Ed. by Danielle Ackley-McPhail,
L. Jagi Lamplighter, Lee Hillman, Jeff Lyman
By Alyce Wilson
The editors of Bad-Ass Faeries have collected stories about
faeries much edgier than the sparkle-winged Tinkerbelles who dominate
popular culture, returning the reader to an earlier time, when faeries
were often seen as dark and menacing.
The stories are broken into different sections, featuring different
kinds of faeries, beginning with "Warrior Faeries": stories
about faeries on the war path, either against each other, against other
magical beings or even against humans. Outstanding among these tales
is the cyberpunk/faerie blend, "Cybernetic Assassin Faerie Hasballah"
by Adam P. Knave, a witty take on the hit-man tale.
In "Outlaw Faeries," writers show what happens when unwitting
aggressors cross the wrong faeries, as in Donald W. Schank's "A
Pressing Problem," where a publisher with the benighted idea of
creating a book of real pressed faeries finds a fitting end.
"Wild Faeries" introduces the reader to faeries who go their
own way, such as the Jesse Harris tale "Hidden in the Folds,"
a Chinese folktale, where a traveler encounters a demon-like faerie
in a temple and unwisely does his bidding. Editor L. Jagi Lamplighter's
contribution, "On Oberon's Throne" depicts the humorous consqeuences
when Puck takes the scepter for a day.
Faeries enter the underbelly of human society, sometimes slipping by
unnoticed, in the "Street Faeries" section, where readers
meet some faerie hybrids, such as a part human homeless teen in "Hollow
Dreams" by Elaine Corvidae. This section includes one of the most
bad-ass tales in the book, "At the Crossroads" by Danielle
Ackley-McPhail, which follows a half-faerie biker on a mission to rescue
his faerie lover.
Then there are the "Noir Faeries." In John Sunseri's "Down
These Mean Streets a Faerie Must Go," a faerie appropriately named
Marlowe acts as a hard-boiled detective, investigating the faked suicide
of a fellow faerie.
A sense of humor dominates in this collection, and many of the stories
feature female protagonists, which is refreshing in fantasy, even if
that female is also a faerie.
Taken as a whole, Bad-Ass Faeries offers a fresh look at a pervasive
denizen of our mythological subconscious. Much as in Peter Pan,
the collection will leave the readers applauding, cheering, "I
believe in bad-ass faeries."
Rating: **** (Excellent)
Marietta Publishing, 2007: ISBN 1-892669-40-4