There are faeries everywhere – but not all can see them …

The Thirteen Treasures by Michelle Harrison

The debut novel from this young author is full of proper faeries, the kind with an ‘e’ from British folklore. They’re there right from the beginning, when Tanya’s faery tormentors decide how to make her day – not! For fourteen year old Tanya has second sight – she can see faeries, and knows the mischief they usually cause, and how they make her life very difficult indeed. So much so, that she’s packed off to stay with her grandmother so her unsuspecting mother can get a rest.

Her grandmother lives in a crumbling old mansion with stern groundsman/housekeeper Warwick, his odd son Fabian and his father Amos who is aged and mad. The mansion is full of locked rooms and is rumoured to have secret passages throughout, it is also full of mostly maelevolent faeries who block up the drains, switch sugar for salt and the like. Then at the bottom of the garden are Hangman’s Woods where a fourteen year old girl went missing fifty years ago…

So much happens in this novel, and I don’t want to give the plot away. I read it in one sitting carried along with the adventures of Tanya and Fabian as they explore the house and investigate the old mystery. I did like the folkloric faeries – the tales of the faery courts and changelings; encounters with goblins, brownies and more built into the plot. I would have liked to slow down occasionally so I could enjoy them more, but there were so many elements to get through to reach the end.

Parts did remind me strongly of the Spiderwick Chronicles, (I’ve only seen the film of that though), but if you’ve seen or read that, you would enjoy this novel for 10+yrs. It was fun and easy to read, if a little self-conscious at the beginning, but once the action picked up there was no time for such analysis – you had to stay with Tanya and the little critters to see what would happen next. (7/10)

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