Unseelie by Meredith Holmes

Drollerie Press

Dark Fantasy

Reviewed by Patrice F.

   

 

Lorelei – aka Alfhild – is having a strange day.  She discovers a naked man standing near her rosebush.  It all gets worse when she learns that he is an Unseelie prince.  All around her, the familiar crumbles as she is swept into Cadfael’s world.  Everything takes a turn for the worse once Lorelei discovers her half-brother Gulliver’s role in the continuing war between the Seelie and Unseelie courts.  Soon she will be forced to claim her destiny and choose sides. 

Unseelie is a verdant cornucopia rife with Celtic legend and lore.  Meredith Holmes placed her heart and soul into this lush novel.  Every reference, symbol, and word is a literary landscape of poetic escapism and fancy.  I was submerged in the lyrical intensity of the narrative, which carries an Old World vibrancy while sustaining its modern flair through the eyes and descriptions of Alfhild, the spirited contemporary heroine.  Each aspect is a lustrous maze, dazzling the mind with otherworldly characters, peculiar ceremonies, dark schemes and mystery captured in the passionate uncertainty of love.  Cadfael and Alfhild/Lorelei’s mating dance went on a bit too long and proved a bit anticlimactic one consummated.  The build up and sexual tension was more arresting.   

Although exquisite depths are plumbed and new avenues are explored, the longer I read, I wasn’t certain if I knew where things were coming or going.  The desire to keep on towards the end seemed downright hypnotic.  My words may even be a bit inadequate in describing Unseelie.  This is a rare, amazing, and thoroughly researched story.  In a long line of books from this genre, this one captures the deepest realms of Faerie and the Fae without strangling you with scholarly language until you can’t stay awake to decode another sentence.  Well done, Ms. Holmes.

     

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