Tor, Jul 2004, 24.95, 304 pp.
In Breakwater, California, thirteen year old Alison “Ali” Warner knows her protests against the cutting down of trees means nothing to the lumber industry, but feels she must do so anyway. After Ali buys a sub to take with her on her trek up the mountainside, three foot Paddy O'Connell accosts her trying to sell her all sorts of items that he obviously has no idea what they do. She says no, but gives him her sandwich only to realize later that he picked her pocket stealing her money.
On the mountain, monsters attack Ali, who finds shelter only to have cave-in trap her. She barely escapes, but soon learns why she has become the focus of weird beings who want her dead. Ali has learned her heritage from her deceased mother is that she is a fairy princess whose two worlds are in peril from dwarves and elves. Besides that threat, if she wants to gain her fairy powers, which she needs to survive, she must pass the tests of seven deadly challenges and meet head-on the Kings of the Dwarves and Elves.
This engaging coming of age fantasy is targeted towards the Harry Potter crowd. Ali is a delightful protagonist who feels obligated to help improve life around her so makes the ideal teen to take on the mantle of saving two realms. Though the tale slows down in between major events (feels padded perhaps to have enough pages for the advertised older crowd), young readers will enjoy the antics of the younger Buffy-like heroine.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner