Guardian of the Green Hill
by Laura L. Sullivan
I received this book for free as a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.
When I was younger, I was a big believer in fairies. I liked to think that they were flitting around in my backyard when I wasn't looking and hiding when I was, laughing at the silly human girl who was flipping up all the leaves of her mom's plants to try and catch a peek of one.
This book has totally reignited my fascination with fairies. Sullivan weaves a really exciting plot, wonderful characters, and enchanting fairy lore all together into a phenomenal middle grade read. It's delightfully easy to lose yourself in the world she creates, but be careful: the real world will look a little dimmer and duller when you reemerge.
I loved all the characters, even the ones that make only brief appearances. Meg is a realistic, relatable heroine who struggles with a very big choice: she might be the only person who can be the next Guardian. She wants to do the right thing, but does she have it in her to be a Guardian? Does she even want to be a Guardian? The budding relationship between her and Finn is adorable - I can't say it any other way! - and it's told perfectly for a middle grade audience. Rowan undergoes a sort of trial (SPOILER - highlight to read: or at least I felt that the enchantment that the evil artist Gwidion put on him was a trial - a weaker and less noble boy would have certainly seen only the riches and power that awaited him as the heir, while Rowan saw responsibility and a way to make changes for good) and this immediately made him one of my favorite characters. Some types of fairies and other fantastic creatures are commonly known, but others I had never heard of before. Now I'm curious to learn a little more about fairies and see which ones are real and which ones Sullivan created. I especially liked that she included creatures from the folklore and mythology of other cultures, being the anthropology nerd that I am.
I didn't read the first book in this series, Under the Green Hill, before I read this one, so I was a little worried that I would have missed some crucial information. Sullivan handles this well, though - while there are references to the events in the first book, it's just enough to catch new readers up to speed, and not so much that it would bore a returning reader who had read it all originally. For me as a new reader, it was kind of like listening to someone talk about their their exotic vacation or their semester abroad - you can imagine what it would have been like, but you really wish that you could have been there to see it firsthand. To satisfy this wish, I'll be reading the first book as soon as I can get my hands on it! :)
Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars