My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Synopsis from Goodreads:
The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood—Tiki’s blood.
Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched — and protected — by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. Her very existence haunts Prince Leopold, the Queen’s son, who is driven to know more about the mysterious mark that encircles her wrist.
Prince, pauper, and thief—all must work together to secure the treaty…
This book is so good- the kind of book that leaves me with a warm contented glow- that kind of good. It transported me to another time and place and I really didn't want to put it down. This is a book that has definitely stolen my heart.
It's got a little bit of everything that I enjoy. Set in 1870s London it has a vivid Dickensian kind of setting- with funny rough-around-the-edges characters, a mystery, a handsome stranger, and a twist on faerie lore thrown in as well! A perfect blend of historical fiction, magic and romance.
Tiki lives with a band of young pickpockets in an abandoned shop just off Charing Cross station, with a reputation for being one of the fastest thieves around. She has caught the attention of Rieker- another local thief, and when she manages to steal a truce ring belonging to none other than Queen Victoria, she also catches the eye of Prince Leopold, and unfortunately, the Unseelie fey as well.
Tiki is such a caring and feisty heroine- a real tomboy with a hero complex, and has such a determination about her. I thought it was so powerful, the way she would do anything to look after her adopted family of ragamuffins. I loved her voice, and her sarcasm and optimism all at the same time. The best kind of heroine because she is so independent and brave, but also resourceful and kind.
And I also loved the character of Rieker, just because he was such an enigma- alternately protective and then so secretive that you know that there is more to him, and are never sure that what he says can be trusted. It definitely keeps you guessing right up until the end.
Here is one of my favourite parts of the book-
"you're not just a pickpocket with fast hands." Rieker's eyes locked on hers. "I found a girl caring for other orphans like a mother. A girl who'd befriended an old bookshop keeper who had lost his only daughter. A girl who can read and is helping others learn to read." His voice softened. "And a girl so beautiful at times, you take my breath away."
A sweeping story that takes you right through London from the slums and hidden back-alleys, to the elegant balls of Buckingham Palace, and then even a glimpse of faerie realms as well. Beautiful, magical and vivid as well.
This book is so incredible. It is fun, fresh, moving and heart-wrenching, and I loved the mixture of quirky characters, the Victorian hardships, and magical powers, and the twists and surprises in the story. The Faerie Ring is a really different spin on a YA paranormal story, and it works so well.