Growing up in the enchanted kingdom of Dualsing, seventeen-year-old Lady Serafina has always known she’s different. Her fae power never manifested itself during puberty, and her parents treated her like a tolerated houseguest rather than family.
Growing up in the enchanted kingdom of Dualsing, seventeen-year-old Lady Serafina has always known she’s different. Her fae power never manifested itself during puberty, and her parents treated her like a tolerated houseguest rather than family. Even her childhood sweetheart, Crown Prince Eldon, distanced himself the moment he was old enough to know the secret about Serafina that everyone in their world seems to know—except her.
Now her upcoming birthday is being treated as a national holiday by the very people who’d neglected her, Eldon is in for a political battle of his life that she’s somehow being dragged into, and Serafina is developing abilities that feel terrifyingly right, but aren’t fae power at all.
As she starts to investigate her origin, Serafina has no idea she would be setting in motion events that would have far-reaching consequences not just for herself, but for all the planes.
Note: BEFORE VENGEANCE is a prequel of VENGEANCE BE MINE.
Our Modern Fae: From Monsters to Good Guys, to Somewhere in Between
When you think about fae, or fairies, what is the first thing that comes to mind? The sweet Tinker Bell from Peter Pan? The helpful fairy godmother from Cinderella? Or the kid-friendly, straight-to-DVD Barbie and her Fairy Friends?
The truth is, we’re living in a highly sanitized, Disney-ized society where children’s entertainment is politically correct, and it produces an army of adorable characters that are marketable to a wide audience.
The classics from the “good old days”, however, are a hot mess of violence and childhood trauma.
In the original fairy tales, the Little Mermaid didn’t get her man (she killed herself), and Cinderella’s stepsister mutilated her foot to get the man (yet still failed and got her eyes pecked out). Before being “rebranded” into cute little animated creatures, the fairies from the old fairy tales were full-sized, malicious, grudge-holding creatures. One type of fairy would even steal human babies and substitute them with their own (the changelings). How’s that for every parent’s nightmare?
To put a story in context, we must understand both the storyteller and their audience. In the case of the changeling stories, the theme of child swapping was popular among medieval literature, at a time in history where there was a lack of understanding of developmental disabilities and diseases. The changeling idea seems to provide the perfect out for parents who wanted to abandon or kill their sick children (“That’s not my kid I’m hurting. It’s just a horrible fairy who looks like my kid. I’m sure the fairies will return my real kid to me if I treat theirs really badly. Hey, it didn’t work. Oops.”).
Then the pendulum of time swings the other way, and we have Tinker Bell, whose very name bespoke her helpful nature (a tinker is someone who mended household metalware).
So where does that leave the modern urban fantasy genre, with an audience that has in one way or another been exposed to the Disney version, yet is sophisticated enough to know that there might be another side to a story? What kind of fae do we see in urban fantasies? Good guys? Bad guys?
A little bit of A, and a little bit of B.
The modern day fae character in an urban fantasy could be the best friend, the mentor, or even the hot guy. In Kalayna Price’s ALEX CRAFT novels, the lead character’s love interest is an agent from the Fae Investigation Bureau. In Kelly Armstrong’s CAINSVILLE series, the fairies are the ones manipulating events in the background, yet they are not all-knowing, nor do they have a unified agenda. In Michael Merriam’s Last Car to Annwn Station, the fae court has its fair share of politics and power plays.
In other words, many fae in these stories are flawed, but not necessarily evil. Rather than good vs. evil, they are made more…human. As mentioned before, the readers of the urban fantasy genre are well aware of the Disney version of these fantastical creatures—it’s impossible to live in this world without knowing it. Personally, I believe that an urban fantasy reader is someone who reexamines the stories they grow up hearing with a critical eye, yet possess the child-like optimism to still believe in magic.
And in fairies.
Louisa Lo lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband, an aristocratic cat, and more cardboard boxes than she cares to unpack. She decided to write about vigilantes, because it seems like a better life choice than trying to become one and landing herself in jail. She just has that kind of luck.
Please visit her site to learn more about Louisa and her books.