Bea is a cabbage fairy, living in Aenathlin: home of the fae, under the watchful gaze of the Teller (Who Cares About Us). Aenathlin is dependent on mirrors to travel to other worlds which are powered by belief, and The Teller helps to maintain them through narrative. Fictional Management Executives (FME) are employed to run the plots in the human world: unseen they help humans (or ‘characters’) get their Happy Ever After. But there is a problem. The mirrors are breaking. Anti-narratives are destroying the plots which is killing belief. The General Administration has a way to deal with these rebels: redaction, editing out their memories and characters until they are nothing but mindless slaves.
Bea is desperate to become a FME, but fairies are discriminated against. She works hard as a plot watcher though- an assistant to the FME, sometimes tweaking the plot slightly to help improve the story and get the outcome she needs. However, this has brought her to the attention of Mistasinon, a plotter who sees Bea as the perfect fairy to help out the General Administration- they need to complete all the plots they can. He gives her a simple assignment and if she completes it he will put her name forward to become a qualified FME. Her plot is a simple True Love story. Sindy lives in a cottage with her stepmother and ugly stepsister, but with Bea’s assistance will meet the King of Llanotterly, fall in love and live Happily Ever After. Simple, right?
I really enjoyed this book. It is clever and funny, genuinely making me laugh out loud on more than one occasion. But it has darker elements too. There is no denying that Bea and the rest of the fae are living in a dictatorship. The threat of reduction is ever present, and if that wasn’t enough of a deterrent, then the Teller has released his Beast to seek and destroy his enemies. It tackles the subject of free will both for the fae in their totalitarian state and the humans who are forced to live plots that might not be truly what they want in life. Life isn’t a fairy tale, and not everyone has the same idea about what makes a happy ever after.
It could do with another proof read: a couple of typos raise their head but in no way detracted from my enjoyment of the book. A lot of thought has obviously gone into the world that the characters inhabit. There are a lot of other kingdoms, often mentioned in passing, the names of which I found difficult to take in fully. The characters themselves are fantastic though. From headstrong Bea, determined to achieve her dreams, pretty Sindy who proves stupid and simple are not the same things and ‘ugly’ stepsister Ana who is driven by her morals and principles. It is a book that has strong female characters.
After finishing The Fairy’s Tale, I was pleased to read that there will be a sequel. I will definitely be reading it. Publishers: you are going to want a piece of this!