This is a (light grim)dark Fae book with a bit of an Arthurian background. It’s the first in The Knights’ Protocol trilogy and is a solid start to a new trilogy.
As a warning, this book does contain brief scenes of the following: graphic violence, attempted M/M rape, and off-screen M/F rape (we hear about it but do not see it).
Robin Goodfellow is a fairy currently living in the human realm. Sure, he’s been exiled from the fairy realm for centuries, but he’s learned to love his new home. He lives a peaceful, boring life–that is until he hears a teen crying out for help. The teen is being attacked by spriggans (creatures from tir na nÓg); as a Trooping Fairy (essentially a soldier), Robin cannot ignore the cries for help.
He soon learns of a plot for the Fae in the Dark Court to attack the human realm, breaking the already thin trust with the Light Court. Their first goal is to get rid of the Knights, twin brother and sister Robin has sworn to protect (but really is doing a bad job). The twins come from a line whose purpose is to fight and defeat the fairies.
There are three perspectives throughout the novel, all in 1st person. We have Robin, as described above. There’s also Keir, a dark-skinned hybrid fairy who lives in tir na nÓg as a servant in the Dark Court. Finally, we have Filidea, a princess of the Light Court whose grandmother, Nimue, is the Lady of the Lake.
The book does a very good job of making each perspective unique and their personalities distinctive. It does very well with fleshing out each of the characters and making them seem real. Each of them is going through their own struggles.
- Robin has to find a way to protect the Knights (who are just teens) and stop Llyr, prince of the Dark Court, from killing them and attacking the humans full force.
- Keir has been secretly training and befriending a wyvern behind everyone’s backs until it is discovered and he is brutally punished. The wyvern is sent through the portal to the human realm. A high-ranking soldier promotes Keir to be her page and decides she wants him to illegally sneak into the human realm to bring the wyvern back.
- Filidea is the only person who can continue on the royal bloodline. Her grandmother is attempting to marry her off. Meanwhile, she and her friend have been studying about dragons. They learn that Sibeal, the woman who initiated a dragon breeding/training program, has been locked up against her will in the Light Court. They decide to try and rescue her.
The standout minor characters for me would be:
- Oisin, Robin’s past lover. We catch little flashbacks of his and Robin’s past relationship throughout the book. They show the changes both of them have gone through and add in depth to the two characters.
- Nimue, Filidea’s grandmother. She’s an extremely stubborn old woman with a habit of doing things no matter what the cost.
In my opinion, there were no bad characters. The Knights, Brea and Finn, could get a little annoying at times. However, they were teenagers. Their views and actions made sense, given the life they’d been living. Unfortunately, though, they were the weakest characters for me. While not completely flat, compared with the others, they can appear a little two-dimensional at times. (Just as a side note: They do improve in the sequels.)
I’d say out of everything, there’s really only some minor issues with the pacing. (There are also a few scattered typos throughout the book, but those are easily ignored.) At times it can feel as though nothing is happening in terms of plot, character development, or world-building. For the most part, the writing sits in the background, letting the characters and the world shine through.
This is definitely a book to check out if you like dark and/or Fae fantasy. One thing I very much appreciated about the book is how it showed the almost backward nature of the fairy realm while clearly condemning it. For example, Keir is treated as lesser simply because of his skin and family history.
Does this book completely turn the genre on its head? No. However, it does present a different enough take on the genre to help it stand out in a sea of others. I don’t think it will be for everyone, but I do think many people will find it enjoyable. The Bastard From Fairyland is a hidden gem you should give a chance.
[I was sent a digital copy of the book by the author in exchange for an honest review.]