Wow. This is…I have no words for what this is. No single words, that is. I should be able to string together a lot of them to give some vague idea of what this is.
One thing I can say simply, though, is that I sure picked a doozy to finish up the challenge with! This was my pick for the last remaining challenge, #14, “Read a book about war.”
So, let’s start with a simple idea of what this book is about. It’s about a war in the fairy city of Ferrum, though the fairies aren’t fighting it: the gnomes and the tightropers are. Now, before I get to answering the question you’re undoubtedly asking yourself (i.e. “what the heck is a tightroper?”) let me first dispel a few misconceptions you’re undoubtedly harboring. First off, that image you’ve got in your mind right now of Tinkerbell? Wipe it out. These fairies have no wings, naturally grow glitter in their skin (which flakes off like dandruff), and they’re immortal. So immortal, in fact, that they can never really die, and are fully capable of feeling any bits of them that become detached from their bodies (including that oft-falling glitter!) and even controlling those bits, if they’re large enough. So at the start of the book, the heroine Beckan takes her father with her everywhere, because he’s just an eye and an ear in a jar. And as to those gnomes, if you’re thinking of saccharine little garden statues with pointy hats and long beards, forget them. Forever. These gnomes are more like a cross between Tolkienian dwarves and Gollum, only with pointier teeth and long mole-claws for digging. And they love to eat fairy; nothing is more nourishing to a gnome than fairies, and even a small mouthful will support them for weeks. As to the tightropers…we never get a very clear description (because our very unreliable narrator already knows what they are and what they look like) but they seem to be very spindly people with a spider-like ability to produce “ropes” out of their mouths. (And yes, I know that’s not where the webbing comes out of a spider.)
As you may guess from that description, this book is set in a very unusual and rather disturbing world.