July 13, 2015

Nomad

by R. J. Anderson
Orchard Books
978-1408326480
352 pp.
Ages 12+
2014

Reviewed from audiobook
Oakhill Publishing Ltd.
 978-1784331016
Narrated by Lucy Scott
2014

When R. J. Anderson ended Swift (Orchard Books, 2012), Ivy had helped save her piskey family and friends of the Delve from the evil faery Gillian, but had been banished by her aunt Betony, the Joan, as a traitor.  Since then she has been looking for a place where the piskeys might live in safety away from the poison infiltrating th Delve –their below-ground tunnels home–and colluding with her brother Mica’s hunting partner, Mattock, who obviously has feelings for her and with her best friend Jenny to convince the piskeys that they are unsafe.

Meanwhile, Ivy is dreaming of a spriggan boy who is the son of a chief and a faery and Martin (formerly known as Richard), the faery-raised spriggan with whom she has been traveling, believes that Ivy must be having visions of memories of what actually happened, and perhaps these will help them find other spriggans.

But poor Ivy and Martin are trying so hard to do the right thing, for themselves and each other and the people from which they come, and there are so many others working against them.  Sadly, so much is tied up in prejudices between the different supernatural folk.  Although Ivy and Martin are both part faery, they have been raised to distrust each other, just as spriggans, faeries and piskeys have as long as they can remember.  And now, Ivy and Martin find themselves helping each other more than just as repayment for previous help and are experiencing growing affection for each other.  How to balance all their needs and feelings and be true to themselves?

R. J. Anderson is a a masterful storyteller of faery fantasy, easily convincing the reader that her characters are more than just human, even better than human.  And that’s saying something.  R. J. Anderson can create empathy for characters who can change into bird form, wield magic, and transfer memories, while creating realistic story-lines about finding or making home under unusual, if not dire, circumstances.  While R. J. Anderson continues to weave amazing stories–she has a new one called A Pocket Full of Murder coming out in September–she has announced on the FAQ page on her website that there are no current plans for a sequel to Nomad. As disappointing as that is not to revisit the characters in whom we've invested our hearts, readers can be assured that R. J. Anderson has cobbled an ending that will appease and successfully bring all her characters home where they belong.

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