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Knife

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Once upon a time, a fairy is born. She lives in an old oak tree at the bottom of a garden with the rest of the fairy folk. Never has she known a time when life hasn’t been hard, with many dangers and much adversity. But when she becomes the Hunter of the group and learns to do battle in the outside world, her adventures really take off... Don’t read this book if you’re Once upon a time, a fairy is born. She lives in an old oak tree at the bottom of a garden with the rest of the fairy folk. Never has she known a time when life hasn’t been hard, with many dangers and much adversity. But when she becomes the Hunter of the group and learns to do battle in the outside world, her adventures really take off... Don’t read this book if you’re expecting fairy dust – the last thing Knife is likely to wield is a magic wand...


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Once upon a time, a fairy is born. She lives in an old oak tree at the bottom of a garden with the rest of the fairy folk. Never has she known a time when life hasn’t been hard, with many dangers and much adversity. But when she becomes the Hunter of the group and learns to do battle in the outside world, her adventures really take off... Don’t read this book if you’re Once upon a time, a fairy is born. She lives in an old oak tree at the bottom of a garden with the rest of the fairy folk. Never has she known a time when life hasn’t been hard, with many dangers and much adversity. But when she becomes the Hunter of the group and learns to do battle in the outside world, her adventures really take off... Don’t read this book if you’re expecting fairy dust – the last thing Knife is likely to wield is a magic wand...

30 review for Knife

  1. 4 out of 5

    R.J.

    I am shockingly biased in favour of this book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kristi

    Another fantastic debut novel! This book was just full of awesomeness. I absolutely loved reading it! The plot was something totally different, which was beyond refreshing! No faery courts, good vs. evil, life sized fae in the book. This is the type of faeries that I had always imagined hiding amongst flowers. The characters were extraordinary. Knife was so fascinating. Such a complex character. She really made this novel. And the secondary characters were just as outstanding. They were almost as Another fantastic debut novel! This book was just full of awesomeness. I absolutely loved reading it! The plot was something totally different, which was beyond refreshing! No faery courts, good vs. evil, life sized fae in the book. This is the type of faeries that I had always imagined hiding amongst flowers. The characters were extraordinary. Knife was so fascinating. Such a complex character. She really made this novel. And the secondary characters were just as outstanding. They were almost as complex as Knife herself, constantly my views of them changing. And the writing. This was one of those books that I didn’t realize I was actually reading. Anderson created this world and I was just completely captivated by it. Excellent imagery and Knife’s voice, it couldn’t have been more authentic. Well, as authentic as you can be for a faery! I will definitely be buying a copy of this one for my personal library. If you’re looking for a great book to read this summer. Pick this one up!

  3. 4 out of 5

    R.J.

    Re-read for galleys of the new US paperback and e-book edition, coming July 21st from Enclave Publishing. Happily, I still love this story and enjoyed reading it -- sure, there are a few changes I might make to the prose on a line level, but not in any way that would substantially alter the book. Which, eight years and eight more books later, is a pretty nice feeling to have. * * * Original review: I wrote this book, so naturally I love it. :)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Inge

    Knife was cute. Really cute. The story starts with Bryony, a fairy of the Oakenwyld. They live in a big old oak tree and are forbidden to go outside, because humans are dangerous, especially now that they’ve all lost their magic. That’s right: all fairies were robbed from their magic and lost their creativity. When Bryony, now Knife, is appointed as the Queen’s Hunter, she meets a human being. Paul. Thus begins a truly beautiful friendship that will change the Oakenwyld forever. Let me just start Knife was cute. Really cute. The story starts with Bryony, a fairy of the Oakenwyld. They live in a big old oak tree and are forbidden to go outside, because humans are dangerous, especially now that they’ve all lost their magic. That’s right: all fairies were robbed from their magic and lost their creativity. When Bryony, now Knife, is appointed as the Queen’s Hunter, she meets a human being. Paul. Thus begins a truly beautiful friendship that will change the Oakenwyld forever. Let me just start by saying this – Bryony is a badass fairy. In a world where everyone tells you the Outside could kill you, she wants nothing more than to go Outside. She steals a knife (an envelope opener) from the human house and kills a crow, which is really difficult. Immediately she is appointed as the Queen’s Hunter and gives herself a new name – Knife. When Knife meets one of the humans from the house, she’s scared, but more than that, she’s fascinated. Knife and Paul come from different worlds and have different habits, but they can talk for hours. Fairies don’t make friends, but Knife finds a friend in Paul. Too bad it’s forbidden. I loved it. I loved the whole storyline, the history of the fairies and how they came to be these magicless, uncreative beings, and the big secret Knife finds out – what they need to become creative again, what they need to heal the sick fairies dying from the Silence, and will they ever get their magic back? The secret will shock the entire Oakenwyld to its core. Everything will change. But the biggest change happens in Knife herself. A lovely tale ridden with fantasy and friendship.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bee (Heart Full of Books)

