.
The novel had a little bit of everything sprinkled into it: historical fiction, romance, mystery, fantasy, realistic - I loved every page of it! Kiki has a beautiful way with words. Her writing was descriptive, vivid, and realistic (minus the faeries). I felt like I was right beside Tiki throughout the story. The book was deeply imaginative and creative. I was instantly absorbed into Tiki's mysterious world. This was definitely the best faerie book I ever read, and actually answered many of my questions. Nevertheless, I'm still confused about some things, but hopefully they will be answered in the second book. The climax of the book was nail-biting and I had to stay up until 2 a.m. to finish the book because I was desperate to know how it ended. It wrapped up nicely and left room for more, just how I like it.
Cover Thoughts: I think it's gorgeous, love the text and colors.