Title: The Seelie Princess
Author: Jill Turner
Genre: Children’s Fantasy
To be perfectly honest, I knew I was going to love this book from the moment I read the synopsis. Who doesn’t love a good faerie story, let’s be honest? Jill Turner does a fantastic job of weaving together old folk tales with a modern setting and with characters I had no trouble relating to almost immediately.
Clary, the main character, is a sweet little girl who I was mentally cheering for from the get go. She seems like a very ordinary child, even though it’s plainly evident from the events surrounding her that she is far from that, and her fragile humanity makes her such a fantastic character. She seems unable to protect herself through much of the book, mostly because of her young age I think, and as a reader you feel a very real sense of danger at her back throughout.
This is permeated by the very focal presence of her nasty teacher, Mrs De’ath, who while often comical in her attempts to sabotage Clary, is still a quite frightening antagonist. Her utter ruthlessness doesn’t become completely apparent until the second half of the book, but even without that I found her a well-written character that I think will resound with anyone who has had to deal with an unpleasant teacher at school. After all, as a child, what can you do if a teacher hounds your steps? It’s a cleverly written plot point, so I have to take my hat off to the author for that.
The magic of the tale is really beautifully scattered into the story, too. It’s subtle, but lends a sense of wonder to the whole set up. All of the supporting characters are wonderful too, and it’s interesting the way the perspectives swapped from that of a helpless child, to the almost equally helpless magical beings. The only one who seemed able to make any real difference was Clary’s mother, a particular favourite character for me.
I think this is wonderful story for older children to read and have on their bookshelves. It teaches a very important lesson about dealing with bullies and making friends, and I can’t wait to give a copy to my niece. It’s a very comforting read, even for adults, but I think any child who is suffering with bullies at school would feel very akin to this story, and to Clary, too. What lonely little girl doesn’t dream of being a fairy princess, after all?