Knife by R.J. Anderson was published as Spell Hunter in the US and is the first book in the Faery Rebels series. I got the UK edition because I think it looks much better than the US one and the UK covers for all the books in the series match. The picture below doesn’t do the cover justice because it’s a lot nicer in person – the blue stands out against the black and the print is shiny. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book, especially from Sounisians because I believe R.J. Anderson is a member of that LJ community.
Here’s the summary from R.J. Anderson’s website:
There are humans at the bottom of the garden, and a glimpse inside their forbidden House convinces the fierce young faery hunter known as Knife that they have knowledge that could help her dying people.
But if the human world has so much to offer, why is the faery Queen determined to keep her people away from it? Is there a connection between the House and the faeries’ loss of magic? And why is Knife so drawn to the young Paul McCormick — that strangest of creatures, a human male?
I know there are a lot of YA faery series out there – I’ve given several a try but I stopped with just the first book in most of them because I feel like they weren’t for me. Knife was different because I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I’m glad that I already have a copy of Rebel. Ever since Bryony was a young faery, she’s had this longing to go outside the Oak to discover what’s out there. In this series, fairies are small creatures so they’re scared of crows, foxes and even cats and dogs. Humans are viewed as monstrous creatures intent on harming them. However, Bryony doesn’t understand why her people aren’t brave enough to fight back. She gets the chance to prove herself when she’s apprenticed to the Queen’s Hunter – the person responsible for protecting the Gatherers who reluctantly leave the Oak to collect food. The Hunter also provides whatever meat, skins and fur that she can acquire. When Bryony takes over the position of Queen’s Hunter, she chooses to change her name to Knife.
I really liked the faery world created by R.J. Anderson and I think it’s my favorite so far out of all the faery series that I’ve read. It was interesting to note the similarities and differences in this world and other faery lore. I can’t reveal much without mentioning spoilers but I really liked how the faeries’ magic worked. Knife is such a feisty heroine. She’s inquisitive even as a child and she questions the rules of the Oak. There’s a mystery behind that and why her people lost most of their magic and Knife is determined to find out more about it. She’s different from all the other fairies because she’s not content with the status quo. She’s willing to take risks even if it involves endangering herself. It was fun to see everything through Knife’s eyes as she tentatively explores the world beyond the Oak and the humans that live in the House. I really liked how the friendship between Knife and Paul, a human teen, developed – initially, they were just curious about how different they are from each other but eventually, they connect and bond over common interests like their fascination with art. I highly recommend Knife to fans of faery stories and MG/YA fantasy readers. Like I said, I’m looking forward to reading Rebel and I have a feeling I’ll be purchasing Arrow soon (I’ve seen it in local bookstores).