Knife {No Ordinary Fairy Tale, Book 1} by R.J. Anderson


KnifeReviewPaperback | July 21, 2015 | Enclave Publishing

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Why this book…

My fascination with this series began when I spotted the cover of Arrow (book #3, due out April 15th, 2016) on twitter. Several weeks later I listened to an interview with the author which solidified my desire to read this series. Two things about the interview with R.J. Anderson stuck out to me. First was how she spoke about being a Christian and writing for the general market as opposed to the Christian fiction market. Second, was the mention of how her faery books have gained a following amongst young boys in the UK. The first made the series a candidate for review on my Christian book review blog, while the second caused me wonder if my own son would enjoy the series. I’m always looking for books that will challenge his reading level without exceeding his maturity level.

My Thoughts

From the creative mind of R.J. Anderson comes a children’s fantasy novel that will challenge everything you ever thought you knew about fairies. I’ve always pictured fairies as nature loving and sweetly mischievous creatures, so I was surprised by the darker undertones of the novel. Knife presents a realm of fairies who lost their magic in an event known as the Sundering. Fearing they would be unprotected, the Queen issued an edict forbidding all but a select few to have interaction with the outside world. In their seclusion, they’ve become irritable, unkind, and self-serving. Instead of working in community with one another, they barter to get what they need. Adding to the misery is an illness that threatens to wipe out their entire population. Out of the mayhem emerges an inquisitive, brave, and somewhat rebellious heroine named Knife. Defying the Queen, she fosters a friendship with a human and with his help, Knife labors to uncover the mystery of the Sundering and seek a cure for the Silence.

As an adult, I found the story to be both creative and intriguing. Some of the content gave me pause, but overall I enjoyed the mystery as it unraveled. I felt that out of the darkness came a message about the transformative power of love and the strength of friendships born out of hardship.

{SPOILER ALERT: I’ve never intentionally included a spoiler, but in effort to provide a clear and accurate review of this title for parents seeking reading material for their children, the following paragraph contains spoilers.}

I chose Knife with our 10 year old son in mind and I feel obliged to help other parents make an informed decision in regards to age appropriateness of this title. The AR Program our local schools use denotes this as a middle grade (MG 5-8) or ATOS Book Level 6.2 title. Personally,  I feel this book is better suited for high school aged readers (15+). My hesitation stems from one character’s attempt at self harm/suicide. A topic we will bridge at some point — just not right now. The absence of male fairies and the explanation of how more fairies come to be is a bit convoluted (egg laying or breeding with humans) and perhaps more appropriate for older readers.


I am grateful to Enclave Publishing for providing me with a review copy of this title. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own. 

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