About the Book
Title: Faery Swap | Author: Susan Kaye Quinn | Publication Date: December 19, 2013 | Publisher: Independent | Pages: 281 | Recommended Ages: 10+
Summary: Warrior faery princes can be very stubborn. Especially when they possess your body. Fourteen-year-old Finn just wants to keep his little sister out of Child Protective Services–an epic challenge with their parentally-missing-in-action dad moving them to England, near the famous Stonehenge rocks. Warrior faery Prince Zaneyr just wants to escape his father’s reckless plan to repair the Rift–a catastrophe that ripped the faery realm from Earth 4,000 years ago and set it adrift in an alternate, timeless dimension. When Zaneyr tricks Finn into swapping places, Finn becomes a bodiless soul stuck in the Otherworld, and Zaneyr uses Finn’s body to fight off his father’s seekers on Earth. Between them, they have two souls and only one body… and both worlds to save before the dimensional window between them slams shut.
Faery Swap is an action and druid-magic filled portal fantasy, told by both a runaway faery prince and the boy he’s tricked into taking his place. This Prince and the Pauper meets Warrior Faeries tale is suitable for all ages.
NOTE TO TEACHERS: A 2 minute book trailer and a 9 minute Virtual Author Visit video brings Author and Rocket Scientist Susan Kaye Quinn (Ph.D. Engineering) into your classroom, sharing her background in science and engineering and talking about her book, Faery Swap. A downloadable Teacher’s Guide includes discussion questions, activities, and a Knowledge Seekers card-based game designed to be played in the classroom – all aligned to Common Core reading, writing, and college readiness standards for Grades 3-6. (Virtual Author Visit can be found at Susan’s website: www (dot) susankayequinn (dot)com/p/virtual-author-visit.html)
My Thoughts: Faery Swap is a fast-paced, fantasy-based adventure steeped in Celtic folklore that wastes no time jumping right into the story. The story centres around Finn, an adolescent boy who moves to England with his little sister and his emotionally-distant father. After dropping his sister off at school, Finn meets a strange boy – the faery prince Zaneyr – who tricks him out of his body and who has his own agenda. Finn finds himself trapped in the Otherworld, a mythical world where “anams” or souls go when they depart their bodies on Earth; and where, coincidentally the faeries live.
Finn must find a way back to Earth and convince Zaneyr to swap their anams so that Finn can once again inhabit his body. But things get complicated when Finn and Zaneyr uncover secrets about their families and must work together to prevent the King from repairing the Rift between Earth and the Otherworld which could result in the loss of all “anams” forever.
Faery Swap is a a page-turner featuring a complex and intelligent plot merging fantasy and science fiction genres with elements of Celtic mythology and theology. This story has so many plots twists and turns that it can best be characterized as pleasantly unpredictable. The author excels at misleading the reader only to have key revelations change the direction of the story. The chapters alternate between Finn’s and Zaneyr’s perspective thus giving the reader insight into their intentions. This approach really helped build the tension in the story and was effective in providing balance between the two main characters.
The character development, especially with regards to the two main characters, Finn and Zaneyr, is rich, deep, and complex. When we first meet Finn, we immediately feel compassion for his situation: his mother is dead; his family moves to England, his father is so distant that Finn feels responsible for his younger sister Erin; and he is the target of the local bullies. So, when Zaneyr comes along and greedily takes Finn’s body, you can’t help but to immediately dislike him. But, the author is very clever. As the plot unfurls, we learn more about Zaneyr and his intentions and we come to appreciate his perspective. Well done!
The story itself is richly complex as the author spends considerable time and effort in world building. Apparently, the origin of the Otherworld is from Celtic mythology and the author does a great job of deswcribing this world filled with fantastical creatures such as talking trees, spriggans, faeries, and a variety of sprites. My favorite part of this world was the kicking and punching grass – something I wish we could grow here on Earth! The book also includes the odd pencil drawing. I really liked the inclusion of these and would have liked to see even more included in the book.
As I’ve mentioned, the plot itself is fairly complex as the author must explain the Otherworld, the Rift, dimensional strings and cubes, and portals which allow for swaps between faeries and humans. The sub-plot of the King’s desire to repair the Rift and the possible consequences of this action was also very complex. There were times that I found myself having to flip back in order to fully understand what was happening. I believe that younger middle graders (i.e., 8 to10 years old) may find the plot too confusing and too complex to fully understand. That being said, I also believe that more advanced readers will appreciate how the author doesn’t “dumb down” the story either. It’s just a matter of matching the book to the appropriate reader.
My Bottom Line: Faery Swap is a riveting fantasy adventure steeped in Celtic folklore featuring rich character development and a pleasantly complex and unpredictable plot. I highly recommend this book to advanced readers aged 10 years and older who love fantasy, science fiction, or stories bringing myths and legends to life. This one is a real page-turner!
* I was provided this book free-of-charge from the author in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own. The author is participating in our Book Promotion services.
“I’ve seen and enjoyed this theme before, but never in a book for this age group and Ms. Quinn carries it out beautifully. The kids were fun and acted like kids, which makes them believable for all ages. The pace and action will keep readers flipping pages greedily. Also, telling the story from the two viewpoints greatly added to my overall enjoyment. Highly recommend for ages 9 and up.” ~ 5 Star Review, Alan T., Amazon
“I am a 10 year old boy. My mom recommended this awesome book to me because she knows Kai Strand, who knows Susan Quinn. I was hooked from the first paragraph! This is a wonderful ( and quite thrilling) story! Good for all ages and I wish I could rate it 100 stars! … I can definitely recommended this to almost anyone! Good job to Susan Quinn. The story is balanced neatly between Zaneyr and Finn, by Finn’s perspective in the first chapter, Zaneyr’s perspective in the the next, then Finn again, and so on. Great book and is a must read.” ~ 5 Star Review, Red Rose, Amazon
“I LOVED this book. This is one of those books that grabs you and doesnt let you go. Susan Kaye Quinn is an awesome writer! Feary Swap is funny, well paced, and filled with adventure. It’s a book no kid will want to miss. I especially loved the witty humor that kept me laughing page after page. The world building was vivid and phenomenal. I could just see this as a movie in my head. I liked how the author sneaks those educational moments in there without you even knowing it. A delightful book for old and young readers alike. Get it!” ~ 5 Star Review, Daddy’s Girls Book Reviews, Amazon
About the Author: Susan Kaye Quinn
Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy, which is young adult science fiction. Faery Swap is her foray into middle grade, which is her first writing love. Her business card says “Author and Rocket Scientist” and she always has more speculative fiction fun in the works. You can subscribe to her newsletter (BONUS: new subscribers get a free short story!) or stop by her blog to see what she’s up to.
* $25 Book Blast Giveaway *
Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)
Contest ends: May 29, 11:59 pm, 2014
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