Trailer Park Fae Brings Disease into Fairydom

Although Lilith Saintcrow is a leader in the urban fantasy genre, writing under several names, Trailer Park Fae was my first experience with her work. I enjoyed reading this book, which is unusual because I’m not partial to fairy stories. I was entranced immediately by the quality of the writing. It engulfed me with sensory details, making it easy for me to lose myself in our world and the different fairy kingdoms. The prose flows beautifully and I felt immediately engaged with the complex characters.

Trailer FaeSaintcrow’s fantasy realm overlays and connects easily with the humans’ grittier reality. However, the people are oblivious to the sidhe in their ranks. The fae use them as tools or victims always to the detriment or death of the humans. This makes the fae mostly horrible, an idea that might not be popular with some readers. Whether the monster is a space alien, demon spawn, or Summer Queen, we like to think that humanity could defeat or at least break even at some point. This novel does not harbor those illusions. The two protagonists are half human at least, which is the only reason why they survive their interactions with the other worlders.

The story dives into three plots interweaving three different characters. First, Jeremiah Gallow, half-fae and ex-guard of the Summer Palace, is fighting off suicidal depression after the death of his human wife. He has turned his back on the sidhe, wanting only to be left alone. Unfortunately, he drops into the middle of a complex conspiracy dealing with a plague on the sidhe and the fight between the kingdoms to control the cure.

Next enters Robin Ragged, an unwilling messenger of the Summer Queen. Robin becomes the key to controlling the plague that is decimating Unwinter’s realm. Gallow meets her by accident when she tries to outrun the King’s henchmen. She resembles Gallow’s wife, which sets off a protectiveness and curiosity in him. This sets up emotional tension between the two characters and provides the impetus for both to work together.

The third character is Puck Goodfellow, a free fae unattached to any court and seeking to make trouble in both. He stands outside most of the action, serving as the role of conductor to orchestrating the chaos. His hidden agenda and desires are not revealed until toward the end of the novel.

Although I enjoyed the lovely narrative, the descriptions sometimes ran on too long, obscuring meaning rather than clarifying a vision. Some of the phrasing and words were unfamiliar to me as well, which I put down to the fact that I don’t know the genre. Usually the meaning of certain unusual words can be picked up through the text, but that was not the case here. A glossary would have helped.

The ending, although surprising, still felt incomplete. The story of Goodfellow resolves but the others are left open for the obvious sequel. I’m a fan of series but feel that each book should stand alone. More resolution for the primary characters would have been nice.

In conclusion, if you like evil fairy-oriented urban fantasy, you’ll enjoy this book. However, readers new to the genre might get a little lost with this novel being their first choice.

Our Search for Others beyond Humanity

Urban fantasy provides a host of mythological creatures, such as vampires or werewolves, because people enjoy the thought of a presence of “otherness” beyond human beings. We don’t want to think that we are alone in the cosmos. We want another intelligent species to join us in this plan of existence. This need drives some to look for demons and angels, others to search for life after death, and still more folks scanning the heavens for aliens.

Fear in Human Form

In terms of fiction writing, these legends and myths give us great fodder for bigger-than-life heroes and bone-shakingly scary monsters. In comparison, the most wicked character in thrillers, the amoral serial killer is fear inducing not because he/she is different from us but from the fact they look and act just like us. The people standing by your side could be terrorist bombers, gun-carrying mass murderers, or knife -wielding psychopath, but you can’t see it in their faces. The terror in thrillers comes down to the cat-and-mouse game of rooting the criminals out.

Fear of Otherness

Ghost heads

Arts and Crafts Apparations

Evil fantasy or science fiction creatures are different. The bad guys are potentially meaner, faster, stronger, or harder to kill than the average¬†evil human is. This amps up the tensions since the odds of beating the bad guy becomes less. They often appear unusual in some manner. For example, a gray, ray-gun carrying aliens kidnaps lone travelers. In addition, pale skin for vampires or translucence for ghosts are dead (pun intended) giveaways. The character looks unfamiliar, which immediately has the average person guessing how that individual fits into their world. Fantasy creatures or aliens also think differently, perhaps in a manner so alien that we simply can’t comprehend their logic.

Alien picture

Famed “alien” from the movies of the same name. They were so different from humans that they even featured¬†acid blood.

Nevertheless, people love brainteasers. It fit them into our reality, we ask things like “How do I interact with them? What cultural issues should I be aware of? Are they dangerous to me? How do they fit into my worldview? What should I do in order not to make an ass of myself?” Thus the thrill ride begins.

In addition, we look for patterns so that the strangers fit into our worldview. Otherworld creatures don’t react as expected. Because we can’t predict them, we place them into a dangerous category either subconsciously or not.

Your Personal Reactions with Otherness

If you have doubts about this, then consider how you react when faced with someone from a completely different culture than yourself. For example, a hijab-wearing woman is assigned to collaborate with you on a project. If you are a Caucasian, southern girl like me, some of these questions will run through your mind as you try to fit her presence into your worldview. Paranormal or fantasy characters take those same feelings and ramp them up a bit because suddenly you are dealing with an individual that is more, or less, than human.

Over time, I’ll explore this sense of otherness in reality and fiction writing, starting with ghosts and moving on to whatever hits my fancy. I’ll talk about TV shows, movies, books, my own writing, other groups, and real events as they come across my desk. The views presented here are all my own unless I state otherwise.

 

As ever, happy writing!