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I have read Sarah Prineas’ first book, Winterling, so I was thrilled at the opportunity to review the next book in this series, Summerkin. What a fantastic story it was! Full of adventure, mystery, magic and excitement, I found this book to be just as hard to put down as the first one. In the first book, there was a strong Pagan theme but that is not so evident here. The first book was like an introduction to this new world as well as Fer’s relationship with her grandmother, Grand Jane, and everything she was taught as a child. So a lot of the things that happened in this story made sense and stayed true to Fer’s background, because I knew where she was coming from. Summerkin could probably work as a standalone book, but it definitely helps to read the first book in order to get the background on some of the key players in this story, like Phouka and Rook.

In this book, we get to know the world in which Fer’s mother came from, as well as the politics of this world. (Unfortunately, there must be a political structure in every world.) in the first book, readers get information on how Fer is related to this land. Her mother was a Lady murdered by one of her rogue operatives so, therefore, Fer is the rightful heir and Lady of the Summerlands, taking her mother’s place. Unfortunately, because Fer is half human, some of the natives do not accept her so easily, so she must prove herself to them. This must happen in a competition ordered by the High Ones, rulers of all the lands, and Fer must compete against three competitors for the crown. I liked how her competitors were so different yet so much like their lands: Gnar from a desert region, Lich from a wet and watery region, and Arenthiel – who doesn’t really have a land which he hails from but seems to embody perfection and beauty in all things. Arenthiel is like an idea of what a land should be like. Rook, a puck, is suspicious of Arenthiel, but only because he can see Arenthiel’s true image and knows what he really is. And while Fer has a seeing stone to see someone’s true identity, she can’t really get a good look at this secret identity Arenthiel hides from her. I was also happy to see the character, Twig, reprise her role as Fer’s faithful assistant. It’s too bad we did not get to see much of Twig’s twin sister, but the substitution of Fray, a wolf-guard, made up for that absence.

While a lot of this book is set in the Summerlands or, actually, in this magical world Fer calls her new home, there are some parts of the story in which Grand Jane plays a role. I really wanted to see more of Grand Jane and I was glad she got to be in some of the scenes. I really liked how she dealt with Rook; the way she handled his moodiness and grouchiness was perfect. Also, I was glad to see that Fer was a true healer in this story; she stops what she must do to care for someone who is injured or dying. Gnar calls her “Strange One” because she even cares for a competitor or an enemy but this is what a healer does. The welfare of another is tantamount to a healer, so it made sense how Fer was so concerned when someone was hurt.

Summerkin is a great book to read during the summer but it can be enjoyed at any other time of the year. It’s a wonderful story of staying true to oneself and fighting for what is rightfully yours.

After winning the right to her land as the Lady, Fer must now prove to the High Ones that she is the rightful Lady of the Summerlands. Through the competitions she learns of an evil force at work plotting to remove her from the magical land for good and destroying her friends, the pucks. Can Fer prove the Summerlands is her land and save her friends?

Book Blurb for Summerkin

Summerkin, the second book in award-winning author Sarah Prineas’s fantasy-adventure series that begins with Winterling, follows Fer, a young healer and warrior who’s fought to become the Lady of the Summerlands and now faces the task of ruling over a magical people in an enchanted realm.

Although Fer defeated the Mor, the evil, false Lady who terrorized the Summerlands, there are still those who do not trust her. To prove herself, Fer, aided by her deep connection to the natural world and her healing arts, enters a challenging contest. If Fer fails, she will lose her land and the realm will be closed to her forever.

Sarah Prineas combines a brave and resourceful young heroine with a richly detailed fantasy world and beloved folklore into a story that will delight middle-grade fans of Diana Wynne Jones, Ingrid Law, and Rick Riordan.

Night Owl Reviews Jul, 2013 5.00