Book Review: Winter Fae by Melissa Turner Lee and Pauline Creeden

I met Pauline Creeden on Facebook several months back, and she’s helped me tremendously with some writing projects in the past. When she put the call out for bloggers to review her new book, co-written by Melissa Turner Lee, I readily agreed.

Winter Fae is a story in itself, but it’s more than that. It’s a prequel of the upcoming novel Armored Hearts, written by the same authors. There is a bonus chapter from that book, slated to come out in February 2013, at the end of this story.

I loved the cover the moment I saw it. Isn’t it gorgeous? Based on the cover alone, I would give this story five stars…more if I could. 🙂 The story gets, however, gets four stars, and this is the reasoning behind the rating.

The story itself, I would only give 2.5 stars because:

  1. I didn’t get a good sense of who the characters were right from the beginning. I didn’t know why I should care about this dying fae and her son, other than the fact that it’s sad when anything dies.
  2. The story didn’t feel natural to me. There was way too much backstory in the conversation between the fae and her father (and in the narration), and it all just seemed conveniently rushed to keep the preview short.
  3. There were several editing issues I saw that could have been caught before this went live (and maybe they have been by now. I’m not sure).

I liked the story, but I didn’t like the way it was handled. I thought it was interesting, but it left me wanting more—a LOT more, as in a full, novel-length prequel based on the fae’s life before she had her son, so that we could get to know her a little better. I think it would be spectacular if the authors fleshed out the seed of a story they have here and gave us a better glimpse into the fae’s world. Please, Melissa and Pauline??

The “bonus chapter” I would give 4.5 stars because:

  1. I didn’t see the editing issues I saw in the preview story.
  2. I knew who the main character was (the blond-haired boy, Tristan) from the preview story, and I loved the glimpse into his character that this chapter allows. In the preview story, he seemed so lifeless and inactive…not fully formed as a personality yet.
  3. I could get a good sense of who the other characters were in relation to the main character. I especially loved the maid, Sarah’s, Scottish accent. That’s a hard thing to convey in writing, and it seems as if the authors have done that very well.

I’m deducting a half-point because of how the bonus chapter ended. Is this the place the actual first chapter of the book ends? I hope not. It’s very awkward. “The stone rolled between Gareth’s fingers, and he remembered the feeling of the girl’s lips on his cheek.” The End? Right in the middle of his conversation with Mr. Strong? It almost feels like another preview, not the first chapter of a book. I think it would have been better for this sample chapter to have ended at a more natural, definitive break in action.

This is the first time I’ve ever used a mathematical formula to complete a book review, but here it is… 2.5+4.5=7, divided by 2 is 3.5. Rounded up (because Amazon won’t let you give half-stars), that’s 4. And I don’t mind the rounding up, anyway, because I really did like the first few pages of the bonus chapter…and I like the story idea…plus (let’s be honest here) I greatly appreciate the help Pauline has given me in the past.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of Armored Hearts turns out. I think it will be amazing!

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