Publisher – Fox Spirit Books
Published – Out Now
Price - £7.99
Petra McDonald is a bisexual, pagan artist who lives and works on a small Scottish island. While in a trance, she paints a young girl who has been abducted by the Queen of the fae and it falls to Petra to save her.
She must travel to Faery, collect three items for the Queen, escape the sec spell of the Selkie prince and steal the loyalty of her fae guard.
Can she bring the child home before it’s too late?
Myths are timeless we are told but I tend to think the best myths where we get the opportunity to hold our own time and morals up against it and see where we are moving to. In this charming mix of modern adventure and ancient faerie story we get what I hope is the start of a new series of adventures reminding us of what hides underneath modern lands.
We follow Petra McDonald who has found on an unnamed Scottish island both a shelter and a way to live her life the way she has wanted to. As well as following her wish to be an artist she has found that this island offers a way for her to practise her pagan beliefs in the service of the Goddess Brighid but unexpectedly one painting trance shows a girl in what appears to be mortal terror. Petra finds her Goddess has recommended her to the Goddess of Warriors the Morrigan who has decided Petra is best fitted to finding the girl stolen by the Fae. After finding that Goddesses never give up Petra decides to seek out the land of the fae and discover what is really going on.
What follows as Petra meets the fae in some ways is a familiar path – The Fae Queen wants three mysteriously unobtainable items to perform a great spell and Petra plus her fae guard Valerian must journey to other parts of the magical land and perform certain tasks to find the items. These tales involving banshees, selkies and other creatures from pagan mythology on the one hand will remind you of older tales but I think the key to the story is Petra brings modern sensibilities – she offers morality about the value of life; consent and serving the greater good all remind us that the world has moved on and Kinsella has added a suspicion that even the Fae are not above seeking some changes.
And while elements of the tale are ancient Kinsella has a really nice flowing style that really does bring the tale to life. The horror of a girl trapped by spiders with human faces to the mysteries of crows who surround you in a circle mean this is a story with a very close link to nature and there is that sense of a pace underneath the world as we know it just on the edge where time passes differently. While the story has a clear ending there are enough signs that Petra is only just beginning to find a new role and purpose and I will be very keen to see what other mysteries need to be unravelled.