I loved Lilith Saintcrow‘s Jill Kismet series, which I need to start back reading again. When I learned she had a fae urban fantasy series, Gallow and Ragged, I got pretty excited the library had the audiobooks. The first book Trailer Park Fae introduces the reader to two warring Sidhe Fae courts. The land of Summer is ruled by a ruthless Queen who hates the Winter King. UnWinter oversees his dark and dangerous realm. The two courts rule their respective seasons in the human world. Unluckily, caught in the middle are the half-Fae Jeremy Gallow and half-Fae Robin Ragged. There is a dangerous plague afoot and the trickster Puck is all about fanning the bad blood between the courts.
Robin seeks the cure to bring it back to the Summer court. Robin hopes to use it as leverage to get a boon from the Queen. But the scientist she enlisted to help has gone mad. Gallow is a melancholy widower construction worker living in said trailer park looking to avoid all things Fae. But when he meets Robin on the run from Winter’s minions, he gets dragged back into the fray. It doesn’t help that Robin reminds him of his wife who was lost in a tragic accident. He uses a dwarven blade to save her that is magically enchanted into his tattoos. He used to be an assassin for the Summer court, but he left that world behind. Or so he thought. The queen wants to work all angles and agrees to hire him to find Robin. He’s not sure if he should follow her command, but he wants to learn more about Robin who is stirring long-dead feelings inside of him.
It took me a while to figure out the chessboard of characters. Maybe reading the print book would have helped me get my bearings better. I did enjoy the audio narrator, Joe Knezevich. He helped pull you into the fantasy tale with a sense of mystery and foreboding. Other reviewers complained about the fanciful language, but I think it suits the fae setting and talk of courts and loyalties. My favorite parts were when the two main characters were in the same place. Robin spends much of the book running from him and everyone. When the action kicks off, it does not disappoint. And wow to that ending! A certain character really deserved all that came to him.
If you’re a fan of urban fantasies involving the fae courts, this series is worth a read. There isn’t a detective protagonist like in Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files or Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire. But there is certainly a larger mystery to unravel and elements of romance.
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