Kirsten Ciccarelli’s latest offering, Edgewood, invites readers to the edge of a forest full of deadly fae, horses made of fire, and shadows waiting to devour the next unsuspecting victim. This urban fantasy overflows with deadly magic and romance that is sure to delight fans of works like An Enchantment of Ravens or The Folk of the Air series.
Singers, grandpas, and fae, oh my!
The story follows nineteen year-old Emmeline Lark, an aspiring singer, who has escaped her eerie small town of Edgewood, a place where fae are rumored to snatch away people in the night, and monsters loom in the shadows. But Emmeline thinks the rumors about Edgewood to be all silly superstitions told by the people of Edgewood to help them overcome their own trauma and sadness.
Yet no matter how far Emmeline runs from Edgewood, the forest chases after her. Anytime she sings, the scent of moss clogs her nose, and bugs and vine consume the stage. She thinks she’s going crazy.
However, one night while performing, and the forest threatens to claim the stage yet again, Emmeline receives a call that her grandfather (her only living relative) has gone missing from the old folks home. Emmeline chalks the disappearance up to his ever growing dementia claiming his mind. But when she arrives back to Edgewood, she discovers her grandfather has been tithed to the Wood King, the Fae lord ruling over Edgewood.
Determined to get her grandfather back, Emmeline braves the woods she so desperately has tried to escape her whole life. She meets the Wood King’s tithe collector, the grumpy, yet annoyingly handsome Hawthorne Fell. Together, they make their way to the Wood King’s court where Emmeline makes a deal with the horrifying fae lord for her grandfather that could cost her everything.
Tropes, tropes everywhere
Tropes abound in this fantasy. Take your pick. We have a dark, brooding male love who quite literally shows up on a horse made of fire. There are fae creatures that like playing tricks on humans. We have classic fantasy fetch quests that involve a dragon. An evil force is poisoning the forest like a sickness. Also, we have all the i-hate-him-but-that-makes-me-want-him-more-gosh-dang-it moments. And so many “strangled” and “tortured” looks from our dear male love interest. There are a couple other tropes that I won’t mention because it will spoil the story, but you can see them a mile away as you read.
This story is not reinventing the wheel, but if you enjoy those elements mentioned above, then you will have a great time! I do happen to love many of these tropes, so I didn’t mind the tropeness of the plot. . . for the most part.
A fetch quest frenzy
I mentioned earlier the “fetch questness” of this plot. It gets a little absurd. Throughout the story, Emmeline is sent on multiple fetch quests to obtain the exact same magical items. This gets rather tiresome, considering the author sets up an entire fae kingdom we don’t get to explore, but instead we are sent away from the fae searching for these magical items. It makes the story drag on just a little too long. But fetch quests aren’t the only things that get a little too much screen time.
Makes bread *sexually*
Despite its very YA writing style and fantasy plot, this story is very upfront about sex. Emmeline is a sexually active young adult. She goes through boyfriends like a professional singer goes through throat lozenges.
Minor spoiler ahead about romance plot–skip to next paragraph if you want to be completely surprised. So when Emmeline and Hawthorne get the hots for each other and they are alone at Hawthorne’s home, things get pretty spicy. There is a moment where the two make bread together and it feels very erotic. You’ll either be a person who loves that kind of thing or who wants to throw the book across the room. They also have full on sex on the page; it’s only slightly less explicit than what you would find in an adult romance novel. I would say it is similar to “the rooftop scene” in Serpent & Dove if you have read that novel.
At the end of the day, while I (a twenty-something adult) do not have a problem reading this kind of thing, I do want to give a warning out there to our younger YA readers.
a Fae-rly good read (sorry, not sorry)
While Edgewood isn’t bringing a fresh take to the fantasy genre, it still satisfies with some delicious tropes and that classic fae fantasy feel that I just can’t get enough of.
Edgewood was released on March 1st, 2022.