    I found the fifth book in the series, which is more like the second book to a companion duology so I was only going to read the 'fourth' book but was like 'why not go back to the beginning?' and thank goodness I did, because I'd forgotten just how perfect this series is. First off. Look at the covers. They're everything. EVERYTHING. No cover will ever be so wonderfully magical and dark ever. I've always loved fairies and Knife is like a dark version of Tinker Bell and Pixie Hollow, with the I found the fifth book in the series, which is more like the second book to a companion duology so I was only going to read the 'fourth' book but was like 'why not go back to the beginning?' and thank goodness I did, because I'd forgotten just how perfect this series is. First off. Look at the covers. They're everything. EVERYTHING. No cover will ever be so wonderfully magical and dark ever. I've always loved fairies and Knife is like a dark version of Tinker Bell and Pixie Hollow, with the usual fairies can't touch iron, have true names and can't lie stuff thrown in their too. They're probably my favourite faery stories because they also incorporate the faeries as muses which I feel more modern recent fae books I've read miss out. The whole thing is just paced really well. You've got the beginning which is a coming of age story, then the middle is a love story and the end is a quest adventure. Seriously, it has everything. READ IT.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I will always think of this book as titled "Knife" as (full disclosure) I knew it in some of its earlier stages. However my friendship with and love of this book's author does not at all account for the voraciousness with which I consumed it. I had it in my possession for many months and due to a crazy schedule only opened it last night: a bias in favor of the author's success does not at all account for staying up much too late with it, trying to read it while I was driving (!), using one hand I will always think of this book as titled "Knife" as (full disclosure) I knew it in some of its earlier stages. However my friendship with and love of this book's author does not at all account for the voraciousness with which I consumed it. I had it in my possession for many months and due to a crazy schedule only opened it last night: a bias in favor of the author's success does not at all account for staying up much too late with it, trying to read it while I was driving (!), using one hand to prop it open and turn pages while working on the computer, and sitting in my car, outside my gym for an hour and a half, in order to finish it. It is a wonderful, immensely readable, creative, and loving book - written with great respect for the ideas of love and mothership and humanity, featuring a smart, fun, tough pair of lead characters that are as admirable as they are faulted. The part I loved best, however, was the subtle treatment of the effect a relationship with a faery must have had on Paul, who struggles with despair fairly early in the book. It brings particular lightness to the heart to see someone so challenged find solace and wonderment in his life again through his interactions with the faery world. It doesn't overburden the book; the book is not a morality play on overcoming a disability. It treats this young man as simply human, albeit a human with a problem, like all humans have. This is an excellent book full of strong characters, intriguing plot, and imaginative touches that put me in mind of (yes) Harry Potter. I rarely write reviews here but I had to recommend this for all.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sherwood Smith

    Bryony is a young faery, impatient with being cooped in the old oak where her sadly diminished and isolated community lives. When she's apprenticed to the community's Hunter, she uses that as an excuse to spy on the humans who live nearby, in spite of many warnings and even threats from her cautious faery elders. How she meets the human boy Paul, their relationship, and why the community is the way it is makes up an absorbing, quick-paced tale full of laughter and real emotional depth. I would Bryony is a young faery, impatient with being cooped in the old oak where her sadly diminished and isolated community lives. When she's apprenticed to the community's Hunter, she uses that as an excuse to spy on the humans who live nearby, in spite of many warnings and even threats from her cautious faery elders. How she meets the human boy Paul, their relationship, and why the community is the way it is makes up an absorbing, quick-paced tale full of laughter and real emotional depth. I would have read this book to pieces as a teen. I look forward to the next.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Chachic

    Orinally posted here. Knife by R.J. Anderson was published as Spell Hunter in the US and is the first book in the Faery Rebels series. I got the UK edition because I think it looks much better than the US one and the UK covers for all the books in the series match. The picture below doesn't do the cover justice because it's a lot nicer in person - the blue stands out against the black and the print is shiny. I've heard a lot of good things about this book, especially from Sounisians because I Orinally posted here. Knife by R.J. Anderson was published as Spell Hunter in the US and is the first book in the Faery Rebels series. I got the UK edition because I think it looks much better than the US one and the UK covers for all the books in the series match. The picture below doesn't do the cover justice because it's a lot nicer in person - the blue stands out against the black and the print is shiny. I've heard a lot of good things about this book, especially from Sounisians because I believe R.J. Anderson is a member of that LJ community. I know there are a lot of YA faery series out there - I've given several a try but I stopped with just the first book in most of them because I feel like they weren't for me. Knife was different because I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I'm glad that I already have a copy of Rebel. Ever since Bryony was a young faery, she's had this longing to go outside the Oak to discover what's out there. In this series, fairies are small creatures so they're scared of crows, foxes and even cats and dogs. Humans are viewed as monstrous creatures intent on harming them. However, Bryony doesn't understand why her people aren't brave enough to fight back. She gets the chance to prove herself when she's apprenticed to the Queen's Hunter - the person responsible for protecting the Gatherers who reluctantly leave the Oak to collect food. The Hunter also provides whatever meat, skins and fur that she can acquire. When Bryony takes over the position of Queen's Hunter, she chooses to change her name to Knife. I really liked the faery world created by R.J. Anderson and I think it's my favorite so far out of all the faery series that I've read. It was interesting to note the similarities and differences in this world and other faery lore. I can't reveal much without mentioning spoilers but I really liked how the faeries' magic worked. Knife is such a feisty heroine. She's inquisitive even as a child and she questions the rules of the Oak. There's a mystery behind that and why her people lost most of their magic and Knife is determined to find out more about it. She's different from all the other fairies because she's not content with the status quo. She's willing to take risks even if it involves endangering herself. It was fun to see everything through Knife's eyes as she tentatively explores the world beyond the Oak and the humans that live in the House. I really liked how the friendship between Knife and Paul, a human teen, developed - initially, they were just curious about how different they are from each other but eventually, they connect and bond over common interests like their fascination with art. I highly recommend Knife to fans of faery stories and MG/YA fantasy readers. Like I said, I'm looking forward to reading Rebel and I have a feeling I'll be purchasing Arrow soon (I've seen it in local bookstores).

