The Faerie Ring is a title with multiple meanings. The most literal one is a ruby ring that belongs to the British royal family. In 1871, that makes Queen Victoria its keeper…until it’s stolen by the book’s main character, orphaned teenager Tiki. Tiki wants to sell or ransom the ring so that she and the make-shift family of orphans in her care can live in a real apartment instead of an abandoned shop in Charing Cross station. When the youngest orphan, Clara, falls seriously ill and must be taken to a charitable hospital, Tiki’s hopes only intensify. But she learns through fellow pick-pocket Rieker that the ring is more than a piece of beautiful jewelry–it’s a symbol of truce between the faerie courts and the humans who occupy Great Britain. Without the ring being in royal hands, all bets are off for faeries who want to return to their ancestral home.
A comment on the back cover called this book urban faerie meets Oliver Twist, and I couldn’t put it better myself. Tiki’s struggle to survive by stealing food and coins and living in horrible conditions in late Victorian London is just as vivid as the encounters with the faeries. Being more of a historical reader than a fantasy one, I usually find myself drawn more to history than magic in books like this. But not here. There is something that captures my imagination about the faerie myths of Britain and Ireland, and I wanted to know more of this faerie world that co-exists with the London we read of in Dickens novels. Tiki is a sympathetic character with strong motivations to help those around her. Her past is revealed little by little throughout the book, until the end when she and the reader realize there’s much more to her heritage than she ever imagined.
And as for other meanings of “faerie ring?” You’ll have to read the book to discover them all.
Tiki’s story is only beginning in this book. Two or three others are set to follow, and I can’t wait to read them. Be sure to come back Wednesday to read an interview with author Kiki Hamilton, and then Friday to enter a contest to win a signed copy of the book.