Monday, August 11, 2014

Reflection Pond by Kacey Vanderkarr

Sometimes you find home, sometimes it comes looking for you.

Callie knows a lot more about pain than she does about family. She’s never belonged, at least, not until she falls through a portal into her true home. The beautiful faerie city of Eirensae doesn’t come free. Callie must find her amulet and bind herself to the city, and most importantly, avoid the Fallen fae who seek her life. Seems like a small price to pay for the family she’s always wanted.
Then she meets cynical and gorgeous Rowan, who reads the darkness of her past in her eyes. He becomes Callie’s part-time protector and full-time pain in the ass. He has secrets of his own for Callie to unravel. What they don’t know is that the future of Eirensae lies with them, and the once peaceful city is about to become a battleground for power.
~Goodreads

Publisher: Urban Fey Press
Number of Pages: 242
Type: Paperback

Reviewed by Ellie, age 17

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who loved fairies. She wished she could fly and was immensely jealous of her younger sister, whose entire bedroom was decorated in a fey-based theme. Yes, this little girl was me, and while my fascination with fairies has dwindled as I have gotten older and outgrown my Barbie Fairy movies (insert trademark/copyright infringement here), my interest was piqued when I started reading Reflection Pond by Kacey Vanderkarr. Fairies? Fairies who live underground? Fairies who have glamours and secrets and very sad backstories? Count me in.

Reflection Pond actually does not start with fairies directly: it starts with a teenage girl named Callie who, bouncing from foster home to foster home, has finally had enough. Running from her past, her problems, and her overly pushy boyfriend (you go, girl!), Callie has the misfortune of being hit by a motorcycle, her limp body flying into the roadside pond. This, she thinks, is the end. However, it turns out that this pond is actually a portal to a fairy city that resides outside of space and time-a fairy city that claims her as one of its own. As Callie adapts to this new life, she uncovers various secrets and treacheries along with some problems of her own, aided and abetted by Rowan, the sarcastic bad boy who’s own days in the fairy city are numbered.
Pretty good premise, eh? It sucked me in right away, and, thankfully, the book lived up to it’s hype in regards to world building and description. It can’t be easy to think up an entire fairy world with its own (very bloody) history, social customs, class system, and government, but Vanderkarr pulls this off seamlessly. I was forever entranced by the strangeness and beauty of the fairy world (fairy wine that causes strange effects, glamours that hide a fairy’s true form, violent wars fought for power, cities each built on single value, et cetera). This was aided by the wonderful description employed throughout the book. It was easy to visualize all the action and scenery, and even the characters (who I usually have a problem seeing as, well, people) seemed very real and easy to characterize.
The final positive aspect that I will touch on is the fact that this book discusses various abuses of children, and does so in a respectful and informative manner. I appreciated the tact applied when discussing such topics, and believe to have such frank discussions about such abuses is both important and informative.
As for the negatives, I have two main qualms: the continuity and the romance. The continuity is a minor offense, something that can either A) be cleaned up easily for future editions or B) be ignored, though I found myself somewhat distracted by the jumps in occurrences and dropping of plot lines. I think that my second complaint is far more important: the romance was, at times, just a little cheesy. As someone who never got caught up in the Twilight craze, I may be part of a minority here, but I found the romance between Callie and a certain main character to at points be a little unbelievable and unreliable.
All in all, the book was a summer success. I recommend it to any soft-fantasy fans or people who like a little fantasy to go with their deep, emotionally touching fiction.
Trigger warning: some discussion of abuse and other such sensitive topics.

This book is on shelves now!
Buy Paperback | $9.99

Happy reading!
Ellie, age 17

2 comments:

  1. Very interesting review. I also love fairies and I love underground societies, so this book sounds like I'd enjoy it. I'm glad to hear it addresses the abuse of children in a thoughtful way. It's a subject close to my heart, and I love it when fantasy novels deal with it.

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  2. I appreciate your honesty! I like to know the story behind the blub before buying a novel :-)

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