A first chapter is especially important in short works, such as Feldman’s recently released fantasy novella, Fey (October 2015). The author did a great job capturing my attention from the very beginning.
In her intriguing first chapter, we meet Nessa and her husband Reg. Nessa receives a call from the hospital where her father is comatose; although she hasn’t seen her dad in a long time, she is listed as his next of kin. Her husband, Reg, doesn’t even know that her father is alive. She’s always been careful when it comes to her family. Why must she be so cautious? What about her past is she protecting?
Further family relations (or the lack thereof) become clear when she explains to the doctor that she hasn’t seen her dad since she was eighteen and so he should contact her brother, Olin, who would know more about their father. The doctor is appalled to have to relay the news that Olin died a few months ago.
With this shock and the state of her father, Nessa decides to stay in her father’s place. An eccentric hermit, her dad lives in the same house in which he raised his family. In fact, generations of the Donnelly family, an Irish family of stone masons, have lived in this exact same home. Nessa’s return to her childhood home brings back memories and soon the fantasy elements of this story emerge as long kept secrets are discovered and evil forces try to break through.
My only qualm about this story was the underdevelopment of Nessa’s husband. He was such a big part of the opening chapter that I expected him to have some involvement in the greater story. So, it was confusing to me why this character seemed to drop off and have no further significance.
Despite this, I really enjoyed this novella. The writing was clear and engaging. I definitely recommend fantasy fans check out this book.
Reviewed by Libby Bridges
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