Original review posted at: http://pineforapples.blogspot.com/2011/11/faerie-ring.html
This book has become my new love. I LOVED it. The way Kiki Hamilton writes... she makes you feel like you're in the moment. Right now I just want to step inside the book, and live Tiki's life for a while.
Set in the age of the Industrial Revolution, Tiki and her friends are children- runaways, orphans, the sort- living in an abandoned watchmaker's house in central London, and make a living through pickpocketing and thievery.
On one winter's night, Tiki pulls off her biggest steal yet- a ring from Buckingham Palace. And not just any ring, but the Queen's ring, which symbolizes a peace treaty between the royals and the Fey. Of course terrors reign throughout. Floods, hailstorms, the Queen falling ill- you know, the usual. Tiki has a situation on her hands, and has to rely on her friends, including trusting people she's wary of, in order to put to rest the trouble she caused.
Before starting the book, I wasn't too enthused about it, as the cover didn't really attract. It would be way more cooler to be a scene from the industrial revolution or some thing with just the ring, the blood red of the gem winking at you amidst the otherwise drab jewellery.... or maybe to combine the two, a torso shot, with a person in a ballgown, and a hand by the side, with the ring on the middle finger... but ah, fantasies are fantasies, though I hope there will be an improvement on the next cover! It does not do the plot justice.
But anyways, the moment you start reading, it is impossible not to get drawn into the story.
I felt that the author described life in the Industrial age so well, where child labour is not unheard of, the divide between the rich and poor, from the illustrious life of the people living in the higher echelons of life to the pockets of pub-goers and the grimy life the people of the people at the bottom of the pyramid, oh she made me fall in love with the London of that that time. The way Kiki Hamilton writes, you wouldn't know she's just a debut author, more especially with the way her scenes blend so nicely from one to the other.
The mysteries in this book, especially the ones behind Rieker, Larikin, and the ones surrounding Tiki's birthmark so byzantine, and more infuriatingly so, we are left hanging on them. TORTUROUS, I tell you. TORTUROUS.
But I felt that plot resembled Cornelia Funke's The Thief Lord, though Hamilton's has a more otherworldly twist to it. However, it stills retains its own originality in the way it is narrated, the voice and the events that transpire throughout.
Another nitpicky grievance I have is with the planning process. So Tiki's got the ring. But how she plans to recieve the money for it was rather... childish. Well duh, considering it's vagrants that came up with the idea, but it's the stuff of fantasies, that is rather... difficult to pull off in real life. The ball, I don't know how a gown can transform you. Or that security would be so lax. Or that you needed a situation and the perfect solution was presented.
But other than my grumblings I still enjoyed those scenes very much.
As for the characters, there was more of a focus on the protagonist and Tiki's band of merry children seldom take the scene. A pity, because I liked Toots and Shamus so much. Just a thought here- if Shamus was Irish, shouldn't his name be spelt 'Seamus" instead? Hmmm...... curious. I can't choose a favourite character, because they were at their best when working together. Reiker's secrets, Leo's and Tiki's ability to think on her feet worked together in harmony
I really took to this book, reading it was the funnest thing I did that day, and uggness, I can't wait for the next book! I need to know what will happen next! If you enjoy an paranormal-adventure book, with little mysteries and some royal fun thrown in, oh you will love this.