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When Fairies Go Bad: 10/17/21

When Fairies Go Bad

When Fairies Go Bad by Ursula Vernon is the seventh of the Dragonbreath novels. Mushrooms have popped up in the Dragonbreath yard and Danny's mother makes the mistake of stepping on one and not removing the others. That night she's kidnapped by the Fae so Danny and Wendell have to take the bus to Faerie to save her.

I love the conceit that a particular bus can take people to alternate universes or through time as needed. This time it's not a direct route. The transfer point gives a few pages to glimpse at an unnamed but well described Oz. It's a place where houses fall from the sky and then take off again; where faded yellow bricks wend their way through menacing cornfields.

As the blurb says, the Fae Danny and Wendell go against are not Tinkerbell. They are devious and maliciously compliant. Everything off the road is a threat. Everything on the road is doing its best to get them off the road.

Danny and Wendell while often distracted and goofy, manage to stay on task for this one. They know the stakes are high and they remain focused. They have a similar wariness as Tiffany Aching in Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (2003). But there's also a similar creepiness in the form of forest as threat as the author's recent adult horror, The Hollow Places (T. Kingfisher, 2020).

Progression of Dragonbreath books through the Road Narrative Spectrum

As with the previous six novels, When Fairies Go Bad sits on the Road Narrative Spectrum. Once again, Danny and Wendell are marginalized travelers (66). Their destination is utopia (FF), though not the one they first arrive at. Their route is once again the Blue Highway (33), namely the road taken by the bus. As this is one is a marginalized traveler going to utopia via the Blue Highway (66FF33), it's the highest journey on the spectrum so far for these two — but still straddling the line between horror and fantasy.

The eighth book is Nightmare of the Iguana (2013).

Five stars

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