  9. 4 out of 5

    Shannon (Giraffe Days)

    There aren't many faeries left in the Oak. Since the Sundering, the only faery with any magic is the Queen, Amaryllis, and the old skills have been lost. The Silence is killing off faeries, but no one knows what it is or what causes it. When she was a young faery, Bryony was adventurous and yearned for the outdoors - a place she was never allowed to go. So she is shocked but excited to be apprenticed to Thorn, the Queen's Hunter, whose job it is to protect the Oak and hunt squirrels and other There aren't many faeries left in the Oak. Since the Sundering, the only faery with any magic is the Queen, Amaryllis, and the old skills have been lost. The Silence is killing off faeries, but no one knows what it is or what causes it. When she was a young faery, Bryony was adventurous and yearned for the outdoors - a place she was never allowed to go. So she is shocked but excited to be apprenticed to Thorn, the Queen's Hunter, whose job it is to protect the Oak and hunt squirrels and other small animals for food. She excels at her job and welcomes the dangers. Her handmade bone knives aren't good enough to defeat the crows that attack them, so she slips into the human's stone house to steal a silver craft knife. This is barely the beginning of Bryony's fascination with the humans. With her apprenticeship finished and Thorn retired, Bryony takes a new name: Knife. She becomes increasingly obsessed in discovering what happened to the faeries' magic, why their creativity and artistry dried up, what causes the Silence, and why they are forever being warned away from humans. Circumstances see a surprising friendship grow between Knife and the young human Paul, who lives in the stone house, and together they discover the truth - with enormous implications for their own friendship. After a bit of a slow start, Spell Hunter eases you into a vivid world of faeries that borrows from folklore while adding new and interesting elements of its own creation. These faeries are selfish beings, who speak to each other only to issue chores or bargain. When they die they leave behind an egg from which hatches a new baby faery, which is given the name of its mother. As Paul points out, why then are faeries so female? One of the things I liked about this story is that, while it has an English-like setting, it never actually says where it is set - it could be anywhere where oaks grow that has old manor houses dating from the 17th century. I liked it because it added to the fantastical, fairy tale, mystical quality - not bogged down by mundane, "real" details. While Knife doesn't narrate herself, the story is told from her perspective alone, and a lot of her personality comes through in the way she perceives things around her. She makes a great protagonist, and her thought patterns and understandings are alien enough to be convincingly "faery". It's quite funny at times, the way she interprets human things. By about halfway through, when the mystery really started to pick up, I became quite engrossed in this book and eager to see where it led. I wasn't disappointed, and while I get the moral of the ending, I admit I didn't like how it turned out. This is a great book for younger readers, but a fun tale for older ones as well.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Katie Grace

    Aww, this book was like a blast to the past. I used to read fairy stories all the time, so it felt like I was eight years old again. Even though it's not my type of book anymore, it was still a cute and quick read. *happiness*

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Neumeier

    I finally tried this book, and yes, it is a delightful story, one that turns the concept of the fairy story somewhat on its head. In Knife, the fairies are classic garden fairies -- little female sprites with dragonfly wings who live (this particular colony) inside a large oak tree in the back garden of a prosperous estate. Only these specific fairies are in trouble: a generation or two ago, they lost nearly all their magic and they’ve been declining in prosperity and devolving culturally ever I finally tried this book, and yes, it is a delightful story, one that turns the concept of the fairy story somewhat on its head. In Knife, the fairies are classic garden fairies -- little female sprites with dragonfly wings who live (this particular colony) inside a large oak tree in the back garden of a prosperous estate. Only these specific fairies are in trouble: a generation or two ago, they lost nearly all their magic and they’ve been declining in prosperity and devolving culturally ever since. They are now hanging on by their fingernails. Since they have lost their cultural memory, most of them also have no idea how much they have lost. Also, they’ve fallen well below replacement level reproductively: On her death, each fairy is supposed to leave behind an egg that hatches into a new fairy child, only some fairies don’t leave an egg, and if this strikes you as a thoroughly unstable situation that cannot maintain the population over the long term, you are so right. Also, the few remaining fairies of this colony are ruled by a tyrannical queen, who possesses the only significant store of remaining magic and who demands, and magically compels, total obedience to her commands. As you can see, this is truly an awful situation, though one which the protagonist, a young fairy named Bryony, has grown up with and considers normal. Luckily for Bryony, by chance no one knows her true name, not even the queen, giving her more freedom to act than would otherwise be the case. Luckily for everyone, she hatched with more than the ordinary share of curiosity and courage… What you should know about this story: The first thing you should know about Knife is that practically nothing is quite what it seems, most especially not the things that seem most obvious. Any adult reader, on first encountering the fairy queen, is going to instantly say, “Wow, how convenient for the queen that she happened to have been absent from the colony when disaster struck and every other fairy lost her magic.” But it turns out that situation is significantly more complicated than that. There is in fact a definite tendency for the backstory to twitch sideways just when the reader thinks she’s figured out what’s going on. The same for the roles of many of the secondary characters – Bryony is surrounded by characters who surprise her, and also surprise the reader. The second thing you should know about Knife is that the fairies are not human. They’re really not. I so enjoyed figuring out what Bryony’s people are like – and what they should be like – and how they ought to have this complicated relationship with humans, and why Bryony’s colony doesn’t, and how their isolation from humans has affected them. It’s hard even at the end to decide whether the ideal relationship is mutualistic or commensalistic or parasitic; the story definitely left me wanting to know more. The third thing you should know about Knife is that it handles the issue of physical disability with grace and sympathy, without inserting heavy-handed lessons for the reader, and (possibly even more important) without offering special magic solutions. There is no Poof! Be healed moment. No. For a while I thought that kind of overly simple ending might be coming up, but it didn’t happen. In fact, the actual ending left me thoroughly interested in what might happen next. The fourth thing you should know about Knife is that the writing is very good, in the “invisibly smooth” category of very good. Anderson’s writing doesn’t draw attention to itself, enabling the reader to fall right into the story. I would imagine that many younger readers would love this book – and it’s one I think older readers can enjoy as well. This was the first of Anderson’s books I’ve read, but it won’t be the last.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Susana

    A very gripping and charming adventure. I absolutely loved reading it! Okay, I'll admit that if it wasn't for Isa I probably wouldn't ever have picked this one up... Lets face it, the cover _although beautiful _ seems more middle school oriented than ya. Well, let me tell you, The cover..."lies"! The writing in this story is so captivating that even during this re-read it still managed to capture my attention. Not only that, but I've got the feeling that this second time around, the read was even A very gripping and charming adventure. I absolutely loved reading it! Okay, I'll admit that if it wasn't for Isa I probably wouldn't ever have picked this one up... Lets face it, the cover _although beautiful _ seems more middle school oriented than ya. Well, let me tell you, The cover..."lies"! The writing in this story is so captivating that even during this re-read it still managed to capture my attention. Not only that, but I've got the feeling that this second time around, the read was even better (not an easy feat). Inside this book there's this captivating story of fairies and humans. But these fairies, aren't your average Tinker Bell's. Something is wrong with them. Her magic has practically left them, and a strange sickness has started affecting a number of them. Amongst them, there's a fairy named Knife. Now, Knife is as courageous as one can get. One day during an epic fight with one of the fairies mightiest enemies _ The Crow _she ends up severely injured... Enter Paul: Paul could be your typical human teenager....this one just happens to be in a wheelchair He's angry and lost due to the accident that left him paralysed, and he's having a hard time dealing with the situation. Luckily to him, Knife isn't used to losing battles. And Paul McCormick won't be one of them. You know? It really is true... A good book can be read by anyone, no matter how old one is. This is Knife's case. Even with the paranormal element, some situations were dealt very realistically. And the budding romance between the main characters was done in a sweet way, never undermining the plot. This is one of those cases, where I feel like shouting at the top of my lungs: GO READ THIS BOOK ASAP!! I dare you... Five gold stars. Looking forward in reading the next volumes.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    rating clarification 4.5 Be prepared, this book is awesome !! I've only read three book during this past month and I am ashamed.. but glad I haven't sunken to my routine of not reading ANY books at all!! Which is why it took so long for me to finish this book. I am not sure if it was my lack of interest of reading this month has driven me to read this book agonizingly slow or that this book simply had a quite slow development. But nonetheless, I cannot explain how glad I am to have continued rating clarification 4.5 Be prepared, this book is awesome !! I've only read three book during this past month and I am ashamed.. but glad I haven't sunken to my routine of not reading ANY books at all!! Which is why it took so long for me to finish this book. I am not sure if it was my lack of interest of reading this month has driven me to read this book agonizingly slow or that this book simply had a quite slow development. But nonetheless, I cannot explain how glad I am to have continued reading this book throughout this painful time. And ironically, it has pulled me out of my rut completely!! I cannot stress how much fascinated I was with this book. The whole "fairytale" didn't really intrigued me at first but like it's said on the back cover of the book, this is no ordinary fairytale. Author's way of revealing secrets that was out of reach for me to even slightly comprehend was astonishing. Event after another, I couldn't help myself but gasp at what I've learned and feel warmth spread through my heart. Who would have thought that this could be a "love" story? And with the most satisfying ending I've read in months !!! Knife is courageous, adventurous, self-sacrificing and a loving fairy I have ever read. Her home and people has been drained of magic after a terrible incident and fairies are dying of a desease called "Silent". And Knife, as a Queen's Hunter, is trying figure out how to save her people. The story of how a fairy develops a relationship with a human and vice versa is very moving and quite understanding. I truly loved reading about them. I cannot wait to read the sequel. CANNOT WAIT !!!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    This was a fun faery story with faeries that are more like what I imagined traditional faeries to be like, but not quite. Yeah, I think the line in the book synopsis says "Forget everything you think you know about faeries" is an apt description. This book builds from beginning to end. At the start, I thought it was a cute middle-grade story that I'd be interested to share with my girls when they got older. By the end I hooked and wanted to know for myself what was going to happen with Knife and This was a fun faery story with faeries that are more like what I imagined traditional faeries to be like, but not quite. Yeah, I think the line in the book synopsis says "Forget everything you think you know about faeries" is an apt description. This book builds from beginning to end. At the start, I thought it was a cute middle-grade story that I'd be interested to share with my girls when they got older. By the end I hooked and wanted to know for myself what was going to happen with Knife and some other characters (I don't want to spoil anything for you). I am really interested in the next book now to see how the "ending" of Book 1 rolls into the next part of the story! This isn't a "faery" story as much as it is a story about learning to be yourself, learning to care for and about others, and learning to love. FAERY REBELS is a great mix of mystery, adventure, and romance!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tracey Dyck

    (Reread.) It was better than I remembered! A few random thoughts (because I don't feel like writing a full review): -Some aspects reminded me of Disney's Pixie Hollow. :) -The plot felt a tad thin in places, but maybe that's because I subconsciously remembered some things about it from reading it years ago. -I liked Paul more than I did the first time. -The book had interesting things to say about art, creativity, and the nature of inspiration and relationships. -The twist was not exactly what I (Reread.) It was better than I remembered! A few random thoughts (because I don't feel like writing a full review): -Some aspects reminded me of Disney's Pixie Hollow. :) -The plot felt a tad thin in places, but maybe that's because I subconsciously remembered some things about it from reading it years ago. -I liked Paul more than I did the first time. -The book had interesting things to say about art, creativity, and the nature of inspiration and relationships. -The twist was not exactly what I expected! -This book was written by a Christian author, but had no overt Christian themes. The only (very minor) content concern would be a character waking up naked but covered in a blanket, in the company of others. (Don't worry, the circumstances were of an innocent, although magical, nature.)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Wealhtheow

