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The Hunter's Moon: The Chronicles of Faerie #1    by O. R. Melling order for
Hunter's Moon
by O. R. Melling
Order:  USA  Can
Harry N. Abrams, 2005 (1993)
Hardcover, Paperback
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Having originally released them over a decade ago, O. R. Melling has revised The Chronicles of Faerie and is re-releasing through Amulet Books. A recent rise in the popularity of fairies (as evidenced by the success of such novels as Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and Holly Black's Modern Tales of Faeries for young adults) makes this a perfect time to revisit these young adult fantasies.

This first episode, The Hunter's Moon, concerns two cousins, Findabhair and Gwen and their love for all things magical. Gwen travels from America to Ireland to spend the summer supposedly backpacking across the Emerald Isle with her Irish cousin - but what the girls really have in mind is to scout out known fairy hot spots. While illegally camping out under the Hill of Tara, Findabhair is taken into Faerie by the Faerie King. Now Gwen must race across Ireland in an attempt to save Findabhair from being sacrificed at the Hunter's Moon ritual. Along the way, Gwen receives help from many new friends, who eventually all unite in battle against an ancient and otherworldly foe.

Melling does a wonderful job conveying the Irish context. Although I have never been there, I could see the cities and countryside in vivid detail and sense the air of magic surrounding the entrances to Faerie. Her writing is also rich in Irish folklore and language, complete with a glossary explaining Irish place names and expressions. This cultural immersion saves the book from being just another teen fantasy from the end the 20th century, making it still enjoyable today. Unfortunately, while the novel was updated to mention email and The Lords of the Rings movies, the characters still read like idealized young women of the late 1980s / early 1990s. They do have personal problems and obstacles to overcome - it is simply that their words and actions are not those of modern teens.

I highly recommend The Hunter's Moon to anyone who is looking for a magical fantasy concerning fairies and other bits of Irish lore. More revised volumes in The Chronicles of Faerie are to come, and I intend to read them all to experience more of this fascinating world of Irish legend.

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