I absolutely adored the Sweet Evil trilogy, so I tried this one too–curious to know how Higgins would pull off a romance between a human girl and a leprechaun! But it gets better: the human girl and the leprechaun are betrothed from childhood, even though they’ve never met before. How in the world do you create the tension necessary to carry a good romance when the wedding is a foregone conclusion?!
Actually, this turned out to be the biggest problem with the story, I thought. Robyn grew up fantasizing about McKale all her life. She’s a good girl; he’s shy and bashful. There’s not a lot of chemistry there, probably because there’s really nothing clashing or opposite about them. I just wasn’t really buying the attraction. There is a bit of tension in the fact that at first, neither knows if the other truly likes them, or if they’re simply obligated to one another–but once they get past this, the story begins to drag. It only revives with the addition of a fairy named Khalistah (nickname FFG, the Freaky Fae Girl, to Robyn and her sister Cassidy), who wants McKale for herself. The fae are enormously powerful and dangerous, so the plot becomes how to foil Khalistah without losing McKale, or Robyn, or Cassidy, to the land of Fairy. It felt a bit weak to me, like Khalistah was only there because things were otherwise going too smoothly. She felt like a plot device.
On the other hand, the description of the leprechaun and fairy cultures within Ireland was probably my favorite part. I loved her world building. When I was in Ireland a few years ago, I took copious notes, intending to come back and write a coming-of-age book that felt very much like this one. That didn’t end up happening, though–what I wrote instead was Uncanny Valley, which started out in Dublin, but that was about the extent of it. (At the time, I just couldn’t bring myself to write about fairies, because I thought it would come off way too cheesy… ironic, because now they’re all the rage!)
My review: ***