Thursday, September 22, 2016

Elfland: A 2nd time around

Synopsis from Goodreads: Rosie Fox is a daughter of the Aetherials, an ancient race from the Spiral—the innermost realm of the Otherworld—who lives secretly among us. Yet she and her kind are bereft of their origins, because on Earth, in a beautiful village named Cloudcroft, the Great Gates between worlds stand sealed.

Her parents, Auberon and Jessica, are the warm heart of Cloudcroft and of Rosie’s loving family. But on the hill lives the mysterious, aloof Lawrence Wilder, Gatekeeper to the inner realms of Elfland. Tortured by private demons, he is beset by trouble on all sides: his wife has vanished and his sons Jon and Sam are bitter and damaged. Lawrence is duty bound to throw open the Gates every seven years for the Night of the Summer Stars, a ritual granting young Aetherials their heritage, their elders vital reconnection to their source. Lawrence, however, is haunted by fears of an ever-growing menace within the Spiral. When he stubbornly bars the Gates, he defies tradition and enrages the Aetherial community. What will become of them, deprived of the realm from which flows their essential life force? Is Lawrence protecting them—or betraying them?

Growing up amid this turmoil, Rosie and her brothers, along with Sam and Jon Wilder, are heedless of the peril lurking beyond the Gates. They know only that their elders have denied them their birthright, harboring dark secrets in a conspiracy of silence.

When Sam is imprisoned for an all-too-human crime, age-old wounds sunder the two families…yet Rosie is drawn into his web, even as she fears the passions awoken in her by the dangerous Wilder clan. Torn between duty and desire, between worlds, Rosie unwittingly precipitates a tragedy that compels her to journey into the Otherworld, where unknown terrors await. Accompanied by the one man most perilous to her life, she must learn hard lessons about life and love in order to understand her Aetherial nature…and her role in the terrifying conflict to come.

My Thoughts

This is my second read of Elfland and I'm sure I enjoyed it even more than the first time. The writing style is dramatic but beautiful. The worlds are magical.  However, the characters are faeries that act incredibly human. On my second read I found it easier to focus on the mythical aspect of the book where as the first time it was all about the romance.

This book spans over about 15 years. At times the Foxes and The Wilders reminded me of The Capulets and The Montagues of Romeo and Juliet, but not quite so dramatic. These two families, whom lived a short walk from one another, that has known each others families for decades were just shy of hating each other. Lawerence Wilder, The Gate Keeper, has created a demon within his own mind which holds him back from opening the Gates, allowing the Faeries to roam freely through our world on Earth and the Otherworld. Shutting the Gates denies his sons as well and The Fox children an opportunity to understand their true natures as Aetherials. 

The Fox family consist of Auberon, the steadfast stable father who can fix all problems. Jessica the carefree hippy mother who has a passion for life. Mathew, an arrogant bully really that did love his family. Rosie a sweet girl, cared about everyone and worked too hard to please everyone. Lucas, the youngest, the shy artistic sensitive guy. They all love each other very much, as is shown repeatedly throughout the novel to the point of controlling and smothering. 

The Wilder family consisted of Lawrence, The Gate Keeper who closed the gates because of a nightmare he essentially let become real and control him. He was so depressed, detached, paranoid, in pain mentally. His first wife left him, Ginny because the sadness he carried around like a cloud. The dark feeling, along with the abandonment of their mother and their distant father really messed up his children, Sam and Jon. Sam fell more into petty crimes, fights, and just being a nuisance until her disappeared completely. He is, admittedly a stereotypical bad boy. The leather jacket and motorbike, He cursed a lot and made dirty jokes.  Jon was a serious drug addict. No one is very happy about Lawrence's new wife Sapphire and yet, Lawrence is too wrapped up within himself to do anything about it. 

Their are a lot of adulterous secrets. 

The children's lives, though not by choice seem to meld and blend and become family. Jon and Lucas are inseparable from their late teens. Sam is not shy about his unrequited love in Rosie though she can't see past his petty crimes. She instead is dazzled by the idea of Jon, gentle, "Angelic" artsy. Which I completely understand. His carefree charisma, always trying to find something deeper. Until he in no way noticed her in return. 

The writing really kept me intrigued. It was a slow start to get a full background on all of these characters who separate lives were always meant to be interwoven. I do wish more of the book took place in the Otherworld. The characters took a while to embrace their faerie nature. Therefore, much of the book focused on their lives and struggles in the human world. I loved the drama, it was a realistic part of their lives. Every character wanted to escape who they really were as Aetherials. Until it was in their face beyond escape. And they understood why it was important to embrace the inner you. Very inspirational in this way. And a nice warm ending.

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