A rock & roll fairy tale.
Jason plays guitar in a teenage garage band called the Assorted Zebras, but they have no fans, no gigs, and they're going nowhere. Even worse, Jason has a crush on their lead singer, but she doesn't seem interested in him at all.
Then Jason steals instruments from the fairy world. Soon the band is enchanting crowds, and Jason is a step closer to the girl of his dreams, but the new gear is brimming with dangerous and destructive magic they can't control.
Their shortcut to success has cost a troupe of innocent fairies their livelihood and turned Jason and his band into enemies of the powerful Queen Mab, who sends supernatural bounty hunters to track them down, including one of the most dangerous horned creatures in Faerie...a small unicorn named Buttercake.
I became a huge fan of J.L. Bryan's work after reading his horror romance, Jenny Pox. His writing style and plots were very unique without being completely out in left field. I was interested to see what else he could come up with so I agreed to read the first in his Songs of Magic series for young adults. What I found was a highly entertaining story that was about as far from the dark, black humor of Jenny Pox as possible.
I won't go too much into the summary because I don't think I could do it justice. Basically, Fairy Metal Thunder tells the story of a teenage boy named Jason who plays in a band and is trying to get the girl he likes to acknowledge his presence. Through a series of strange coincidences, Jason ends up traveling to the world of fairies and steals magical instruments which helps his band gain rabid fans throughout the city. Meanwhile, the fairy musicians are forced to enter the human world to hunt down their stolen property in order to avoid punishment by the beautiful, but scary Queen Mab.
When I think of Fairy Metal Thunder, the first word that comes to mind is fun! I had a blast reading this and learning about Bryan's twist on fairies. The mixing of the fantasy aspect with the music plot point was well-balanced and made for a unique storyline. I am a huge music fan (despite not having any skill at playing instruments) so I really enjoyed this concept. The story was fairly lighthearted and super funny. J.L. Bryan excels at taking seemingly normal fantasy concepts like unicorns and giving them a much-needed makeover ala Buttercake.
All the characters are entertaining and relatable even the fairies. Most of the story is told in Jason's point of view, but readers do get snippets from Aoide, Neus, Rhodia, and Skezg as they search for their instruments. I really liked Jason as the protagonist and enjoyed watching him try so hard to gain Erin's affection while usually messing it up. It was really sweet how sincere yet hapless he was. As for the other band members, I found their interactions so funny and realistic. I have a special place in my heart for Dred because I love girl drummers.
Overall, this is a well-written fantasy story that gives readers a little something different in the world of vampires and angels. J.L. Bryan's sense of humor and skills at dialogue keep the story going despite its seemingly simplistic plot. I look forward to reading more of this series and finding out how Jason and the rest of the Assorted Zebras deal with their newfound popularity. Highly recommended!
**Thanks to J.L. Bryan for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**
Songs of Magic
1. Fairy Metal Thunder
2. Fairy Blues