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Friday, 22 April 2011

Review: The 13 Secrets

Author: Michelle Harrison

Release date: 3rd Feb 2011 UK
Genre: Fantasy
Target audience: 9+
UK Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Summary from Amazon:

Red is now living at Elvesden Manor under her real name, Rowan, and trying to put her past behind her. But staying on the straight and narrow isn't as easy as she had hoped...Hounded by fairy messengers who are trying to convince her to participate once more in the changeling trade, Rowan is haunted by dreams of the Hedgewitch's cottage and the chained-up Eldritch, who threatens revenge against her. Her past is about to catch up with her - can Tanya and Fabian prevent it consuming her altogether?


The Thirteen Secrets in the third and final instalment in Michelle Harrison’s Thirteen series set in the sinister, fantastical world of faeries and in a contemporary English countryside town.

This novel brings together the two stories that were weaved in the first two novels. Tanya is trying to come to a deeper understanding of what it means to have the second sight and a fey guardian. Rowan is trying to lead a normal life and leave the past behind her. But, of course, both girls have unfinished business with the faery world.

Rowan has been having terrifying nightmares. She is riddled with guilt over her decision to leave a fey man chained in the cellar of the Hedgewitch’s cottage. To compensate for her guilt and manage her fear, she has been using every defence against the faeries that she can think of. Since the events of the previous October, she has been fostered by Florence and has a home at Elvesden Manor. She is even going to school with Fabian and has realised that she wants to be a normal teenager. But through her dreams, she knows her past is about to catch up with her and place the people she cares about in grave danger.

Tanya has returned to Elvesden for the summer holiday. She is pleased to be back even though there have been changes in her absence. I liked that Tanya was happy to have Rowan as a part of the extended family and not resent her for being able to live with people that knew about the fey world. It would have been easy for her to be resentful and obnoxious but she is just glad her friend is no longer alone. Tanya is immensely likable – she is courageous, stubborn and caring.

This novel is full of action – think the drawing of battle lines. There are twists and turns, bluffs and double bluffs. Michelle Harrison kept me guessing about who was worthy of the characters’ trust until the very end. It made for gripping reading. The Thirteen Secrets is about just that: secrets. It explores how keeping the truth to yourself only leads to more lies and more trouble. The circus was a perfect representation of this idea. It made fey magic appear glamorous, made disguises seem desirable and portrayed the idea that seeing isn’t always believing. Talk about clever!

The Thirteen Secrets gives a fast paced, expertly plotted and magical end to the series. Harrison conveys everything troubling about the faery world and all the sinister dealings that the creatures dabble in. It is dark, twisty and unpredictable. I recommend this to readers who love faery stories not fairy stories. Great for girls and boys aged 9+.

Thanks to Simon and Schuster for sending the book to review.

Read for the British Books Challenge 2011

1 comment:

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

I know I'm a big girl, but I really want to read this series! It sounds incredibly fun and intene, and I just love the covers!