Some people might think that stories about fairies are childish and silly and possibly inconsequential. Not so, the fey of Michelle Harrisons 13 Treasures books. They are dark and scary, tricksy and all too real.
With Michelle’s last book, Unrest, it looked like she was turning her back on her younger readers for something that was sheer terror to the bravest of adults and all the more brilliant for it. So when it was announced that her next book was to be a return to the 13 Treasures world ‘for younger readers’ and not just that but a prequel involving the story of Tanya younger than she was in the first, original, and award-winning book from 2009, I really was wondering what to expect, and how this could possibly work.
This book is not just a story for younger readers, it is a story for readers of every age, and it doesn’t hold back. When Tanya Fairchild arrives in Spinney Wicket she can already see fairies, and she learns that she has the second sight so is not so surprised when she encounters the Wishing Tree who delights in speaking in rhyme and wordplay. When she meets Ratty, she gets up in an adventure that is dark and dangerous and has lessons for us all about the importance of imagination, creativity, and the sense of self. As I read this book, whilst understandably gripped by the story, I also found myself nodding to the genuine insight into how life is, and found myself wanting to quote this line, and that phrase. A prequel to Tanya’s story, yes, but an adventure that in no way could have been written first.
Oh, and it’s also a book that might, just might, get children eating their Brussel sprouts!
One Wish is published by Simon & Schuster UK on 5 June 2014
ISBN 9781471121654 | 352 pages | List Price £6.99