    Knife is the only child in the Oak. Her people are slowly dying out, with little magic and too few numbers to sustain themselves. But Knife refuses to just survive, like her elders do. First she becomes the Queen's Hunter and then...she strikes up a friendship with a Human. Paul is giving in to despair after an accident took the use of his legs, but his contact with a tiny fierce fairy gives him new hope and artistic drive. The beginning and end of this book aren't that impressive or novel, but Knife is the only child in the Oak. Her people are slowly dying out, with little magic and too few numbers to sustain themselves. But Knife refuses to just survive, like her elders do. First she becomes the Queen's Hunter and then...she strikes up a friendship with a Human. Paul is giving in to despair after an accident took the use of his legs, but his contact with a tiny fierce fairy gives him new hope and artistic drive. The beginning and end of this book aren't that impressive or novel, but the middle section, when Knife is flying around stabbing crows and trying to figure out what caused the Sundering and the Silence, more than makes up for it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tricia Mingerink

    This is a cute faery story and a very quick read. While the characters mentioned the "Great Gardener" sometimes, there isn't too much Christianity or allegory involved. It does deal with a few weightier topics such as suicide. Towards the end of the book, some of the faery's culture was a little weird, but not too weird for me. Overall, a good book and I'm eager to read the next one.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nemo (The Moonlight Library)

    R.J. Anderson’s Knife tells the story of a headstrong, wily young faerie named Knife and her adventures as she attempts to unravel why her faery people no longer have any magic. Knife is a very difficult book to review. I liked some things about it and I disliked other things, and it kind of left me feeling ‘meh’. In fact, I borrowed this from the library to listen to the audiobook (and it had a FANTASTIC British narrator, Emma Parish, whom I loved and want to kidnap and force her to read all my R.J. Anderson’s Knife tells the story of a headstrong, wily young faerie named Knife and her adventures as she attempts to unravel why her faery people no longer have any magic. Knife is a very difficult book to review. I liked some things about it and I disliked other things, and it kind of left me feeling ‘meh’. In fact, I borrowed this from the library to listen to the audiobook (and it had a FANTASTIC British narrator, Emma Parish, whom I loved and want to kidnap and force her to read all my books to me), but I had so little interest in completing the story at various points that I had to actually return and borrow it again just to finish it. That’s not to say that Knife is bad – on the contrary, it’s quite good. It’s beautifully written, and the character of Knife has the most phenomenal character growth from carefree and adventurous young’un to battle-hardened, experience hunter. She’s a truly amazing character and I loved her whole itty bitty faery culture and all the other characters in the great Oak tree they called home as well. But there were parts of the book where I was just so utterly bored I would actually prefer to stop listening and just sit there listening to nothing at all. I’m quite lucky in that the type of work I do is quite autonomous and gives me the opportunity to listen to audiobooks, and I often had to remind myself, ‘Hey, you’ve got a book on your phone you could be listening to rather than playing your Disney soundtracks for the hundredth time’ (you think I’m kidding? I’m not even). I think part of the problem was that the blurb wasn’t very specific, so I never had any idea of what I could be anticipating. I had no idea what I was looking forward to and the plot, being unpredictable to a point, varied wildly and often left me floundering and wondering why I should care about the characters and their situations. And no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get into Knife’s ‘love interest’ Paul. I’m all for non-mainstream love interests but actually having them be a love interest would be nice, as opposed to a platonic friend then all of a sudden one clumsy kiss later they’re bonded by magic, and Knife has to choose whether she’ll risk becoming human forever and lose the magic bond because he might not love her after all, and all I was thinking was ‘Fuck me, I wouldn’t risk that.’ Because there was absolutely no building of romantic interest whatsoever from either of the characters. I would have much preferred if they had stayed friend platonically. And I don’t even mean that they had to be lust-driven and all over each other; but just some kind of a hint would have been nice, rather than placing a magic bond over them after a random makeout session. I was unconvinced by the whole thing. Also, Paul was quite an asshole and I don’t like asshole boys. Anderson’s got some major storytelling skills, and I think it was a big case of ‘it’s not you, it’s me’. I felt that the pacing and the plot could have been worked on because although I did zone out on occasion (hazards of listening while earning a living) I felt that a majority of the plot was filler until it really hit its stride in the third act and everything started coming together. I own Anderson’s Ultraviolet, which I’m still quite willing to give a go, because I think it was the nature of the story itself that made it difficult for me to finish, not Anderson’s writing.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Angie

