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“Forget all that palaver about fantasy or reality. Act as if ye believe and see what happens. Is that too much to ask?”

I profiled O.R. Melling’s book The Hunter’s Moon several years ago, but never got around to including another from her Chronicles of Faerie series, The Summer King.

Laurel, 18, makes a trip back to Ireland while still grieving the death of her twin sister Honor there a year before. Honor believed in fairies, but Laurel has always been skeptical. Nonetheless, she retraces her twin’s steps from the notes in her diary, and meets a strange creature called a clurican (something like a leprechaun) just where Honor said she’d met him. He tells her that Faerieland is in peril and only she can save it – and in the process, she will rescue her sister, who may not be truly dead but merely trapped between worlds.

Laurel sets out on a perilous adventure, helped along the way by several fae creatures and human friends of Faerie, as well as a boy named Ian who she is both attracted to and in constant conflict with. She must find the lost Summer King and bring him to the magical isle of Hy Brasil on the summer solstice, where he must initiate a ring of bonfires that will bring strength back to the fairies’ lands. And yet, it is the Summer King himself who appears to be her adversary, although the situation is more complicated than she could ever have imagined.

Laurel goes underground twice into the mountain where the King is being kept. As the creatures who once opposed her become her allies, new minions of the adversary emerge to fight against her, culminating in a final bloody battle. She does face off against the King alone and reaches her goal, but the reunion with her sister is not what she had hoped for. In the end, she saves her adversary more than her sister.

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