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Monday, April 18, 2011

How Not to Date a Fae by Stephanie Burke



How Not to Date a Fae by Stephanie Burke
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (96 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Buttercup

Deception and betrayal have driven Ario from the only home he's ever known, but he's determined to never look back, and never use magic again -- until he gets hit with pixies, fate, and an irresistible red-headed Fae.
Cailte was one of the Finnian army, Finn mac Cool's right hand. Waking from his centuries-long sleep, the large warrior finds himself at the mercies of a different time -- and a man unlike any other.

If they're to survive, they must forge a bond strong enough to defy the gods. And Ario may discover dating a Fae isn't so bad, after all.

When tradition takes on fate there is no telling what will happen. With feisty pixies, Irish warriors, and the old magic of the Komiko of the Tagata Junja, Ms. Burke has created magic with her second book in the How Not to Date series. After finishing this book I had the intense desire to run off to Ireland to find my very own redheaded warrior, albeit one that likes girls.

Ario has been thrown out of his ancestral home and is trying to create a new life for himself, one where he is free of the traditions and exploitations of his family. This would be much easier for him if his Grandfather would stop trying to bring him back. Japan has a long and proud history that is infused with familiar honor, tradition, and respect not just for your elders but also the old ways, the old magic, the old gods. Ario has spent his entire life being taught honor and tradition, and being told that, as a half breed, he will never be good enough. Even so, Ario's refusal to come back when ordered by his Grandfather goes against everything his has been taught his entire life. I think Ms. Burk does a wonderful job showing Ario's conflict in trying to live his own life instead of doing what is expected of him.

Cailte mac Ronan is fae and an Irish warrior who has been sleeping for a couple hundred years, waiting until he is needed again. I love Cailte's character, he is so very Irish -- there is really no other way to describe him. He begins to adapt to his new life and all the changes, perhaps not quickly, but certainly better than I would have if I had been in his place. He even manages to react with humor when he wakes up and discovers that Ario has removed most of his "man hair." That entire scene was one of my favorites, from Ario's monologue to Cailte's reaction. I laughed so hard I almost fell off my chair. Cailte's ability to infuse warmth and humor into almost any situation is an enviable quality and a great counterpoint to the bleak life that Ario has lived so far.

I'll admit the first time I read How Not to Date A Fae I had a little trouble with the character of Ario's Grandfather. Ms. Burke had done such a good job at making him into an uncaring and semi-villainous character, when it was revealed that not everything was as it seemed I had a hard time accepting the new aspects of his personality. Although upon reading the book again, I was able to see that while Ario's Grandfather might be uncaring and even cruel at times, he was not so much evil or villainous, but more the stern patriarch whose duty it was to uphold thousands of years of traditions. I still didn’t like him, but then again I wasn’t meant to.

I have to say that Merrick the pixie was my favorite character in the book. He was feisty with a strong sense of honor and duty. If I was going into a fight I would definitely want Merrick on my side. He's an understated but very key player in the story, not to mention in the climactic battle at the end. However, I will say the animal attack was a delightful and disturbing parody that seemed to combine Disney-like creatures with the Monty Python's rabbits. It was brilliantly done.

Author Stephanie Burke combines legends, mythologies, and her own special brand of writing magic to create a riveting tale of honor, duty, and love. Ms. Burke has a talent for combining the absurd with the commonplace, and writing characters that you just can't help caring about. I cannot wait to find out what “not to date” next.

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