    I don't generally review many middle grade novels, but I had read several lovely reviews of FAERY REBELS: SPELL HUNTER--a debut middle grade fantasy novel by R.J. Anderson--and then was lucky enough to receive a copy from the lovely Ms. Anderson herself. Interestingly enough, the same book has been published in the UK under the title KNIFE, with dramatically different cover art. The changes in title and artwork make it clear they're marketing it to a slightly older young adult audience over the I don't generally review many middle grade novels, but I had read several lovely reviews of FAERY REBELS: SPELL HUNTER--a debut middle grade fantasy novel by R.J. Anderson--and then was lucky enough to receive a copy from the lovely Ms. Anderson herself. Interestingly enough, the same book has been published in the UK under the title KNIFE, with dramatically different cover art. The changes in title and artwork make it clear they're marketing it to a slightly older young adult audience over the pond, while the U.S. cover and series-friendly title are distinctly more middle grade. As a result, I wasn't sure what to expect going in--a state I honestly quite like being in when starting a new book by a new author. Bryony is a faery who has spent her short life longing to leave the Oak tree that forms the boundary of her people's world. The only faeries allowed out in the wild at all are the Gatherers who are sent out to forage for food and the Queen's own hunter--a faery trained to hunt and protect the Oakenfolk and the fragile existence they have carved out for themselves. When she is summoned before the Queen, Bryony is stunned and elated to hear she is to be the new assistant to the Queen's hunter. Proving herself extraordinarly skilled, she changes her name to Knife and determines she will not only protect and provide for her people but discover why they are slowly dying out, unearth their mysterious and forbidden connection with humans, and discover why she is drawn to the stone House on the hill and to the unhappy boy named Paul who lives there. What makes this story unique is the world R.J. Anderson has created. These faeries are unusual in several ways. They are tiny, much smaller than humans, and are therefore constantly in danger outside of the Oak. They are also surprisingly all female. New faeries are not born in the traditional sense, but hatched from eggs that appear when another faery dies. Lastly, they are, by and large, unemotional creatures focused on their own well-being and supremely uninterested in the welfare of those around them. As a result it is interesting following Knife tread beyond the boundaries of her world, learn how to deal with the emotions of humans, and come face to face with the many ways in which they can mess with and forever change your life. I enjoyed the mystery element to the story as well as the friendship that slowly develops between Knife and Paul through Paul's art. So much so that I wish they'd been able to spend a little more time together so that there would have been room for a little more in-depth exploration of their connection. He is a very unhappy, very sympathetic character and I immediately found myself pulling for him. The ending was very satisfying and even included some rather deft humor that had me grinning. All in all, a perfectly pleasant middle grade/younger YA novel and recommended for those who enjoy solid world building, strong friendships, and the fey. It looks like the sequel is due out May of next year. It follows Linden, a side character we meet in the first book, and will be titled REBEL in the UK and WAYFARER here in the U.S.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Miss Clark

    This book was a charming delight! The Faery culture that Anderson has created was unlike anything that I had encountered and exploring it with Knife as she seeks the truth about the Sundering that stole her people’s magic and the plague that is now slowly but inexorably killing them was just the sort of adventure I wanted. The Faery society is foreign. The niceties and emotions we take for granted are unknown to them. They lack creativity. They have no understanding of such concepts as love, This book was a charming delight! The Faery culture that Anderson has created was unlike anything that I had encountered and exploring it with Knife as she seeks the truth about the Sundering that stole her people’s magic and the plague that is now slowly but inexorably killing them was just the sort of adventure I wanted. The Faery society is foreign. The niceties and emotions we take for granted are unknown to them. They lack creativity. They have no understanding of such concepts as love, friendship or even “Thank You.” Everything is a bargain to them – they do nothing out of kindness or altruism. Stagnant and moribund, the Faery people lose more and more of what knowledge and craft that they still retain with every faery that succumbs to the Silence and there are no new lives to replace those lost to the sickness. But Byrony, a new faery, is filled with curiosity and a desire to understand how her fellow faeries have come to such dire straits, to see if things can be reversed. Bold and a bit reckless, inquisitive and intelligent, Byrony, not without her share of misadventures growing up, is chosen as the next Queen’s Hunter and so becomes Knife. She is the protector of her people and a fierce fighter. It is in this capacity that she meets Paul, a human. The meeting of faery and human, their unlikely connection to each other, and the dramatic and irrevocable changes that it creates in their lives is at the heart of the story. The mystery surrounding the Faery folk and their history is revealed piece by piece and the reader must wait to learn the facts as Knife does. And we still do not have the full story, but since there are at least three more volumes in the series, that is not surprising. And I very eagerly anticipate reading those stories, with Wayfarer out in May, 2010. In the UK it is already available under the title REBEL. Also, I had the opportunity to interview Rebecca: http://thebluecastle.wordpress.com/20...

  21. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I've wanted to write a super-duper review for this book, but I just can't find the words to describe how fabulous it is. I admit I'm biased-- I've known RJA for years, and fell in love with her writing with her fan fiction. I've been privileged to help with the editing process on this novel, but I hadn't read the most recent revision until this was published. And it was amazing. I've always been a fan of fairy tales, and this one is a classic-- and yet, it isn't. It's both familiar and I've wanted to write a super-duper review for this book, but I just can't find the words to describe how fabulous it is. I admit I'm biased-- I've known RJA for years, and fell in love with her writing with her fan fiction. I've been privileged to help with the editing process on this novel, but I hadn't read the most recent revision until this was published. And it was amazing. I've always been a fan of fairy tales, and this one is a classic-- and yet, it isn't. It's both familiar and unfamiliar, as RJA takes everything we think we know about fairies and tweaks it. Yes, they're diminuitive. Yes, they have wings. But these fairies are without magic and live in fear of, well, pretty much everything-- especially the humans who live close by. When Bryony forms a friendship with one of them-- a young man who has problems of his own-- she finds the first hope her people have had in years. The thing I like most about this book is not just the adventure or the love story-- although both are excellent and engaging-- it's that, while telling a corking good story, RJA manages to make important commentaries on what it means to be human. And, of course, what it means to be fairy. She comments on love, compassion, creativity, the value of art-- but without being didactic or trite. It's simply an excellent read, for all ages. And I can't wait for the sequel.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Deva Fagan

