Book Review: Trailer Park Fae by Lilith Saintcrow

A review copy was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Trailer Park FaeTrailer Park Fae by Lilith Saintcrow

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Book 1 of Gallow and Ragged

Publisher: Orbit (June 23, 2015)

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Mogsy’s Rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

It’s tough admitting when a book doesn’t work for me, and in the case of Trailer Park Fae I find this even more difficult to do considering the high hopes I had for it. To complicate matters, I can’t even really fault the book itself, because the writing superb and the story has it dark charms. However, it just felt like I was sold one thing by the title, cover and description, but received something altogether different instead.

First, a bit of background about the book: one of the main characters is the half-human-half-Sidhe Jeremiah Gallow, former Armormaster and close confidante to Summer, Queen of the Seelie Court. He’s left that life behind him now though, making his living as just another construction worker in the mortal world. He also just recently lost his beloved wife Daisy, and every day he mourns her still. Enter our other main protagonist, Robin Ragged, another half-Sidhe looking for a place to lie low after narrowly escaping the agents of the Unseelie Court. When Jeremiah first lays eyes on Robin in the bar he frequents, he is shocked by how much she resembles his dead wife, prompting the protective instincts to kick in.

But aiding her also means being dragged back into the world of magic and danger, where Summer and Unwinter are in a constant war. A plague ravages the Seelie Court and the Unseelie are the main suspects for unleashing it. Robin has been tasked as the courier to deliver the cure, but she is no friend of Summer, feeling bitter towards the Seelie queen for stealing away and imprisoning Robin’s adopted child Sean. Then of course, there’s also the free Sidhe, represented by their clever yet mischievous leader, a Fae known as Puck…

Despite its eye-catching description and shades of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Trailer Park Fae is one dark book. And unfortunately, what’s on the surface does not match what’s beneath. When I first picked it up, I admit the book’s bold electrifying cover and its quirky little title led me to expect another light urban fantasy with a good dose of humor and maybe a little snark, so I was disappointed to find little to none at all. Instead, the story is a lot more somber and grave, with a little heartbreak thrown in to boot. Normally, this isn’t something I would mind, and it’s certainly not the first time I’ve ever started a book only to discover it is completely different than I thought it would be. I’ve rolled with the punches before, but switching gears in this case was a lot harder for a couple reasons.

First of all, the writing isn’t exactly light on the eyes, with scattered sections that would slip into the formal style, reflecting the courtly speak of the Sidhe-folk. As you can probably guess, this didn’t really make for an easy read, even though I credit the prose for being very well-structured and beautifully written. Second, even if I had been in the mood for a book like this, I don’t know how well it would have worked for me. Very little happened for the first hundred pages, making it a real challenge to engage with the story and characters. There were some nice twists towards the middle and the end, but regretfully, I still didn’t feel invested enough at that point to experience their full impact.

I should point out though, that there are actually lots of fantastic and very unique ideas in here. Lilith Saintcrow’s portrayal of the Fae is wonderful and complex, painting them as creatures of mischief and malice, incorporating myths about changelings at the same time. Then there’s putting the Fae in the context of trailer parks, dive bars, and greasy diners – a creative concept that hooked me as soon as I saw it. Both Jeremiah and Robin have some nifty powers at their disposal as well, with the former possessing tattoos on his arms that can transform into a weapon, and the latter with the ability to create objects with strong, lasting enchantments.

I wish I had enjoyed this book more, and not least because I feel it’s partly my fault for being misled by the tone suggested by its cover and title. Yes, I’m a mood reader, and I thought this book would be the rollicking urban fantasy I needed at the time, yet it turned out to be just the opposite. As I noted though, I had issues with this book that went deeper, so I’m not sure how I would have liked it even if I had been prepared for its much weightier tone and style. If you’re not sure that this one would be for you, I recommend reading a sample before taking the plunge.


12 Comments on “Book Review: Trailer Park Fae by Lilith Saintcrow”

  1. Yeah, that jaunty title font definitely leads me to think of humorous UF! I wasn’t approved for this title and I really wanted to read it, but I like your suggestion of trying a sample first. I may do that!


    • Definitely try a sample first, because it’s definitely not jaunty 🙂 That’s a bit of what I was expecting and I was quite surprised when it turned out to be very different.


  2. Oh no, I’m sorry that it wasn’t what you were expecting at first. I don’t see a lot of good reviews and I’m sad because I bought the book hoping it would be awesome… I’ll surely read it but now I’m anxious…


    • Yeah, I should have read the reviews before tackling it to know that it was going to be different than what I expected. But I’m glad I read it anyway, because it was on my list!


  3. I was looking forward to reading ‘Trailer Park Fae’ and expecting snarky uf just like you. I’m glad I stumbled into your review so I can change my expectations. I think I will probably still give it a shot since I love the urban fae setting…


    • If you love Fae, then you should still give this a try. Yep, just adjust your expectations for something more dark and weighty, because it’s definitely not conventional snarky UF.


  4. I think you were looking for something more like the White Trash Zombie books or Kate Daniels when you talk about expecting snark and humor, but I agree that I would have expected the same based off of the cover and description. I’m curious based off of what you described but since I am definitely a moody reader I will have to wait a bit. I just pushed myself through Cinder and knew I shouldn’t. I didn’t like it but I think it had a lot to do with my mood as well. Great job at giving a fair review


    • Yeah, I expected more “traditional” UF in the same vein as the big series out there, and the cover and description were both misleading. If you’re in the mood for something darker and more serious though, it could be a good urban fae book.

      Liked by 1 person

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