Plot Type: Fantasy
Ratings: Violence—2; Sensuality—2; Humor—2
Publisher: Tor (11/10/2015)
When a fae child falls deathly ill, Domnall knows he's the only one who can get her the medicine she needs: Mother's milk. The old scout will face cunning humans, hungry wolves, and uncooperative sheep, to say nothing of his fellow fae!
This novella is set in the Scottish fairy world. These fairies are not cute little winged creatures. They are small, non-flying "people" who walk on two legs. Unfortunately, Wrigley provides no other specific details about their physical appearance. In fact, the author provides almost no world-building at all. For the benefit of readers unfamiliar with Celtic fairy mythology, here is a glossary of terms that will help you better understand the story:
> Brownies are tiny, wrinkled, hairy creatures who inhabit houses of humans and aid in tasks around the house. However, they do not like to be seen and will work only at night, traditionally in exchange for small gifts of food, like porridge and honey. In this story, they don't get along well with the fairies.
Even with his outspoken ways, Domnall has lots of skills and experience, so when a fairy child named Nighean becomes ill and needs the milk of a human mother, Maeve (who, in this story, is in charge of the nursery) sends him off to exchange Nighean for a human child. They plan to leave Nighean in the humans' home for a week or two and then swap the babies back again. Nighean wears an amulet that makes her look just like the human child. As all sorts of complications arise, Domnall grumbles his way through them with the assistance of a young female named Micol, who is training to be a scout.
This is a feather-light story with a straightforward story line (even with all the complications). Only Domnall's character is truly fleshed out, although Wrigley spends some time showing us that Maeve is equally as grumpy as Domnall. Although it's an O.K. story, I honestly have to say that I don't think it is worth $8.99 for the 112-page paperback or $6.61 for the audible version. Even $2.99 for the e-book seems high to me. (Note: These are all Amazon.com prices.) This is the sort of novella that authors frequently write as an offshoot of of an ongoing series that already has an extensive mythology in place. It really doesn't work as a stand-alone bereft of world-building details.
Click HERE and scroll down just a bit to read an excerpt from "Domnall and the Borrowed Child." The author has two fairy-related posts on the Tor website. Click HERE to read her tongue-in-cheek list entitled "Five Ways to Piss Off the Fair Folk." Click HERE for read her review of "Five Modern Books with Bad-Ass Fairies."
If you enjoy stories about fae living in the modern world, rather than in Medieval times, here are some recommendations. First and foremost is Seanan McGuire's long-running OCTOBER DAYE SERIES. And then, there's the anthology The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity. Another modern-world fae series is Lilith Saintcrowe's GALLOW AND RAGGED SERIES. And don't forget Kelley Armstrong's terrific CAINSVILLE SERIES.
FULL DISCLOSURE: My review of "Domnall and the Borrowed Child" is based on an electronic advance reading copy (ARC) of the book that I received from the publisher through Netgalley. I received no promotional or monetary rewards, and the opinions in this review are strictly my own.