    I found lots of things in this marvelous book: a compelling adventure, a nuanced world, and engaging mystery, and a sweet and occasionally heart-breaking romance. Most of all I found two characters to love: Bryony (later Knife) the faery, and Paul, the young human who becomes her friend. I loved seeing the worlds of both faeries and humans through Knife's eyes. I read eagerly as she pieces together the clues to understand the deadly affliction upon her own people, and struggles to understand the I found lots of things in this marvelous book: a compelling adventure, a nuanced world, and engaging mystery, and a sweet and occasionally heart-breaking romance. Most of all I found two characters to love: Bryony (later Knife) the faery, and Paul, the young human who becomes her friend. I loved seeing the worlds of both faeries and humans through Knife's eyes. I read eagerly as she pieces together the clues to understand the deadly affliction upon her own people, and struggles to understand the role humans play in it. The relationship between Knife and Paul is one of my favorites in recent readings: honest, true, joyful and wrenching by turns. Although this book was satisfying and does feel like a full and complete story, I still cannot wait for the sequel! I want more Knife and Paul!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    what an absolutely delightful read. you always know when a book has found its way into your heart when you are filled with regret when the story is over. faery rebels is a middle grade novel--a genre i have not read in some time--but it is a book to be enjoyed by all ages. knife is a fearless faery intent on finding out the truth of her people's past, when she befriends a human friend, paul. with evocative prose and wonderful storytelling, anderson slowly unravels the mystery behind the faeries' what an absolutely delightful read. you always know when a book has found its way into your heart when you are filled with regret when the story is over. faery rebels is a middle grade novel--a genre i have not read in some time--but it is a book to be enjoyed by all ages. knife is a fearless faery intent on finding out the truth of her people's past, when she befriends a human friend, paul. with evocative prose and wonderful storytelling, anderson slowly unravels the mystery behind the faeries' unhappy circumstance, as knife does all she can to help her kind. knife is the perfect heroine for this fantastic debut. i recommend highly!

  24. 4 out of 5

    ☆★Tinja★✮ A Court of Pizza and Laziness

    Meh. Just not for me :/

  25. 5 out of 5

    Anna Mussmann

    I would never have expected a story about tiny winged fairies to be so satisfying. But this one is. The author is able to create a convincing world and to tackle meaningful questions about friendship and love without becoming pedantic. It’s typical for stories of this type to pit adventurous young characters against their elders, but although the book uses aspects of that trope, the protagonist also learns that the adults are more intelligent and nuanced than they seemed initially. The book could I would never have expected a story about tiny winged fairies to be so satisfying. But this one is. The author is able to create a convincing world and to tackle meaningful questions about friendship and love without becoming pedantic. It’s typical for stories of this type to pit adventurous young characters against their elders, but although the book uses aspects of that trope, the protagonist also learns that the adults are more intelligent and nuanced than they seemed initially. The book could easily appeal to both Middle Grade and YA readers, but parents should be aware that although “clean” it does include a few mature topics. The biggest one is attempted suicide. The way it’s handled in the book is not inappropriate, but if my kids read it when they are older, I’d want to address the fact that trying to “cure” a friend of depression through friendship alone is not a good idea. I look forward to hunting up more of R.J. Anderson’s books.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Ehh, this is one of those books I was liking fairly well until the end. It just got too complicated. (view spoiler)[I didn't really follow everything about why Jasmine did what she did. I also felt like Knife leapt to a lot of conclusions while figuring things out. And didn't feel the romance at all. (hide spoiler)]

  27. 4 out of 5

    Denisa C

    I had a rocky start with this one, but due to the love Claudia has for it and the fact that the story was really interesting, I am glad I end up finishing it and really loving it. This is a story about faeries, badass faeries. I have never read about fairies, as main characters, at least I don't remember reading about them. This is quite a nice start. The way it is written and explored makes for a fun, quick, I might say, and amazing read. The characters grow on you as the book progresses, at I had a rocky start with this one, but due to the love Claudia has for it and the fact that the story was really interesting, I am glad I end up finishing it and really loving it. This is a story about faeries, badass faeries. I have never read about fairies, as main characters, at least I don't remember reading about them. This is quite a nice start. The way it is written and explored makes for a fun, quick, I might say, and amazing read. The characters grow on you as the book progresses, at least that's how I felt. We have Knife, whom I did not like that much in the first chapters, but that has a really amazing arc and character development. In this one book she goes through so much stuff and handles it so nicely, you will grow to love her. I like the secondary characters and I like that their involvement was not that scarced through out the book, they actually become part of the plot and we manage to see some friendships develop. As I am still at characters, I will use some spoilers for the love interest and relationship. Before I get into that, I think this is one of the most interesting part of the story. (view spoiler)[The fact that the love interest is a human, makes you question everything from the start, like how are they gonna end up together? Their relationship is so embedded into the plot, that is quite the adventure to find out, what happens in the end. The thing is the book is not quite romance centred, so there is no insta-love and all that, but you want this relationship to happen. Paul, the love interest, and Knife are the cutest when they are together. That kiss scene was perfection. (hide spoiler)] The other part of the novel that I find interesting is the history of the faeries, that we find alongside our main characters and that was pleased to discover, since we basically thrown into the faeries's world. The writing style is not that fairy tale like, but given the characters I think it fits perfectly. The 3rd person narattor makes you see some things, that maybe a 1st person narattor wouldn't. If that makes any sense at all. I could complain about the open ending, but I heard the trilogy wraps everything up nicely. I do recommend this book. It was a great start for my faery adventure ride. Onto the next two in the trilogy now. P.S.: see, I was nice.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cameron

