Generally, I avoid books featuring fae, finding them too often derivative or pollyannish.
Mississippi Missing, an urban fantasy laced with fae, came as rather a surprise. It neither demanded I know everything about the entire fairy world. Nor assuming I share a fan’s devotion to the intricacies of Welsh, Scottish, and whatever-all-esle mythologies. Sure, a few terms were tossed around, like Seelie, but were grounded so a neophyte to the Seelie court, like me, felt comfortable.
The heroine is, in fact, a recently converted human, a water nymph, swimming rivers, learning about her new place in the world. And teaching the reader of the world as she finds out. (A bit more complex than that, but it works like this.)
This same with the magic system, which was delightfully refreshing, built upon music, of all genera, instrumental, a capella, and combined. Granted, if I knew what a major seventh was, I would have heard scenes better, but I was never lost in the musical terms. They seem more flavoring, adding to the way the magic of Engelhardt’s world works. Which flowed easily between soft magic and, when need be, hard enough I didn’t feel cheated by a bit of Deus-Ex-Machina.
Tention and Comraderie
There were nicely tense set-pieces when encountering spirits far older and more powerful than the protagonist Mary. There were long stretches with Mary bonding with two companions, Julia, a mage hungry were-jaguar, and Kresimir, a frog prince with a flaming crown.
The story pulled me along, at times tense, leaving me to wonder what would happen, other times more philosophical. A step or three up from most fae stories I’ve read.
The soundtrack (Apple Music and Spotify) was nice to read to. Overall, an enjoyable trip through the hidden worlds of the fae, here, in the 21st century, North America. Mostly. Swiming along the Ohio, Des Moines, and Mississippi river valleys.
Find it here, on Amazon. Mississippi Missing (Fifth Mage War) I have no idea what the first four Mage Wars were. Nor did I need to in order enjoy this story.