I first found indecentpause on their Tumblr page and started reading their Archive of Our Own story, The Art of Losing Touch. Though I am not a huge fan of character driven stuff, I found Lesure’s writing style to be rather refreshing and to the point. When they posted about the presence of a fantasy story they had up on Amazon, I bit the bullet and decided to try it out.
The Fairy Portal
Author: X.E. Lesure
Indie Published with Kindle Publishing
Overall, this was a worthwhile read. At $1.99, it felt like it was worth buying. The story had a couple weak points, but overall I’d say this was good. Probably better for someone who likes YA and teenage heroes.
This book was definitely character driven, though a plot was there to give it backbone. Like everything else I’ve read by Lesure, the characters feel realistic and most of their decisions are reasonable. When the decisions aren’t reasonable, there tends to be a psychological, universe, or magical reason why. It’s really well done YA, for sure. The only real complaint I would have about the characters’ quality is that the two good witches – Clementine and Dix – seemed almost identical. It was nearly impossible to tell the two apart based off their speech, and I wasn’t sure how having two characters rather than one helped the story.
As I’ve spoken with Joanne the Geek before on her post about Life is Strange, there aren’t many books that build up LGBT+ characters. I think this book did a pretty good job with it, but then again I am straight and cis, so take that with a grain of salt.
One of the things I love about Lesure’s writing is how well they are able to bubble up internal emotions into the characters’ actions. When Blake would consider whether or not his feelings for the river fairy, Seamus, were real, his questioning of his own feelings, sanity, and wellbeing were done remarkably well.
Another, trifling thing I liked was how they handled modern technology in a world of fairies. Things like eyeglasses and cell phones were handled very well. It’s not often you get that in a supernatural book.
4/5 Discoball Snowcones
Ok, so, here’s where the review’s going to sound like the book is off the wall insane, but it’s not. It flowed really well, and none of the events (save the two I will mention) felt out of place.
The kids, Blake and Emily, were fantastic main characters. Emily was just spunky enough to make her unique and different from Blake, but she clearly showed a familial bond that was amazing. When you read books about opposite-sex siblings, there’s often a weird, incestual vibe to it. Despite the closeness of these fraternal twins, Lesure managed to avoid that. If you read the book for no other reason than to see how to pull that off, it’s worth it.
I also liked how the kids trusted their elders. Something’s off about Grandma Florence, I’m almost positive, but she was still a good influence and was important to help save them from the fairies’ carnage.
Next, we move on to the fairies. When Blake and Emily agreed to owe the fairies a favor in return for their lives, the favor was (of course) called in. In order to protect the forest, Blake and Emily just encouraged the fairies to be more visible/audible when they protected their land. They scared of the construction worker invaders, and it took a very short amount of time to do it. In fact, the moment they came upon the construction workers, I was taken aback. I didn’t really expect the solution to be so quick and easy. I felt like I’d read the buildup and had fantastic, rising tension, then it just released so ephemerally.
Lastly, the relationship between Blake and the Merrow/river folk Seamus was… interesting. Was it bad? Well, not when you consider it in the context of literary history, but I wouldn’t call it well-developed. Though Blake’s final decision to become a Merrow made sense given the circumstances, I was quite disappointed in him for not at least leaving a note behind. His abandonment of Emily and Grandma Florence right at the end felt a little out of character, but the decision to become a Merrow was foreshadowed long before it happened.
As a huge sci-fi fan, I love it when I find some indie sci-fi stuff to goggle over! Stay tuned for Alexander Elliott’s Expedition!