Yolen weaves a tale about a thirteen-year-old named Gorse, who happens to be the thirteenth and youngest child in a family of fairies known as the Shouting Fey. They are called this because the most gifted among them are able to produce a guttural sound that can literally move mountains. Gorse has been kept innocent and ignorant of the family secret, which is that the fey have been kept captive by a promise made hundreds of years ago. They are bound to do whatever they are summoned to do by royalty. Fey cannot break their promises or they will burst into thousands of stars. There are signs that Gorse may be the promised one that can release the fey from their bondage.
Just as the family is summoned to bless a new princess, Gorse becomes extremely ill. If she does not arrive to give her blessing as promised, her entire family could burst into thousands of stars. On her way to the castle, she falls into a deep cave, where she finds even deeper family secrets. She must find her way out of the cave, at the same time helping other fey relatives to regain their freedom.
In the course of her journey, Gorse develops her ability to cast spells using her “shout”. She finds a creative way to break down the magical door that holds her and others in the cave, and devises a clever spell with which to “bless” the princess and the other royalty with sleep for 100 years, so that her family’s promise is kept and they are able to regain their freedom. This was an extremely creative story based on the timeless values of keeping promises and loyalty to family, combined with the modern values of the power of creativity and of the female mind, that pre-teens are bound to enjoy.
Published November 2012 by Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Boks
For children ages 10 and up
256 pages * $16.99 hardcover * ISBN 978-0399256646
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