Except the Queen was a pleasure. After my initial doubts in the first short chapters, I settled in for a beguiling story. In the beginning...
Serana and Medeora are beautiful Fae sisters who have all of the Fae tendencies for mischief. One day the two sisters learn a secret about the Fairy Queen and realize their own danger. Although they intend to keep the secret (and their own safety), the secret slips out, and the Queen banishes them instantly.
Serana and Medeora are exiled into our world, but what comes as an even greater shock: they are no longer young and beautiful. In the human world, the sisters are old and fat, and they have lost their magic and each other. Not only did the Queen banish them, but she separated them as well. They try to figure out the human world which mystifies them in so many ways; they mourn the loss of the Greenwood; and most of all, each sister longs for the companionship of the other.
Being dispossessed of youth, beauty, companionship, magic, and familiar surroundings creates an interesting premise, but things get even better as Medeora and Serana discover a secret threat to both this world and the world of Fairy. Perhaps the banishment has put them in the right place at the right time.
The narrative moves from one sister to the other (and I found Medeora's sections the most involving). Each sister forms attachments and finds kindness in unexpected places. Some of the curious characters include Baba Yaga, a small tribe of Changelings, a young girl troubled by nightmares (and a tattoo with sinister power), a young man who wants to escape the powers of evil that have haunted his life, a kind grocer, a helpful Jack.
Two rather selfish and arrogant Fae sisters discover within themselves compassion and concern for others as they learn to deal with life without their youthful beauty and magic. Finding strength and the courage of conviction, Medeora and Serana become totally engaging characters who band with others to defeat the evil that threatens two worlds.
If you like fairy tales or fantasy, I highly recommend this little novel that becomes more and more engrossing as the plot thickens and twists.
Fiction. Fairy Tale/Fantasy. 2010. 371 pages.