Throne

Throne - Phil Tucker Disclosure: The author of this book sent me a free kindle edition.Urban fantasy is extremely popular. You even have an HBO series. Of course, most Urban Fantasy is interchangeable. Get a pretty girl, add werewolf with a side of vampire. If you feel like spicy things up, add various weres (is there a were-camel yet?) with a side order of fairy or witch.There is some missing though. All these creatures have gone though the neutering process. Werewolves are just big fuzzy dogs, vampires lack canines, and fairies are cute lovable pixies. Even Tinkerbelle. At least, this is the way most creatures are in the modern urban fantasy novel.Earlier urban fantasy wasn’t as kissy-poo. Things had bite. I wouldn’t want to meet Dracula in a dark alley, (but sparkly vampire dude I can take in a fight). Emma Bull, Charles de Lint, and Tanya Huff wrote fantasy were even if the vampire, werewolf, fairy or whatever was the protagonist, the creature had a dark side.Philip Tucker writes in this older tradition, and this is a good thing.Tucker’s Throne is a story about two women involved in a conflict between the Seelie and UnSeelie fairy courts. Strongly reminiscent of War of the Oaks (perhaps the book is homage), Tucker’s book keeps the essence of folklore and fairy tales, and mixes it with spice of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.Is it a perfect novel? No, but the book is better than some Urban Fantasy that is released by big publishing houses and established writers. Throne alternates between the viewpoints of Maribel and Maya, two women in the city of New York who attract the attention of the courts. In fairness, the book does start slow, and the first chapter, at least in Kindle format, is slightly confusing because of the setting shifts (greater spacing or a font change would fix this problem). Once the characters start to really interact with the realm of fairy, the book takes off. In part, this is due to the well crafted supporting characters. This is particularly true, though is not confined to, Guillaume, who should have his own television series. The second reason why the book takes off is because both Maribel and Maya come more into their own, as if Tucker has realized that he has truly created “real” characters. So if you started reading this and gave up, give the book another chance.Here’s why. In the characters of the two women, Maya and Maribel, Tucker gives the dichotomy that exists in many fairy tales, most notably the characters of the step-mother and the witch in “Hansel and Gretel”. It makes more than a question of right and wrong, but of aspects of the soul and of humanity – the other, darker selves that fairy and folktales deal with. This is also evident in Tucker’s use of the stories- brownies are brownies here, with all the attached folklore. Fairy battles are battles with the blood and death. Rawhead and Bloody Bones is Raw and Bloody.And fairy gifts have drawbacks, especially when you work in a sweatshop.And that’s another thing I loved about this novel. It takes place in New York, and it is NOT the white New York of Friends. It is not the various cities of other urban fantasy novels where any minority is loosely termed exotic. This always bugged me. If you live in a big city in America, especially someplace like New York, L.A., wherever, odds are, you are use to a large variety of culture. The Urban Fantasy novels by and large seem to forget this. Tucker doesn’t. I enjoyed that. I enjoyed the fact that the leads are two women who fight their battles in different ways, with different outcomes, and have understandable and very real motives. For those interested in romance, there is a romantic sub-plot or two, but this book is not an Urban Fantasy romance. It is a book about loss, choice, and life. All things that fairies were about back in the Old Country, back in the Old Days.Honestly, this book is underpriced at Amazon.