Sierra is a fairy keeper, but in this world that means caring for fairies that are really more like really moody honey bees. They are kept in hive-like structures and Sierra harvests their nectar for her abusive father to make into an illegal drug called flight. Sierra would love to escape with her sister Phoebe, but their father values the nectar too much to ever let her go.
Events come to a head when Sierra’s faeries drop dead and her queen (the lead fairy) disappears. Since her best friend and fellow fairy keeper Corbin has the same problem, they set off to find the missing Queens. Sierra’s father sends along one of his enforcers (Nell) to keep an eye on Sierra and he holds Phoebe hostage to ensure Sierra’s return. Sierra has a month to find her queen and return before Phoebe will be sold off to a business rival. Sierra has never liked her father’s business, but with her sister’s life at stake, she does not have much choice.
This work, like a lot of others, plugs gaps or slow places in the action narrative with love plot lines. It is not my favourite way to move from action sequence to action sequence, but it happens so frequently that I just have to get used to it. Unfortunately, this author was not able to weave the romance with the action very skillfully. I found the movement from one to another uncomfortable and a little shaky. There are also two romance plot lines going on simultaneously. Fortunately, no love triangle, but still too much kissing interspersed with the fantasy and action sequences.
The saving grace for this book is the portrayal of fairies as smaller, less intelligent, insect-like creatures. Take that Tolkien and your tall, beautiful and immortal elves! These fairies are stinging annoyances. I found that very amusing.
Aside from the neat world and premise, this book went by very quickly. The romance bits took up a lot of the pages so that the movement through the landscape and the final confrontation seemed hurried. I didn’t really enjoy the end of the book because it had come around so quickly, It really felt like I had just met a lot of these characters and now I had to say goodbye already.
Emotionally, the most impactful part was the conflict Sierra had between protecting herself and her sister and protecting her fairies from being exploited by her evil father. This read in parts like a realistic fiction book about abused children. I have never had that combined with fantasy in quite this way.
This books did not disappoint or inspire. I read it for the premise and that was what really stood out. Read if you like non-conventional fairy portrayal.