The Last Faerie Queen

The Last Faerie Queen

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for its prequel, The Last Changeling. You can read my review of this novel [here].

The Last Faerie Queen was written by Chelsea Pitcher and first published in 2015. It follows on directly from where The Last Changeling (2014) left off, with Taylor and his friends starting their new lives in Faerie. Although it is a sequel, The Last Faerie Queen does stand on its own fairly well and so I personally think that it could be read in isolation.

Although Elora lost her wings to Naeve, she has still kept her burning desire for revolution. Now she’s back in Faerie, she’s ready to gather her supporters and begin the final push against the Dark Court. However, there is one problem. Her human friends – Taylor, Kylie, Alexia and Keegan – have all joined her in the Bright Court. They want to help her fight but she knows that if they willingly enter the battle, the Dark Faeries will have them torn to ribbons.

To make matters worse, she learns that Taylor traded his full name to the Bright Queen in exchange for the means to save Elora’s life. Now, the Bright Queen only has to speak it to control his body and make him do whatever she desires. Elora has no choice but to rework her plans in order to protect him. Using each of her friend’s unique skills she works on a new way to confuse and defeat the Dark Faeries, one which will ensure minimal lives are lost.

However, things go horribly awry when Elora’s supporters in the Dark Court begin to lose faith in her. When they capture two of her friends and take them before the Dark Queen, Elora’s plans need to change again in order to factor in their rescue. The Dark Queen is cruel and her hatred for humans knows no bounds. Elora knows that she must hurry before her friends are offered up to her as sacrifices…

Just a couple of things before I begin analysing the text. Firstly, the ARC copy that I’m reading from is particularly rough and so I won’t really be focusing on things like spelling and grammatical errors in this review as I’m assuming that the final version will be of much higher quality. Secondly, please note that this book is far darker than The Last Changeling. It is incredibly gory in places and also contains some scenes of a mild sexual nature. It’s certainly not a novel for younger teens and I would advise caution if you’re planning to give it to someone of a sensitive disposition.

The Last Faerie Queen is certainly a far stronger novel than its prequel. You may remember that I was particularly unenamoured by The Last Changeling. While there were some aspects of Elora and Tayler’s relationship that I enjoyed, I largely found the rest of the story to be unengaging and heavy-handed in its delivery. By moving the setting to Faerie, this book immediately fixed some of these issues. While the plight of the Faerie courts initially felt far away, it was now central to the story. The Faerie world is as vibrant and interesting as I’d hoped, filled with all manner of freedoms and delights.

Pitcher also did an excellent job of balancing the two sides of the war. In the previous book. It felt a little like the Dark Court were the baddies and the Bright Court were good. Now it’s clearer that exists more as shades of grey. The Dark Faeries kill humans but the Bright Faeries would rather keep them as pets. It no longer feels as though disbanding the Dark Court will necessarily solve all problems with the world.

However, much like The Last Changeling, this book did feel as though it contained a lot of padding. While I did quickly get into the story and enjoyed the final battle immensely, the novel did feel as though it was dragging its belly. At over 400 pages, The Last Faerie Queen was pretty long for a Young Adult novel and a lot of this was given over the repetition (particularly Taylor begging to fight and Elora trying to talk him out of it) or plot detours (a lot of the events that transpired in the Bright Court). This caused me to quickly lose interest and struggle to get through the middle portion of the story.

While the plan to defeat Naeve was very original and clever, I was disappointed that more what not made of it. I was really intrigued by the preparations that the human characters were making but this only really ever happened in the background. If more focus had been put on them preparing for battle and becoming stronger people, I personally think that the story would have benefitted immensely. As It stands, the characterisation of the principal cast is my biggest issue with the story.

I just couldn’t connect with any of the characters as they came across as being wildly inconsistent. When I reviewed The Last Changeling, I commented on the fact that all of the characters were essentially interchangeable. This has not changed at all. The narrators frequently told the reader what to feel for them, or what attributes that the author felt that they should have but this never really came across in either of the novels.

For example, Elora explains to the Bright Queen early in the story that each of the humans have unique talents. I think that Alexia’s trait as being a chameleon could possibly be argued because she was a lesbian posing as a straight girl in the previous book but the others came out of left field. Kylie is said to be incredibly good at making things (because in the last book she made some fliers for the Alliance meeting, I guess) and Keegan has the ability to see into the hearts of others (I have no idea what the basis of this one is). I found the cast of this story difficult to predict and I don’t mean that in a positive sense. They just behaved so erratically (and sometimes out of character) that I found it almost impossible to understand or empathise with them.

Taylor and Elora’s relationship also came to a bit of a standstill in this book. While I liked Taylor’s emotional turmoil in the final few chapters (though I did still think this resolved a bit too quickly and neatly), for most of the story the two of them were separated and so their relationship wasn’t given the space to really develop. When they were together, I found them both a bit too controlling of each other.

Elora doesn’t want Taylor to get hurt. Noble, but I personally wouldn’t take to kindly to be being told that I just had to sit around while everyone else fought if it was me. Similarly, Taylor just obsessively wanted to protect Taylor. Despite the fact that he’s a normal human and she’s a powerful Faerie. Again, it’s noble but it makes more sense. He doesn’t seem to realise what a liability he is. Maybe if more time had been devoted to showing Taylor getting stronger it would have seemed more plausible but it’s hard to tell how much of this training actually happened (and how long it went on for) because it was entirely off page.

I really don’t have much more to say with regards to this one. This series is just evidently not for me. There are moments that are wonderful and with a bit of tightening I think it could have been a great Faerie story but I just found it unengaging on the whole. The Last Faerie Queen was just too long and the characters were not developed enough for my liking. I don’t know if this is the end of the series but I’m not really in any hurry to carry on.

The Last Faerie Queen can be purchased as a Paperback and eBook on Amazon.co.uk

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