Strangeness and Charm by Mike Shevdon

June 6, 2012

Strangeness and Charm is the third volume in the Court of the Feyre series. Please note there may be some spoilers for those who have not read books one and two. Don’t say I didn’t give you the opportunity to turn back now…

In freeing Alex from Bedlam, Niall has releases her tortured and abused brethren into the wider world—individuals with strange and uncertain powers.

Now he is tasked with bringing these fey-humans back into the fey courts for the sake of peace and stability—but what if they have their own plans, born out of torture and formed from a distillation of bitterness, resentment, Strangeness and Charm?

The Road to Bedlam, book two in The Courts of the Feyre series, holds a very special place in my heart. Why? Well there is an internet meme that has been floating around since before I launched The Eloquent Page – it’s specifically a list of questions about books and one question is what was the last book that made you cry? Now, I’m not a massive crier but there is a scene in The Road to Bedlam that breaks my heart every time I read it. Long story short, I’ve never read anything before or since that have so perfectly managed to capture the emotion of a situation with such a delicate touch. I have to admit that after enjoying book two so much I had extremely high hopes when I started Strangeness and Charm.

Niall’s daughter Alex takes a far more prominent role in this novel. She has reached that awkward age where she is trying to define herself and understand her role in the world. Imagine all the trauma of puberty with the added bonus of magical abilities that you can’t fully control. After the events that occurred in Bedlam, Alex is just looking for a place where she feels she can fit in. Unfortunately Niall, not always the most attentive of parents and with added responsibility of a new son of his own, cant always be there for her. Alex finds herself at the beginning of a journey that will have repercussions for everyone.

Meanwhile, Niall finds himself increasingly on the outside of events. His relationship with the other Warders, including his boss Garvin, becomes increasingly strained as the plot unfolds. On top of that, Niall and his partner Blackbird are also having to cope with the trails and tribulations of being new parents.

The political landscape in the courts is also starting to evolve. Various allegiances are shifting and those that were previously considered friends may no longer be. Though this novel only focuses on a handful of characters the final outcome has the potential to affect every member of Fey society.

The Courts of the Feyre is swiftly becoming one of my favourite series. There is a fantastic quality to Mike Shevdon’s work that I’ve yet to discover anywhere else. Strangeness and Charm is a great example of modern urban fantasy executed perfectly.

The good news is that this isn’t the last we’ll see of Niall and company, there is still more of this story to tell. There are a few subtle hints regarding the dark history of the courts and I can only hope that this will be explored more fully in the future.

It only remains for me to say – Damn you Mike Shevdon! *shakes fist angrily at the sky* DAMN YOU! Why the hostility? It has just dawned on me that I’ll have to wait until 2013 before I can find out what happens next? Oh who am I kidding I’ll be there. I can probably just about manage to wait that long…probably.

Strangeness and Charm is published by Angry Robot Books and is released in the UK on 7th June 2012.

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