Review – The Thirteenth Child

The Thirteenth Child
By J.L. O’Faolain

What a roller coaster ride!  This story is about a banished sidhe, Cole, making his living off of helping his fellow fae in New York City.  The story opens with a fight scene and the pace just picks up from there.  Cole is pulled into an investigation by his old detective friend, their relationship had ended but there is still enough sizzle and unfinished business to make them both uncomfortable when they are reunited to work this case.  Someone is killing people in extraordinary ways and leaving no evidence behind.  The Detective, James knows just enough magic to summon Cole, literally straight out of the shower, to get his help and magical expertise to find the maniac who can burn a person’s lungs while still in their body.  Some powerful dark magic is at play and time is running out.

I really enjoyed this book.  It is an urban fantasy with some sex.  Do not go into it expecting the typical romance stuff.  This is urban fantasy all the way and the lead character is sidhe, who is not human and doesn’t necessarily behave like one.  He is happy finding love and loving where he finds it.  I don’t think sidhe struggle with the ideas of gay or straight, they just find pleasure and love where it falls.  The romantic interest is there, but don’t expect a cute, sweet resolution, there is backstory and actually a dash of real life issues in this fantasy that might disappoint you.  Just go with the flow and see where it takes you.  It reminds me a little bit of the LKH’s Meredith Gentry series.  Hers have a bit more sex and frolicking, but just as much violence, magic and craziness.  Also the fae and sidhe characters and some of their magics are very similar.  These fae live in the city, go to school, basically fitting in among humans and our society as best they can, even though they live under a bridge or in a drainage pipe.  I enjoy that type of backdrop because it sets the story in our world, making faery and everything that goes along with it possible, we just don’t know about it.  I like that idea, though it is a little scary when you meet some of the characters in this story.

Regardless, O’Faolain has created a set of characters and circumstances that look to be the beginning of an exciting new series.  The intrigues of the sidhe, along with or because of their longevity and different sets of laws, morals and power struggles are fascinating and O’Faolain works them well.  While the fae work on fitting in to escape human attention, you never forget they are otherworldly and different.  Even Cole, our hero, though plagued with more human emotion than most since he has been earthbound so long, is never is allowed to be seen as too human for too long.  It seems just enough to make him feel comfortable to us very human readers as the hero, instead of completely alien.

There were a few little things that threw me about the book, some word choices here and there and some of the character introductions seemed more for another book than this one but otherwise this book was solid.  I really loved the side character Robyn, she rocked, was crazy and out of left field for a while, but I hope we get to that demented “little girl” again. 

So if you like urban fantasy, the sidhe and the fae, a little sex, violence and craziness you will really enjoy this novel.  I do, as urban fantasy has been my genre of choice these days, so I give it 3.5/4 stars.

About ocdreader

I love to read! I always have a book or four going, I have more books in my to-be-read pile than I can read in a year and yet I continue to haunt the bookstores. I have a problem, but I somehow soldier on. I enjoy talking books, so pass on your recommendations and thoughts - I would love to hear them.

Posted on 16 September 2011, in Fiction, Review. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. J.L. O'Faolain

    Thank you for the kind words. Things are only going to get crazier in November/December of this year. Be on the look out, and don’t forget about Robyn. Her adventures in all of this are FAR from over.

  2. I just got the sequel (so so excited!) and I am chomping at the bit to get started!

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