Series: Feral Child Trilogy #1
Published by Quercus on June 2014 (originally 2011)
Genres: Children's Fiction, Faeries, Fantasy
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Maddy, an orphan, is sick of her Irish town, and sick of her cousin Danny, one of the nastiest people you could meet. Mad as hell one evening, she crawls inside the grounds of the castle, the one place she has always been forbidden to go. Once inside, she is chased by a strange feral boy, who she suspects is one of the faerie: cruel, fantastical people who live among humans and exchange local children for their own.
When the boy returns to steal her neighbor Stephen into his world, Maddy and her cousins set off on a terrifying journey into a magical wilderness, determined to bring him back home. To do so, they must face an evil as old as the earth itself.
A wild and relentless story about Maddy and her cousins on a perilous quest to rescue Stephen from the Winter Queen’s court. It’s been a while since I picked up a middle-grade book so I was looking for an exciting one, and The Feral Child certainly didn’t disappoint – this dark faery tale had me hooked!
Thirteen-year-old Maddie tragically lost her parents in a car accident and has been sent to Blarney in Ireland to live with her grandparents. She hates it there, isn’t getting on with the local kids including her mean cousins, and is generally displeased with life. One evening, she meets a strange and otherworldly boy while walking in the castle grounds. Later, Maddie’s three-year-old neighbour, Stephen, is stolen by faeries and taken to their realm, and it’s up to Maddie and her two cousins Roisin and Danny to save him.
To be honest, Maddie was a bit of a brat. She was rude to her just about everyone and especially her grandparents, and while I can appreciate that troubled thirteen-year-olds might actually behave in this way, it was hard to read. Thankfully once the adventure in Tír na nÓg began she began to appreciate her cousins a bit more. Her cousin Roisin was lovely, and Danny didn’t really seem to be the bully he was supposed to be at the start.
Where this story really shines is in the fast pacing and brilliant descriptions of locations and action. I actually felt this might make a great (although scary) film – it almost reads like a screenplay.
The Feral Child would suit the more mature of the middle-grade range – there are some downright creepy sections in this book and I wouldn’t like to walk anywhere at night after reading it! The fae in general are quite nasty, stealing children away and torturing them (thankfully not discussed graphically).
Any child, or adult for that matter, who enjoys a creepy faery tale should really enjoy it. This is actually the first book in a trilogy, so I’ll be looking out for the next one.
– A gripping dark faery tale.
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