Strangeness and Charm by Mike Shevdon

This is the third in the Courts of the Feyre series. Somehow despite enjoying the previous books I have managed to leave this book unread for a year. It was one of those books that I happened to get when I had a few other must read books in front of me. It got shoved to the back of the queue and it was only when I saw a review of the latest in the series that I realized I’d completely forgotten about this book. I’m glad I finally got round to reading it and I fully intend to read the next book sooner rather than later.

Mike Shevdon has a great knack for finding really interesting and obscure British rituals and traditions and combining them with folklore and a compelling story. In this story it got to the point where I had no idea where the real portions ended and the fictional parts started. I found this book to be very easy to read and utterly charming in tone and style. One of the parts I could really relate to was the frustration of being a parent to a teenager. On one hand you want to let them learn from their own mistakes, but at the same time you want to make sure that your own failures are not repeated. Whatever you do is wrong and you can’t prevent the tension. This isn’t just a coming of age story though. There are some things that are obviously going to be carried in to the next book in the series. I like the way that the main character Niall still manages to be a bit of a whinger despite all that has happened to him. This book is fine to read as a stand-alone novel, but you will find yourself going back and buying the first two.

There is a section at the back of the book explaining the real life significance for some of the ritual ceremonies mentioned in the story and I found this really interesting so don’t just stop at the acknowledgements. There are goodies afterwards.

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