by RJ Anderson
Ivy sensed the stone hurtling towards her and rolled - too late. Heat scored across her back in a blaze of dazzling pain. The ground spiralled to meet her, and she knew it would only be seconds before she hit...
Ivy is a determined young faery, living in an abandoned tin mine with her clan. In a cruel twist of fate she was born without wings, and she longs to fly like the others. When she meets an enigmatic stranger, he seems to offer an answer. But there is more to him than meets the eye...
Anyone looking for light, fairytale-like fantasy reads
One day in junior high school, right out of the blue, a good friend of mine gave me a fairy poster by the talented Amy Brown. She had this love for fairies and pixies and all that shimmers and flies, and it was from her my own fascination of these little creatures grew.
When I first saw Swift, the cover art took me right back to those wonderful high school years (yes, I enjoyed those years), and reminded me so strongly of my old friend, who I unfortunately lost touch of, that I just had to read it.
Swift is just the beginning of Ivy's tale. She's a piskey, living with her family and clan in an old, abandoned mine, where they are kept safe from the world outside and its evil spriggans and fairies and nosy humans by the magic and glamour set by the strongest of their piskeys. Born wingless, Ivy has always been a little different from the rest of the piskeys, and when a mysterious creature entices her with the promise of flight, she finds herself breaking every rule and discovering secrets that will change her life forever.
Ivy, as a character, was quite relatable. I think too many young girls are, in one way or another, unhappy about themselves. Too many girls seek to enlarge their breasts, reshape their noses, fix their chins...
So when the option is made available to Ivy - who'd been living flightless in a world with beautiful, elegant wings - for an opportunity to fly herself, it is very understandable indeed what lengths she would take to make it happen. She was also a likeable character; brave, looks out for her sister, and definitely does not need a strong-jawed, fine-muscled man to rescue her.
The only other character I think deserves mention is her older brother, Mica. He was so full of ... antagonism and anger, it made me sad to think of siblings behaving like that. I was hoping for more depth into his character, but the little we saw of him made it impossible.
I should make it clear, before I go on, that I think this book is most suitable for a middle grade audience. That's not to say younger or older age groups won't enjoy it, of course - I certainly did - but I must warn you to go into the book with middle grade expectations.
My junior high school self would probably have rated this a solid four hearts, but the more adult version of me unfortunately must give it a three-heart rating. The scenes were flighty and short, keeping as minimum a level of drama as possible, which was perhaps why the characters weren't as fleshed out as I would have liked them to be.
The world of piskies and fairies, and the mysterious spriggans, all hidden in plain sight of human society, was also very interesting - and being the first in a series, I could understand how room for further development is made for the next installments. The mystery of the spriggans lasted long after I finished reading, and I am hoping they will be further explored.
Warning: slight spoilers ahead.
I was rather taken aback at how easily Ivy adjusted to living in the human world, also how quickly she learned how to fly.
Also, if it was so easy for her, why haven't other female fairies tried it themselves? Did being half-piskie had a part in it? I am aware that much of the mystery might be delved into in the next books, which is why I did not count this particular issue as a major drawback.
All in all, a fine read indeed. One I would definitely recommend for the younger fans of fantasy, especially those looking for something different and fresh from your average vampire/angel/whatever-trope love triangles. I myself will proceed to put RJ Anderson's Ultraviolet on my evergrowing to-read pile.