Okay, yet another book that I read because I loved the cover. But, come on, isn’t it pretty? Aesthetics aside, I really enjoyed the book. Warrington creates an interesting multi-layered world. Aetherials, elf or fairy type creatures, can pass as humans in this world but need to re-enter their own world in order to rejuvenate themselves. Gatekeeper, Lawrence Wilder, fears a growing danger to the Aetherials living on earth and closes the gates permanently. Earthbound Aetherials can retreat the Dusklands, a fairy-type, parallel world on earth. Dusk is one of my favorite times of day, so what a wonderful idea to be able change your perception slightly and enter a world of perpetual twilight. With the gates closed their powers begin to dwindle and younger Aetherials are deprived of the rites of passage necessary to understand their kind.
Warrington’s book seems like a condensed, single volume epic, there is so much going on in it. Warrington said that Elfland originated in part by her fascination with houses and the houses in the book (both physical and familial) are characters in themselves. It’s a tale of two intertwining families. Aetherials descend from one of five worlds based on the elements. So, there are the earthy Foxes of Oakholme, who live in a warm, tree-inspired home. The father Auberon reminds me of a king of the forest. And then there are the cold, etherial Wilders who live in Stonegate an old mansion that reeks of despair.
Rosie Fox first encounters the Wilder boys, Sam and Jonathan, when she ventures into the Dusklands near Stonegate. The Wilder boys, notorious troublemakers, catch them on their property. Sam steals Rosie’s precious necklace that was a recent birthday gift from Auberon and leaves her with a scar on her neck. Even as she is traumatized by Sam, she is drawn to Jonathan. When their paths cross much later, Sam is still getting into trouble and enjoys taunting Rosie who has become infatuated with Jonathan. When Sam is sent to prison for manslaughter and refuses visits from anyone but Rosie, she soon finds that the brothers aren’t quite as she imagined.
This was an engrossing family saga and I enjoyed getting to know the characters and their secrets. I was a little disappointed to find out that the next book in the series is going to be focusing on different characters. There are still things that I want to know about the Foxes and the Wilders. With such an interesting world, I’m sure it will be worth reading.