Title: Path of the Fairies
Author: Simona Huber
Genre: Historical Fiction
In Path of the Fairies, twin siblings Ariane and Silias join their father as they travel from the seaside to the mountain lands of Dacia. Along the way, they meet fascinating people and cultures that give them a new perspective on life and what they want from it, but will they accept their father’s offer to return to their home in Histria after a year away?
When Alexios, a widowed father of two, takes the opportunity to travel north to the Dacian mountains, he hopes for a better future for himself and his children. With two failed marriages leaving him somber and lonely, Alexios knows that the far journey is worth the risk of a better life. Ariane and Silias are coping with their mother’s death in different ways, but both are ready to start a new phase in their lives. They take the journey in stride and see it as an adventure.
Each chapter in Path of the Fairies is centered around a different “path” that our main characters take in their journey. Dividing the chapters in this way gives each one a clear focus. As the novel transitions from the characters’ travels to their settlement in the mountains and their experience with war, the “paths” serve as a device to capture the ambience and the mood of each phase in their journey. Though some readers may not be fond of the lengthy chapters, the novel’s structure benefits the story as a whole.
Path of the Fairies brings us back in time to an ancient civilization with a rich history and beautiful landscapes. Readers will have no trouble envisioning and understanding the foreign settings and cultures. Huber’s writing is descriptive, immersive, and atmospheric. From the seaside to plains, hillsides, and mountains, the changes in the landscapes feel natural and their imagery is vivid. Specifically in the first third of the novel, Ariane and Silias’ narrative voices allow readers to experience the book as observers, simply absorbing and being mesmerized by their surroundings.
The strongest element in the book is the character relationships. Each character has a distinct personality that jumps off the page. They are charming and charismatic in their own way, making it easy for readers to root for them. There are a few romantic scenes that are sweet, gentle, and will give any romance readers butterflies.
Silias is a quiet character, and by the end of the book, we don’t feel connected to him the way we do with the other characters. Though he wants to become a warrior, we don’t see much of him even as a war is brewing. In comparison to Ariane, who finds romance and sisterhood in their new home, Silias doesn’t have any specific relationships that are fleshed out. In addition, we don’t explore Ariane and Silias’ relationship deeply, which could have helped us understand Silias as a character more.
About two-thirds of the way through the book, specifically “The Home Path,” the story reached a bit of a rut. The battle plans and the unfolding of these battle scenes are a bit tedious to get through. Though the imagery is still strong, the highlight of the story, the element that raises the stakes most effectively are the interpersonal relationships.
Path of the Fairies is a novel full of adventure. Reading almost like a fantasy novel, Path of the Fairies’s high stakes, complex character relationships, and picturesque settings capture the sense of wonder and freedom from modern reality that readers of all ages yearn for. Don’t be intimidated by the high page count—Path of the Fairies reads like a breeze and will hold your attention every step of the way.
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