Knife is the first book in the series by R. J. Anderson and it was released in the UK on 8th January 2009 by Orchard and it is 320 pages long.
Knife is a faerie that lives in an oak tree with others of her kind. After losing their magic many years ago, the tree folk are in serious danger of losing everything that they have ever worked for but some are keeping secrets that could save them all.
Being an nosey little thing, Knife is determined to find a way to save her family and friends and after showing how brave (so stupid) she can be, the Queen enlists her and the new Hunter. Even though she is extremely young, Knife must find food for the others and keep their home safe from animals like crows and foxes. She has always been warned about humans but knowing that there is a house not far from the tree, Knife's curiosity gets the better of her.
As she befriends human Paul, Knife also defies her Queen but realises that he could actually help everyone. Nobody believes that Paul is actually a friend and not an enemy so Knife is forced to choose between her family and her new found friend.
What I thought
The plot of this story was one of the most interesting that I have read for a long time. This book is a complete adventure at all times. Moving along at quite a fast pace, but never seeming rushed, Knife has plenty of twists to keep the reader guessing. Not wanting this to sound like an action/ adventure story, I must point out that there is also romance, mystery and fantasy (of course) throughout the entire story. While the story was unfolding, I found that I had plenty of questions for which I obviously wanted answers but the author made me wait for what I wanted which added to the suspense.
I really enjoyed that the faeries in this story were the old fashioned kind. None of this new faerie nonsense. Faeries in this story come from big oak trees, have wings and are fascinated with things like love. The faeries in the Oak Tree are all female though and believe that there are no male faeries. I found this idea to be very interesting as not many characters in fantasy books are single sex.
Anderson has a created a world so unique in a simple oak tree in someone's garden that it would be hard not to find it completely spellbinding. You can tell that each faerie we meet has their own little mannerisms and quirks that fit with both the big tree family but also faeries in general. It seems like recently in this genre, fantasy beings have been completely urbanised which I think takes away from what is appealing in the first place. It was nice to see that Anderson was able to use folklore but also bring faeries up to date at the same time. The subject of dwindling magic in a story of this genre has been done time and time again but I felt like R. J. Anderson made it sound exciting and certainly something different from others that I have previously read.
Knife was such a wonderful character because there are so many different sides to her. Having never known anything other than living in a tree, she is very inquisitive about the outside world and what happens there. She knows there has to be more than just the tree and she is determined to know what else there is. She is a very lonely faerie even though she has her family but at the same time, she is very courageous and daring.
When she meets Paul, Knife has a lot of questions. She begins to question everything that she has ever been told and taught about her race. Seeing as her race apparently have no males, she has a lot of questions for him as well as him having questions for her. Knife doesn't understand why Paul questions her beliefs, especially the part about male faeries but it is obvious that he has no prior knowledge when it comes to faeries so he is bound to question everything.
This book was bought for me as a gift but if it hadn't been, I think I would have chosen it anyway due to the cover. It is black, blue, silver and very shiny with a mean looking faerie right in the middle. In my opinion, I don't think that the picture fits Knife's character too well but I only know that after reading the story. This book definitely stands out from many others in this genre and would have drawn my eye to it immediately.