    Have you ever wanted to explore the exciting life of a faery? Well, in R.J. Anderson’s book Faery Rebels, Spell Hunter follow the life of a adventurous young faery named Bryony who has a thing for curiosity explores strange creatures called humans and wants to find answers to why “long ago the faeries mysteriously lost their magic”. “Deep inside the great Oak lies a dying faery realm, bursting with secrets instead of magic”. But a young faery Bryony is determined to solve the mystery of why the Have you ever wanted to explore the exciting life of a faery? Well, in R.J. Anderson’s book Faery Rebels, Spell Hunter follow the life of a adventurous young faery named Bryony who has a thing for curiosity explores strange creatures called humans and wants to find answers to why “long ago the faeries mysteriously lost their magic”. “Deep inside the great Oak lies a dying faery realm, bursting with secrets instead of magic”. But a young faery Bryony is determined to solve the mystery of why the faeries lost their magic. Bryony wants to prove the faeries wrong about humans and the dark secrets about their stolen powers. When Bryony becomes the Queens hunter she gets too close to a human. A boy Paul discovers Bryony when she is wounded from a crow that attacked her. As the days go on the two create a special relationship and Bryony breaks the Queens rules to visit him every night. But the faery works hard to find the answers to all her other questions and wonders about the Sundering (that’s when the faeries lost their magic). Like who took their magic? Or is there still magic left outside of the Great Oak? Even risking her own life to find out the answer to her biggest question why the faeries lost their magic! Will Bryony Find the answers or will she bring the faeries closer to extinction? This fictional story combined action, friendship, romance and mystery all in one book. I could really feel the emotions Bryony felt. Some parts gave me chills; some made me question what other charters were saying. I loved how each page changed how I was feeling. I also like how detailed the book was. I could really imagine being in the Great Oak with it rustic charm and the beautiful decorations and furniture. A few parts got a little confusing. I had to re-read some parts to really understand what they were talking about but overall I like it a lot! I would give it …

  29. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    As the blurb says, Knife is not a fairytale. It happens to be a story about a faery who is unlike any faery I've ever read about. She is a strong-willed heroine and at times even a little savage. Knife lives with a colony of faeries who each have roles to fulfil within their community. Knife dreams of being a Gatherer and going outside of the Oak which is home to the colony. Knife unlike the other faeries is not afraid of the outside world. She is insatiably curious, particularly when it comes As the blurb says, Knife is not a fairytale. It happens to be a story about a faery who is unlike any faery I've ever read about. She is a strong-willed heroine and at times even a little savage. Knife lives with a colony of faeries who each have roles to fulfil within their community. Knife dreams of being a Gatherer and going outside of the Oak which is home to the colony. Knife unlike the other faeries is not afraid of the outside world. She is insatiably curious, particularly when it comes to the humans. However, all the faeries are vulnerable as they have lost their magic and a fatal disease is slowing killing members of the colony. Knife is told it has something to do with the humans. However, as Knife observes the humans, she begins to doubt this and she realises that they are not like the other animals outside. Anderson has created an entirely believeable world inside the Oak. The faeries have a society based on trading skills and knowledge. One of the most beautiful things about the book is the way we are able to see the human world from Knife's faery sized viewpoint. Anderson also deals with the issue of disability and low self-esteem sensitively and this gives the novel depth. Knife is a delightful book that left me believing there must be faeries at the bottom of my garden. But it also left me with more than just a feeling, it inspired me to be creative. It reminded me about the wonder of humanity. Overall, there is no doubt in my mind that this is a story to be enjoyed by all. Children will love Knife's disobedient and rebellious side. Adults will have the playful child inside themselves reawakened. I can't believe I'm going to give another book five stars so soon, but this book is something truly special.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Wardrip

    Reviewed by Breia "The Brain" Brickey for TeensReadToo.com The first FAERY REBELS book, SPELL HUNTER, is a story about, you guessed it, faeries. The story begins on a day in the life of a faery named Bryony. She is young, impetuous, and exactly like you would expect someone her age to be. Bryony lives with the others of her kind in a huge oak tree. The only faeries that are allowed to leave the tree are the gatherers when they are searching for food, or the Queen's Hunter when she leaves to Reviewed by Breia "The Brain" Brickey for TeensReadToo.com The first FAERY REBELS book, SPELL HUNTER, is a story about, you guessed it, faeries. The story begins on a day in the life of a faery named Bryony. She is young, impetuous, and exactly like you would expect someone her age to be. Bryony lives with the others of her kind in a huge oak tree. The only faeries that are allowed to leave the tree are the gatherers when they are searching for food, or the Queen's Hunter when she leaves to protect the others and hunt for small animals. Being in the oak for so long, the faeries have forgotten many of their arts and they have no magic to wield, except the Queen. Of course, Bryony, being young and immature, doesn't see this as a way of protecting their life, she sees it as a punishment, one that she doesn't want to endure. She wants to go outside, and when she does, she is almost grabbed by a human boy. The Queen's Hunter, Thorn, takes her aside to show her exactly why they're not allowed near humans - a disease, deadly to them called The Silence, which as she is told by Thorn is caused by being around humans. After this incident, Bryony decides that what she most wants out of life is to be a gatherer. It was so exciting to find out what was really in store for Bryony. I enjoyed this book so much. The author's descriptions were very real. When Bryony was hot inside the oak, I felt hot right along with her. R. J. Anderson has built a world unlike any I have read before. She has given us a fantastic world that resides right along ours, if we'd only stop and look. Once I started reading, I had to make myself put it down. This is the first novel published by R. J. Anderson, and I am so looking forward to the next book in this series.

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