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This is a weekly post that I often see over on Stephanie's blog, and I've been meaning to join in for AGES. And this week is Fae, which is MY THING, so how could I not do this one? (Pictures link to the books' Goodreads pages!)
I'm very picky about my Fae. They aren't magical cute beings - they are nasty, tricky, completely inhuman, and have intricate long plotted power plays. And generally think mortals are toys. So it's clear who fills the most obvious and who I think absolutely nails this the best:
Holly Black is the absolute monarch among Fae stories. Her character nail the brutality of the fae. I hold all my other faerie tales up to this standard, and while many have come almost up to this level, I still haven't found anyone who's bested this series for it. (Incidentally my rules for vampires are generally on the same principle as my fair folk*, and Holly Black has written one of the only vampire books that qualifies for this. I also haven't read many vampire books, so there's that.)
*It depends how the world is set up. Vampire Academy books for example are built on a completely different mythology than normal, and The Finishing series is also not supposed to be that way. But traditional vampires as we've come to think of? I don't want de-teethed vampires. They need to be bad. (I'm not opposed to the occasional swoon. But only if they're still bad.)
That being said, there are still plenty of Faerie books I've loved.
This book was totally not what I was expecting! I thought it was going to be fluffy fun times...but this book takes the Fair Folk seriously. As they should be taken. So I was pleasantly surprised (but of course had my heart stomped on too...) when I started this one.
I'm pretty sure Fae show up in all of Marillier's book at least to a small extent. These fae aren't brutal the same way Holly Black's are, (Or what I've seen of Kerstin Hamilton's) but they are impassive to humans and far-thinking. And they play a bigger role in the later Sevenwaters books.
The Raven Boys - So technically this doesn't have any Fair Folk. But there are certain aspects of the mythology (I don't want to say much because SPOILERS. So. Yeah.) that definitely feel like a book with the Fair Folk.
Neverwhere - Gaiman doesn't have what I would traditionally consider Fae in his books...but they all have characters that are very, very similar. This one definitely comes the closest to what I'd call Fae. Actually I probably would call them Fae. But I've already put it down here, so it's going to stay down here.
A Great and Terrible Beauty - The way magic works and what you find in the other world definitely feels Fae. This might actually also technically belong not on the honourable mentions. WHATEVER I'VE BEEN UP SINCE 5 AM. I can put these wherever I want them!