Rating: 4.25 stars
Every third generation, on the eve of the 18th birthday, a child receives a gift from the Fairies. What that gift may be, no one knows. It was said that Marcus’ family’s fortunes arose with his great grandfather’s gift. But times have gotten hard and now the family depends upon Marcus and the gift he is to receive now that he is turning 18.
But Marcus is different. He loves his village of Rell and his family and he wants to get closer to the woodman’s boy Adam. Marcus is attracted to men not women, a fact he hides from all around him. He certainly doesn’t want a Fairy gift that will change his life and all he knows. On his birthday, Marcus hides in his room, hoping no one will find him. Alas the fairy Draeden appears, and despite Marcus’ protests, gives him the gift of seduction. What is a virgin to do with that?
I had a quibble with this story right off the bat. Such a lovely fairy tale should start as all fairy tales do. Once upon a time in the village of Rell, there lived a boy named Marcus. For The Fairy Gift is truly a fairy tale for adults, following the same strictures and guidelines all such stories do. Draeden is the fairy godmother (a title such a wry and fey creature would love) who pops in and out of Marcus’ life, bringing both meaning and frustration to a boy trying to find his way through the kingdom and into the path of happily ever after.
The King’s Wizard comes to collect Marcus and take him to the capital as an apprentice, but things go awry as Marcus is kidnapped and sold as a sex slave. What? This didn’t happen in your fairy tales? Well, no matter, Marcus has a gift, the smarts to use it, plus Draeden to look after him and give him a shove in the right direction. Let’s just say wonderful antics ensue along the goal to happiness, all choreographed with a lovely light touch by the author.
Pendragon has populated this story with all the wonderful characters we have come to expect. There is an evil sorcerer, a good queen, good townsfolk, and of course, true love waiting in the wings, or in this case a house of prostitution run by a Madam named Titania. Same difference. All the characters are wonderfully nuanced, adding to the storybook feel while never losing sight that this is a slightly updated and slightly bent version of the same. And there is even a kind of princess masquerading as a high priced prostitute with a surprise up her skirt. And there are obstacles, and a truth that Marcus must discover on his own. But as this is a fairytale, it will come as no surprise that there is a happily ever after. And that is how I will end this review of a story I really enjoyed. And they lived happily ever after. Sigh.
Cover: Simple yet elegant. I would have liked to have seen a more traditional storybook cover but still this is nice.