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*Ruler of the Realm (The Faerie Wars Chronicles, Book 3)* by Herbie Brennan - tweens/young adult fantasy book review

Also by Herbie Brennan:

The Faerie Wars (The Faerie Wars Chronicles, Book 1)

Ruler of the Realm (The Faerie Wars Chronicles, Book 3)

Ruler of the Realm (The Faerie Wars Chronicles, Book 3)
by Herbie Brennan
Grades 7-9 432 pages Bloomsbury USA October 2006 Hardcover    

Ruler Of The Realm is Herbie Brennan's third book in The Faerie Wars Chronicles, and this book certainly lives up to the high expectations that readers of the first two novels, Faerie Wars and The Purple Emperor, will have. It's an excellent and absorbing story that fans of fantasy novels (and even some people who aren't particular fans of fantasy) will certainly enjoy.

When the story starts, Holly Blue has only just been crowned Queen, but she's sure to do an excellent job ruling the Faerie Realm with help from colorful characters such as Madame Cardui and Gatekeeper Fogarty. There is one person she'd like to see, though: Henry, who is in the Analogue world with his family - and wondering if his time in the Realm was even real, or just the product of an overactive imagination and a lot of stress.

For help in ruling the Realm, Blue visits the Spicemaster to consult with an Oracle. She receives a slightly cryptic warning there: to beware of someone close to her. If only Oracles weren't so vague, that certainly could have been helpful.

When Lord Hairstreak sends Blue a message offering negotiations with the Faeries of the Night, she feels she can't trust anyone else to go and investigate her motives. She takes Flapwazzle, an endolg who can detect lies, with her and visits Hairstreak's mansion. She does not, however, return on schedule.

Hairstreak isn't the one who whisks her away, though; she and Henry seem to disappear in front of several witnesses, including Holly's brother, Pyrgus. Their disappearance could have huge consequences; before she left to visit Hairstreak, the Queen initiated a Countdown. In three days, the Faeries will go to war.

Fans of the first two books won't want to miss Ruler of the Realm. Even those who haven't read Herbie Brennan's Faerie Wars and The Purple Emperor might enjoy this book. It may be fantasy, but even people who think they don't like fantasy will enjoy it. This novel is full of adventure, fantasy, faeries, demons, and more, but it also deals with problems that many teenagers - faerie or human - deal with. There's even a bit of romance thrown into the mix.

Herbie Brennan is a master at creating a story that feels even more real to those reading it than reality. The characters are quite believable; to use a rather overused phrase, they step right off the page. The story, while impossible and unrealistic, is told so well that readers will believe it is actually possible to step through a portal and into the Faerie world, at least while this fantastic book is in their hands.

Ruler of the Realm is one of the best fantasy novels I've read this year, and there have been plenty of good ones! Fans of Holly Black and Tamora Pierce should enjoy The Faerie Wars Chronicles. Even if you've never heard of those authors, however, you'd do well to pick up one of Herbie Brennan's books.

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