I loved The Witch King and was both excited and anxious to read this sequel, but luckily it continued this unique, magical and emotional fantasy story with the same great humor and amazing trans rep.
The Fae Keeper continues where the first book ended, with Asalin in turmoil and with Emyr and Wyatt hunting Derek and Clarke after having abolished the corrupt Guard. Along the way, they learn new truths about the witches, Wyatt struggles to learn control of his magic and his feelings for Emyr and Briar, and they will all experience new trauma, but also love and forgiveness.
Compared to the first book, the story got even darker this time and there were some really sad and tragic moments. Many of the characters were struggling, and trying to deal with all the bad things they’ve gone through. I especially loved Wyatt’s character development; he made some true personal growth in this book and started to acknowledge his previous bad behavior and find more inner peace. His narration was still as hilarious, witty and sarcastic as in the first book though!
The relationship between Wyatt and Briar also developed a lot, with Wyatt starting to see Briar as a real person with flaws and realizing how dependent and selfish he’d been from time to time when relaying on Briar’s need to try and fix him. Their love and support for each other grew even stronger, while at the same time they gave each other some healthy room to grow as individuals.
And Emyr was just as much of a sweetheart and continued to be my absolute favorite character! I loved that we got to see more of his thoughts and feelings, and how he came to realize he was demisexual in this book. I also loved the way Wyatt described him, and how his feelings grew for Emyr, like in this quote:
“I don’t know how it’s possible for one person to be everything, but he is. Masculine and feminine, soft and strong, a leader and a partner, darkness and light.”
Just as in the first book, I really enjoyed the world building and how it pinpointed topics like racism, colonialism and systematic oppression, as well as gender. There was such a great representation, with trans, gender fluid and demisexual characters, and great discussions about gender woven into the story, like in this quote:
“Faery doesn’t have trans people?”
“Faery is not arrogant enough to assume we know everything about our children before they’ve had a chance to learn it for themselves.” She shakes her head. “There are as many genders as there are people. And each one of them comes into the language they’d like to use for themselves, in their own time.”
The first half of the book was a bit slow though, with Wyatt having internal monologues in the middle of the events going on and with some longer backstories to the fae and witches relationships as well as new creatures being introduced, but that was more than compensated in the second half when the story really upped the pace. There was also a part towards the end where several other POVs were suddenly introduced, which I’m not sure I really liked. It was an interesting attempt to tell the many parallel subplots and explain things from the other characters view, but their voices were not as distinct as I’d wished (they were all a bit too similar to Wyatt’s somehow) and it made the story sprawling and the big climax a bit difficult to comprehend. I had to reread those chapters to fully understand everything that happened. I think the ending could have been a bit fuller, or that there could have been an epilogue. As it was not, it felt a bit sudden and like there were some loose treads that could have been further explained or explored.
But all in all, even though I wasn’t as blown away by this book as I was by the first one, I truly love this magical, gripping and unique duology and recommend it with all my heart!
4.5 stars rounding up to 5
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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abby Kaitz Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Adib Khorram Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed Aislinn Brophy AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alex Beltran Alexene Farol Follmuth Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Alice Winn Ali Hazelwood Alison Cochrun Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton Amanda Ferreira Amanda Woody A. Meredith Walters Amy Aislin Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster Amy Spalding André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Ashlyn Kane Audrey Coulthurst Ban Gilmartin Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg B.L. Maxwell Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cait Nary Cale Dietrich Cara Dee Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare Cat Sebastian C.F. White C.G. Drews Charlie Adhara Charli Meadows Chasten Buttigieg Chris Bedell Christina Lauren Christina Lee Ciara Smyth Claerie Kavanaugh Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colette Davison Colleen Hoover Courtney Kae Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Dallas Smith Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Debbie Schrack Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton D.N. Bryn Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elisa A. Bonnin Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Arroyo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E.L. Massey E. Lockhart Emery Lee Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Evan J. Corbin Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens F.T. Lukens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hannah Grace Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett H.E. Edgmon Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving H.S. Valley Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacob Gelman Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson James L. Sutter Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jen Bailey Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray Jesse H. Reign Joelle Lynne John Green Jonny Garza Villa Julianne Donaldson Julian Winters Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé Kathy Anderson K.A. Tucker KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Lauren Shippen Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Lex Croucher Leylah Attar Lisa Henry Lisa Williamson Lisa Wingate Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Lynn Michaels Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Magdalena Di Sotru Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr M.A. Wardell Melanie Munton Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot Morgan James M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nathaniel Shea Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Starr Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Nyla K. Owen Lach Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Brownell Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rachel Reid Racquel Marie Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve Renée Dahlia Rhiannon Wilde Riley Hart River Braun Roan Parrish Robin Gow Roseanne A. Brown Rowan MacKemsley Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sally Rooney Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Sasha Laurens Saundra Mitchell Saxon James Serena Bell Shannon O’Connor Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophia Soames Sophie Gonzales S.R. Lane Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Steven Salvatore Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Tal Bauer Tamara Girardi Taylor Jenkins Reid Teagan Hunter Terry J. Benton-Walker Tiffany D. Jackson Timothy Janovsky T.J. Klune T.L. Bradford Tobly McSmith Tomasz Jedrowski Tomi Adeyemi Tracy Deonn Tucker Shaw Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard V.L. Stuart Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez