Review book courtesy of Penguin Group
Tess Noncoire is a fantasy writer who’s attending a writers’ conference in Las Vegas. She’s also a Celestial Blade Warrior with an imp companion named Scrap, charged to protect the world against demons. She takes her mother to Vegas with her, and to see a particular show called Fairy Moon. Tess is startled to find that the show features actual faeries, being held against their will and forced to perform for the crowds. But their absence is causing problems for their home dimension, and could unbalance all of the dimensions. Tess will need all the help she can muster to right things—her friend and researcher Guilford, her enigmatic friend Donovan, her mother, a mysterious woman calling herself a vampire, and anyone else she can get her hands on.
Faery Moon: A Tess Noncoire Adventure is a quirky urban fantasy with demons, a wise-cracking gay imp, bitchy faeries, and bitchy writers. I actually made it as far as page 256 before setting the book aside. I was determined to finish it so I could do a full review rather than a non-review, but it got harder and harder to pick up the book and keep reading, so I gave in and stopped.
Scrap the imp is an obvious fusion of the gay best friend stereotype and the scrappy magical companion stereotype—and despite that, he’s one of the redeeming features of the book. Donovan, the male lust interest, is utterly unappealing and has zero chemistry with Tess. Gollum (Guilford) is the stereotype of the vague, bookish best friend. I should also mention that there’s a part-Native American bartender who, naturally, happens to be the exact right type of Native American to conveniently translate something for Tess and then disappear into the background again—like so many things, he’s sort of arbitrarily convenient to the plot. The various writers, editors, agents, etc. who show up around the edges of the con are largely stereotypical and pointless.
Much of the book feels disjointed and arbitrary. I can’t figure out why Scrap doesn’t bother to tell Tess a number of things that would seem to be important to her. Tess’s demeanor bounces around oddly, and she isn’t the only character that happens to. Characters appear and disappear as is convenient to the plot. It feels as though Frost has randomly tossed elements on a canvas and simply trusted them to stick together in some kind of coherent whole. I can’t say that I’ll be rushing out to read about any of Tess’s other adventures any time soon.
For another take on Frost’s book, try The Good, the Bad, and the Unread