I’ve been meaning to read the earlier works (Fae: The Wild Hunt among them) of Graham Austin-King as I loved both Faithless and The Lore of Prometheus from him. A while back he kindly gave me an audiobook code for Fae: The Wild Hunt, the first book of the Riven Wyrde Saga and I finally got around to listen to it.
|Series: Riven Wyrde Saga #1||Genre: fantasy, dark fantasy|
|Date of Publishing: March 9th 2014||Publisher: self-published|
Faeries… The fae… The stuff of bedtime stories and fables.
But sometimes the faerie tales are true. Sometimes they are a warning…
For a hundred generations the fae have been locked away from the world, in the cold, the Outside. They have faded out of sight and mind, into myth and folklore. But now the barriers are weakening and they push against the tattered remnants of the Wyrde as they seek a way to return.
As a new religion spreads across the world, sweeping the old ways and beliefs away before it, a warlike people look across the frozen ocean towards the shores of Anlan, hungry for new lands. War is coming, even as the Wyrde of the Droos is fading.
As the fae begin to force their way through the shreds of the Wyrde, will mankind be able to accept the truth concealed in the tales of children in time to prepare for the Wild Hunt?
Okay, so, I had no idea what to pick. I literally just typed “The Hunt” into the searchbar on Youtube and this is what I got. Not a song that would be on my playlist, but I think it goes with the book.
I have to admit, I’m really on the fence about Fae: The Wild Hunt. It’s been ages since I’ve read the blurb of it, so I went into the book pretty blindly. I didn’t know what to expect. But I also had certain expectations as I’ve read some of Austin-King‘s later books and loved them. I don’t know if it was the audiobook, the fact that I probably wasn’t in the right frame of mind, or that it’s quite different from his other books, but found myself not to enjoy it as much as I hoped to. Whatever the reason, I really can’t put my finger on it and I’m overall annoyed by this situation in general.
Fae: The Wild Hunt starts out pretty interestingly. Devin and his mom have to get on the road to get away from Devin’s abusive and violent alcoholic dad. But their caravan gets attacked and they are forced to hide in the forest, where strange things are lurking in the shadows. Devin’s introducing chapter sets the atmosphere quite nicely. You have this sense of foreboding right from the beginning. And you don’t have to wait too long for it to pay off.
The story is told from four POVs: Devin, Klöss (sorry if I misspell his name, that’s the downside of listening to the audiobook), Selena a duchess and a mysterious old man. The different plotlines come together slowly, and generally the whole book feels like a slow build up to the later books in the series. Kloss and Devin’s plotlines get about the same amount of time and we get a look into their lives and different backgrounds and lifestyles. The old man and Selena has supporting POVs to show us what is going on in the wilder world outside of Devin and Klöss’ quite narrow world. While Devin is confined to the village and the forest around it, and caught up in the affairs of its people, Klöss, against his father’s wishes joins the reavers and becomes an oarsman. He belongs to the people whom the islanders call Bjornmen. It’s quite intriguing to see the brewing conflict from the POV of both sides.
I might be wrong, but I had the feel that this story was partly inspired by the Vikings invading Britain, even if that explicitly wasn’t said out. Another interesting aspect was the clash of the new religion (New Days, which has the characteristics of Christianity) and the old religion which faded into superstitions and only a very few people still believes in the Fae, who are getting ever stronger and waiting in the shadows for the right time to claim their glory. And they are far from the joyful, friendly creatures you might know from the Disney movies.
I think I was hoping for something more folketale-y in regard to the setting and overall feel. While I admire Austin-King‘s worldbuilding and the way he waves the life of his characters together, Fae: The Wild Hunt lacked the charm to sway me off my feet. I really couldn’t get invested in any of the characters and eventually that affected my enjoyment. But if you are into some dark atmospheric epic fantasy which doesn’t shy away from some bloodletting, then you definitely should give Fae: The Wild Hunt a try.