When we think of fairy tales, most of us might imagine Disney movies or Goldilocks and her three bears. I must admit that when I think of fairy tales, I recall the old legends of the faeries in the Seelie and Unseelie courts and the mischief they got up to. Holly Black’s book The Modern Faerie Tales is a perfect call back to the old Scottish origins and the mysterious underpinnings of the magic world.
The book contains three separate stories rolled into one, a sort of three-act tale about two (mostly) human heroines and their unexpected forays into the way of the faeries. Tithe kicks off the novel with Kaye, an independent, strong, and music-loving girl living in New Jersey with her mother and grandmother. Since her childhood, what she thinks of as strange imaginary friends have followed her around and kept her company, getting her into small scrapes along the way. Kaye used to think that these friends were her only connection to the extraordinary, but now she is not so sure.
In Valiant, teenage Valerie stumbles into an eerie underground world of runaways, goblins, and magical potions. When things start getting out of hand, she can’t help but get involved with her new friends’ dangerous activities, hoping to save them from themselves. As love grows into a driving force, Valerie stands up to beings much more powerful than her, all in the name of courage.
Ironside brings us back to the Unseelie court, where Kaye and the new king Roiben enjoy their romance. Feeling out of place and jealous among court life, Kaye is determined to prove herself and her worth. Unfortunately, this means being assigned a quest that’s impossible to complete in the hopes of one day seeing her love again.
Each part feels like a perfect combination of a contemporary New Adult story with the magical flair of fantasy. If you’re looking to find a new kind of story or branch your way into a new genre, I can’t recommend The Modern Faerie Tales enough!