Shade is thrown into the Land of Faerie when she meets a mysterious Teleen warrior, made of fire and electricity. Sent on a journey to obtain a rare magic only she can wield to save the Seelie forces against the Unseelie armies, she discovers her unique inner magic and possibly a difficult choice in love. The Unseelie Queen Aveta is not one to trifle with. She hunts Shade down for her own devices and will destroy everything Shade loves to get what she wants.After barely escaping the clutches of the Unseelie and stripped of her newfound magic, Shade journeys to the Ice Kingdom, The Great Divide, to hopefully retrieve her bound up powers from an Ancient Faerie King named Corb− but loses her memories instead. Alongside her body guard Dylan, a former Captain of the Teleen Guard, she lays havoc to the Ice King’s fortress and forces their return to the Teleen kingdom. Hurrying to reach the Southern Realm, Shade claims her rightful throne and prepares for the upcoming battle with the Unseelie army.
A Dark Faerie Tale follows the story of Shade, a half-faery who gets involved in the world of Faerie and their politics. Being an omnibus of two short stories and three main stories, I’ll summarize each a bit and then talk overall about the book. Evangeline is the story of Shade’s mother Jade and aunt Evangeline, when they were young and the day they both met their love. It was a bit incredulous that both met their other halves on the same day and both stories were insta-lovey. The short story was like the recap of an episode you’ve never watched, so it basically jumps ahead in time and gives the bare plot-line. In Ever Shade, she meets Jack, a Teleen warrior who was also Evangeline’s love, and is introduced to Faerie. She is tasked with getting the Santiran water magic by the Guildrin Court Queen as she is the prophesied half-fey who would do so. Resigned to her fate and wanting answers, she agrees to the task and embarks on the hike along with an entourage that includes her new friend, Rylan aka Soap (WTH?) to the mountains guarded by the Unseelie to find the water. On the way, she gains a faery bodyguard in the form of Dylan, who you immediately know will be a potential love interest, considering he is so reluctant to be bound to her. She comes across other faeries and queens, is attacked, imprisoned and embraces her powers. Ever Fire deals with her finding about her heritage and searching for her long-lost grandmother in an effort to reconnect with her family and learn about her mysterious powers. Lot of the storyline had her being torn between Rylan and Dylan – both of the relationship are hardly developed well – while also driving off other suitors like the faery prince she helped in Ever Shade. Old enemies resurface to torment her and the Unseelie Queen is hell bent on capturing her.
In Ever Winter, Shade is recovering from the torture endured at the Withering Castle and the binding on her powers set at the same time torments her even after her rescue. She is more or less mortal and wants to find a way to release herself from the binding placed on her, a way that involves bringing her friend Brisa into the world of Faerie for her help. Shade is made to choose between the love for Rylan and Dylan and after ascending to her throne in the Summer Seelie Court, has to face the legion sent by the Unseelie Queen. Again, she has another unwilling Faerie bound to her, a powerful adversary and ally, and she has to decide whether to awaken her ancestor. Lastly, with Cursed, I wanted to ask what it really was about Shade that every powerful faery was running behind her. Sure she was powerful but powerful enough to even invite the attentions of Ancients (which is pretty creepy by the way) and while this book once again provides back-story for the main plot, it was thankfully better written than Evangeline.
The plot-line of the series was good and had a lot a potential. The execution, however, was terrible with some of the developments which could be seen coming way earlier and the plot was single-layered – a little more complications and less convenience would have been better. Moreover, the endings of each were way too abrupt. The overall writing was spotty – good in some parts like describing the world-building but failing at the characters. The characters were poorly defined – they have mood swings, smiling one second, serious the next and winking and snickering (there was a lot of that) for not much reason. Also, the relationships between the main character and the people around her is poorly constructed – there is not much development beyond what is necessitated by the plot. Also, most of the characters were dense, especially Shade – who get surprised by developments even when it was mentioned like a few pages ago. I was going – duh! – at almost each revelation – it was too predictable. The background of Faerie was constructed well – with the four ruling Ancients and the various clans of Faerie and the elementals who can rival the Fae in their magic. In the first book, however, none of these are explained, leaving the reader clueless until the third book. So, while on the whole I liked the storyline I was unsatisfied by the writing which could have made this book better.