Book Review: Trailer Park Fae by Lilith Saintcrow

Posted April 25, 2018 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 6 Comments

Book Review: Trailer Park Fae by Lilith Saintcrow

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Trailer Park Fae by Lilith Saintcrow
Series: Gallow and Ragged #1
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Thriller
Published by Orbit on June 23, 2015
Pages: 312
Format: Paperback
Source: the library

Buy on Amazon
Also in this series: Wasteland King

Also by this author: he Red Plague Affair, Dark Watcher, Roadside Magic, Wasteland King

First in the Gallow and Ragged urban fantasy series set in the human world of low dive bars, construction sites, and trailer parks inhabited by fae and human both. The focus is on Jeremiah Gallow and Robin Ragged.

My Take

This is good, a weedy, alley-ridden home to trailer parks and divey bars into which sidhe treachery and betrayal leaps. It reminds me of Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series with its low-class settings while Gallow’s character is a blend of the enigmatic Barron from Fever, the compassion of Harry Dresden from Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files, and the skill and darkness of Cal from Robin Thurman’s Cal Leandros. Now Robin’s character…she’s practically out of Mercedes Lackey’s Bardic Voices.

Saintcrow presents an interesting contrast of Robin’s delight in her escape into Faerie away from her stepfather and today’s thoughts of darkness toward Summer. Another horrifying contrast is the supposed light of the Seelie Court with those carved-bark trees, the cruelty and downright nastiness of Summer. I do wish I better understood why Unwinter was after Robin…

Now, don’t go to thinking it’s actually like any of these other series; they simply remind me of them. Sure it has the background conflict of the long-ago quarrel between Summer and Unwinter, once a couple and now deadly enemies. And it’s a rift Goodfellow makes good use of with betrayal, treachery, and cruelty from all three sides, but Saintcrow makes Trailer Park Fae distinctly it’s own.

The story uses a multiple third person point-of-view, if only so we can experience Robin’s, Gallow’s, and other characters’ actions, thoughts, and dialogue with a pair of protagonists who are fearsomely wary of each other, each waiting for the betrayal to be expected of a sidhe.

It is rather annoying that Saintcrow re-“created” the spellings of some of the basics, like “brughnie”. I thought it was some sort of Unseelie-like creature. Duh. And what’s with Unwinter? Sounds like the opposite of Winter, when I think Saintcrow was aiming for a wintry feel.

Just so you know, there are two trailer parks with the first one mentioned, the one where Robin grew up. It was quite confusing until I figured it out, eventually. I do wish I’d known it at the time, as it would have rendered Robin’s thoughts more poignant.

And now that I’ve written up this review, I can dive right in to Roadside Magic!

The Story

Rumors abound as to who spread the blackboil plague, and fear arises when it’s the full-blooded sidhe who succumb.

It leads to blackmail by Robin, for she wants Sean safe from the queen who uses her as an errand girl. Unwinter is also to be feared as he sends his assassins for the Realmaker. No sidhe can be trusted and Robin is desperate to rescue her young friend.

Gallow also has reason to hate, er, fear the fae and their manipulation. And Robin is simply another sidhe to distrust.

The Characters

Robin Ragged is half-fae, half-human with a voice to die for, literally, and born into a human family. She’s also a Realmaker, making her valuable. Sean is the little mortal boy who woke Summer’s jealousy, held hostage by Summer for Robin’s loyalty.

Jeremiah Gallow, a.k.a., the Queensglass, is half-fae, half-human and had once been the Summer Queen’s Armourmaster, a knight carrying a dwarven-inked lance, until he fell in love. In the human world, he works in construction…and would welcome death. Daisy Snowe is the woman with whom he fell in love. Daddy Snowe had been a delivery driver who railed against his young daughter, and then grew too interested.

In Gallow’s life
Clyde is the foreman on the jobsite. Panko is a co-worker who likes the Wagon Wheel, a dive patronized by the construction workers. Sylvia is the office manager on-site. In the trailer park Gallow calls home, his next door neighbors are Melody and the abusive Paul Garnier; Cathy is one of their children. Mama Loth, not sidhe, but not human either, lives on the other side. Bob Haskell has his dead van.

The Rolling Oak is a pub considered free ground. Peleaster is the Cook with her tentacles. Kosthril the Mammoth, the bartender, is half-giant, half-drow with four arms.

Robin “Puck” Goodfellow is the Fatherless, the mischievous and underhanded, who rules the free sidhe. When he plays his pipe, sidhe die. When he bares his knife, wyrmsting venom collects.

Tanglemire Park and the old Garden Faire are free-sidhe refuges in the human world. Ardie Meg, a brughnie, had once run a coffee shop. Parsifleur Pidge is a Twisted tree wight, stretched and hungry, who lives down in the subway.

The Seelie Court is…
…ruled by Summer, and she is “the fount of Faerie”. Thomas Rinevale is her harper, and in favor. Brenna Highgate and the lady of Dunhill are two of her ladies-in-waiting. Paogreer was a grentooth. Ilara Feathersalt has left the Court because Summer ensnared her lover, Braghn Moran. Arcad Shallowdraft is another favorite, jealous of the mortal Sean. Archane the Quiring is a stealer who kidnaps young mortals for the queen’s amusement. Broghan the Black is her current Armormaster. Fuillpine had been a friend of Jeremiah’s. Morische the Cobbler had given Robin enchanted shoes. Ghilliedhu girls are birch dryads.

Henzler is the mortal-Tainted scientist and teacher infatuated with Summer.

The Unseelie Court is…
…ruled by Unwinter. The creatures of his court include high-blood wights, kelpies in the fens, nymphs of the shade, sharptooth selkies, night-mares, singing mergirls, kobolding, jennies and jacks, hobs, galleytrots, churchgrims, and tribes of the Dak’r Wood: drow, brugnie, smalltroll, Tangles, gytrash, woodwight, trollwrights, grennik, and grentooth. Haahrhne.

The dwarves with…
…whom Robin treats are the black dwarves and mostly Unseelie. Black MacDonnell is pretty disgusting. Figurh is one of his clansmen with a warning for Robin.

The Sundering is what they call the quarrel that rose up between Summer and Unwinter. A brughnie is a brownie. Twisted means to be a mutated sidhe unable to use glamor or chantments. A quirpiece is a silver coin holding an enchantment.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a range of brilliant blues from the crackling light of Gallow’s lance and the magic swirling around his many tattoos to the dusky light that shades his trailer, the pavement, and his motorcycle. He’s a gorgeous man, and so much younger than I pictured him. I do like that sense of the trailer park with the crushed can, the aged trailer’s sides, and Gallow slumped forward in the red-and-white striped metal lawn chair. It’s a determined man, his focus straight out at us. The title is centered at the top and ob either side of Gallow’s head in a bulky red with the author’s name in a glowing white at the bottom, split by the lance head. Down the calf of each leg is an endorsement in white from two other popular authors.

The title is where the story begins, with the Trailer Park Fae.

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