Coal: Book One of the Everleaf Series by Constance Burris is a modern take on the story of the fae and life in the faery realm. The story features Coal, a human who was brought to the fairy realm as a child, and his best friend, Chalcedony, a fairy princess about to take over her late mother’s throne. There is the slightly evil, but “probably” well-meaning advisor (Madoc) and the outcast that takes in/understands Coal as an outsider himself (Grigory). Beyond that, there are fae folk from all genres that each play an integral role in Burris’s tale.
The story is solid. Chalcedony is a spoiled princess who wants to be ready for the next step to adulthood while keeping one foot solidly in her childhood. And we all know that never ends well. But Burris pulls us along and even get’s us to feel somewhat charitable toward Chalcedony’s desire to hold on to Coal and their changing (maturing, even) relationship. And up to the end, I was rooting for them, because that’s what we do, right?
I give this book 3.5 stars, primarily because of pacing. For my taste, I prefer a faster pace and sharper plot pivots. Coal and Chalcedony are equally immature and adrift. Neither is truly ready for what comes next in their lives though Coal does come to accept it much faster. The book is well written and the characters are relatable. I very much enjoyed the setting, specifically the descriptions around Legacy. I hope more discussion around Legacy and it’s history is forthcoming in future stories. I recommend this book to anyone who like fairy tales, fairy princesses or has ever known they were an outsider and persevered anyway.
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