Tropes have staying power because they bring up something primal in us. The concept of Faerie depends utterly on a vision of beauty and power unattached to any code of morality. The fairy folk belong neither to heaven nor hell, but they pay a tithe to hell, and it is perilous to know them or to see their beauty.
Of course, one of the problems with a trope is that writers love to blur their edges. After a hundred urban fantasies featuring the Fair Folk, they start to seem pretty tame; kind of like glittery vampires who only eat Bambi.
So that makes Holly Black’s forthcoming novel a welcome change. She’s gone back to the root of the trope — a world in which Fairies are mad, bad, dangerous to know, and beautiful beyond imagining, and only an idiot or a fool tries to bargain with them.
So there is a town where people know how to protect themselves from the Fair Folk (though tourists are often not so lucky), a town that has its own Sleeping Beauty, a fairy prince encased in glass, a place where a girl who dreams of being a knight may just find her wish fulfilled. A place where you need to be careful what you wish for.
That is the world of The Darkest Part of the Forest, and it’s well worth a visit, if only because in this book the primal trope wakes up and gives a Tarzan yell.
I got the advance review copy of this book at Book Expo America, and have no other connection with the author. The Darkest Part of the Forest will be published in January, 2015.