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Books 100-101: Faerie Wars and The Purple Emperor by Herbie Brennan

Book 100: Faerie Wars (Faerie Wars Chronicles 01).
Author: Herbie Brennan, 2003.
Genre: YA. Contemporary Fantasy. Faerie.
Other Details: Paperback 368 pages. Unabridged audiobook 11 hrs, 6 mins. Read by Gerard Doyle.

Henry Atherton believes he is simply saving a butterfly from being eaten by Hodge, Mr. Fogerty's cat. However, he soon discovers that he has in fact saved the life of Pyrgus Mulvae, a fairy prince who was accidentally misdirected and miniaturized as he was translated into our world. Henry and Mr. Fogarty soon are assisting Pyrgus in his quest to return home as well as to thwart an impending attack from the Fairies of the Night and become key players in the future of the Faerie Realms.

Knowing Herbie Brennan personally for some years as well as being a firm fan of his non-fiction writing, I was a little nervous about reading his YA fantasy works in case they were a disappointment. Yet I need not have worried because from its opening I found this a delight and a very promising start to the series as a whole. It is reminiscent of the old style of British fantasy novels for younger readers in which an ordinary boy (Henry) becomes involved in extraordinary events. It is written with a light, playful touch moving between the viewpoints of various characters including a variety of colourful villains and Pyrgus 's plucky younger sister Holly Blue.

There is a a great deal of humour, magic and adventure in the novel and a strong cast of memorable characters. I also liked the way in which Henry's life was not only complicated by the intrusion of Faerie but by his parent's marital troubles and his issues with his younger sister. I had this as my audiobook in the car for a time and Gerard Doyle's narration was brilliant as always utilising a wide range of voices. He sounds as though he had a lot of fun reading it as I indeed had listening to it. I did also keep the paperback to hand, especially for clarifying points and occasionally reading ahead when the story was too exciting and the car journey too short

Book 101: The Purple Emperor (Faerie Wars Chronicles 02) .
Author: Herbie Brennan, 2004.
Genre: YA. Contemporary Fantasy. Faerie.
Other Details: Paperback 432 pages. Unabridged audiobook, 12 hrs 24 mins. Read by Gerard Doyle.

I moved straight on to the second book which continues the adventures of Henry Atherton, his friend Prince Pyrgus, and Pyrgus's fearless sister, Holly Blue along with the resourceful Mr Fogarty. Lord Hairstreak and his henchmen, Chalkhill and Brimstone are busy hatching new plots to take over the Realms of Faerie seeking to usurp the line of succession.

Again the novel is brimming with wit and humour, adventure and magic and introduces a selection of new characters. Less time is spent in our world, which meant that Henry's issues with his parent's situation was placed on hold but is addressed again in Book 3. Brennan is a world renowned expert on esoteric topics and as a result some of the magic portrayed here is rooted in historical practices and flows very naturally into the narrative.

Again I enjoyed it immensely.
Tags: angels/demons, british, fantasy, humor, magic, young adult
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