This is an imaginative modern fairy tale that successfully combines traditional fairy story elements with a contemporary realism and a familiar setting, that of London’s parks. Seven years after her mother’s disappearance Rowan cries herself to sleep under a weeping beech tree in Hyde Park and awakes to find herself transformed into a tiny Tree Fairy, Rowan Oakwing. Aided by fellow Tree Fairy, Aiken, and a talking robin, Harold, Rowan learns how to manage her new abilities, follows clues to find her mother, finds allies amongst the Fairies of the Birds and Deer and makes a powerful enemy in Vulpes, Lord of the Fairies of the Fox.
Rowan is a brave, sympathetic heroine, definitely a feisty fairy character. There is plenty of action and excitement, involving flying, pursuits, battles and shape-shifting and a satisfyingly detailed fairy tale realm linked to locations that many readers will recognise. Rowan’s feelings of loss and sadness run through the story and add a fitting touch of darkness and danger to the humour and adventure. In this first novel, E J Clarke sends his character off on her quest and sets the scene for a series that should appeal to readers who like their fairy tales to have a modern twist.