Release date: 2009 UK
Target audience: 10+
No ordinary fairytale...
Knife woke in a cold sweat, the torn edge of her wing sizzling with pain. How long had she lain unconscious? Her worst fears had come to pass: she was trapped, flightless a prisoner. The humans had put her in a box, and now they had come to torment her ...
As the blurb says, Knife is not a fairytale. It happens to be a story about a faery who is unlike any faery I've ever read about. She is a strong-willed heroine and at times even a little savage. Knife lives with a colony of faeries who each have roles to fulfil within their community. Knife dreams of being a Gatherer and going outside of the Oak which is home to the colony. Knife unlike the other faeries is not afraid of the outside world. She is insatiably curious, particularly when it comes to the humans. However, all the faeries are vulnerable as they have lost their magic and a fatal disease is slowing killing members of the colony. Knife is told it has something to do with the humans. However, as Knife observes the humans, she begins to doubt this and she realises that they are not like the other animals outside.
Anderson has created an entirely believeable world inside the Oak. The faeries have a society based on trading skills and knowledge. One of the most beautiful things about the book is the way we are able to see the human world from Knife's faery sized viewpoint. Anderson also deals with the issue of disability and low self-esteem sensitively and this gives the novel depth.
Knife is a delightful book that left me believing there must be faeries at the bottom of my garden. But it also left me with more than just a feeling, it inspired me to be creative. It reminded me about the wonder of humanity. Overall, there is no doubt in my mind that this is a story to be enjoyed by all. Children will love Knife's disobedient and rebellious side. Adults will have the playful child inside themselves reawakened. I can't believe I'm going to give another book five stars so soon, but this book is something truly special.