Book Review: FAIRIES IN MY FIREPLACE (2013) by R. L. Naquin
In Short: Zoey is suddenly overrun by magical creatures – but why?
As I inched across the roof of my house, the harpy nestled against my chimney regarded me with suspicion. I’d have to let her stay there, but the mailman could be coming up the street soon. With all the weird things he’d already caught glimpses of on my property, I didn’t think he’d go for some half-assed explanation that she was a Halloween decoration Especially since it was April.
Fairies in my Fireplace is the third book in the Monster Haven series. In the stories, Zoey Donovan has discovered that she is an “Aegis,” a human who provides care and shelter for non-human beings (“the Hidden”) in need, and is now learning all of the nuances of both her powers and responsibilities.
This installment focuses on a gradual but noticeable influx of Hidden into Zoey’s life, house, backyard, etc. Most of these Hidden seem to have separate and good reasons for being there, but the numbers are adding up. When two goblin kids start a census of the new population, Zoey discovers both that there are far more Hidden in her yard than she thought, and that there is a migration of the Hidden westward to California.
While working on figuring out the root cause for this migration (and giving a mangey hellhound a bath), a tranq’ed-up thunderbird crashes the party and Zoey’s car. With the tranquilizer dart as a direct clue, Zoey suddenly now has a possible motive, and the action begins. She is a woman on a mission to discover and thwart the bad guys, save the Hidden, and maybe figure out where her long-disappeared mother has gone, as well. Zoey relies on Riley, her boyfriend and Grim Reaper, to be her back-up muscle and arm candy disguise as they infiltrate the high society of Sausalito. Her best friend and co-worker Sara helps keep her organized, Andrew the herbalist helps heal the wounded, and Maurice the closet monster keeps everyone fed.
As Naquin matures as an author, I find the moods and pacing in her third book much more well-measured. Where Book 1 (Monsters in my Closet) was two-thirds a beach book and one-third frantic, and Book 2 (Pooka in My Pantry) vacillated between whodunit and pulpy slapstick, this one has a classic shape that crested nicely. The book opens lightly but with concern, deepens into mystery, builds to the chase and fight, and closes with triumph and tragedy back where Zoey started: with solid focus on care taking of her creatures.
In all, Fairies in my Fireplace is a highly enjoyable outing in an ever-improving Urban Fantasy series. If you’re a fan of the genre, you’ll definitely want to give R. L. Naquin and her Monster Haven novels a try.
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