Foul is Fair

Foul is Fair

 

Rating: 4 Stars

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Genre: Fantasy, Coming-Of-Age, Action and Adventure

Age Recommendation: Young Adult or upper Middle Grade

One more noise drew her eyes to the other side of camp as realization set in: they were surrounded.

Then her eyes settled on a familiar face: the baseball cap, the jagged grin, and the eyes. As the redcap advanced on her, flanked by two others, Megan froze in terror.


Foul is Fair, by Jeffrey Cook and Katherine Perkins, tells the story of a girl named Megan who finds out that the medical conditions that define her life are not at all what she thought. In fact, they are just proof that she is actually related to the Unseelie King, and that she has been medicated to keep her from finding out the truth. Her best friend, though, is also from the Faerie world, and knows that Megan’s father (who has almost always been out of the picture), has been kidnapped. Megan finds that she has no choice but to go along on an adventure to find a sword that can help save him.

 

Foul is Fair kicks off Megan’s story in a particularly interesting way: we know next-to-nothing about her family until she begins to learn who she is and where she is meant to belong. I did struggle a bit when it came to all of the lore introduced within the novel, but it is described through dialogue rather than description, which was fairly interesting. Typically, fantasy lore seems to be told rather than shown, and this is definitely an exception to that rule.

 

Cook and Perkins also offer a rather diverse cast of characters, from the expected magical creatures to LGBT representation. Megan, as mentioned, has a medical condition – ADHD – and the families shown aren’t necessarily the nuclear family unit one is expecting. Needless to say, this story would appeal to a wide variety of people. This novel also rejects the trope that a main female character has to rely on a love interest to get anything done, which is quite a relief. Although I cannot say if Megan takes to someone in the later books, this first installment clearly shows that Megan and her friends – gender aside – can be just as fantastic without someone stepping in to lead the way for them.

 

There were a few occasions where I had trouble following the action as described, but things always seemed to be explained in hindsight, so I never felt confused for too long. I would guess that some might have trouble with the names of the characters or the terminology given for pieces of lore within the tale, but I don’t think that it particularly affects the story and a reader’s ability to enjoy following Megan’s adventures. Between the action and humor of Foul is Fair, it is quite likely that the reader will be more interested in seeing how the team gets from one task to another.

 

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The writing is likely designed for Young Adult readers, though I would wager that it would be suitable for Middle Grade as well, although there are suggestions of fairly adult themes. Nothing explicit is stated, however, so it is entirely likely that it would be a good transition from Middle Grade to Young Adult if a young reader wanted to move on to something with a bit more weight to it and a bit of a stronger vocabulary.

 

This is the first book in a quartet, called the Fair Folk Chronicles. Books three and four are set to be released this year, as the first two have already been made available. Cook and Perkins are publishing these independently, so they are likely most easy to access via Amazon and on e-readers.

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