Emma has never had any doubt that she will follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a dragon slayer. So when she is assigned to slay fairies, she is anything but happy. She takes it out on Curtis, the attractive but quiet boy who gets “her assignment” instead. But when Emma finds herself fighting dangerous creature that only she can see, she will need to dig into her mother’s past and find a way to put her dislike of Curtis aside. Otherwise, the entire world–and most especially the people she cares about most–will be at risk.
I have always found the idea of special schools for magically gifted kids to be a logical and particularly enjoyable facet of many fantasy series. This was something I was particularly excited to read in this book–a school where people who can see evil elemental creatures are specially trained to slay them. I was disappointed not to get much time spent in the actual school as I would have liked, but many of the other elements of the story worked so well that it wasn’t something that bothered me.
Emma is the most well developed character (which makes sense considering it is first person from her perspective). Ashby had to walk a fine line to keep Emma’s whining from being irritating, but she managed to make her a sympathetic and realistic teen. Her friends are somewhat less developed, though they have some fun quirks that make them enjoyable anyway.
I would have liked to find out why Emma tested to be a fairy slayer (especially is fairies were considered unkillable). I didn’t love the fact that ultimately there was nothing inherently about Emma (or her family history) that made her able to see the creature that no one else could find–it ultimately felt like chance and anyone could have done what she did had they been where she was when she was. It also felt like the way to fight the creature was a little out of place with a series where all creatures have kill spots that make them explode. It felt a little silly.
Despite these complaints, I really enjoyed the book and hope Ashby opts to write another adventure for Emma. (At present it seems like she’s going to lead a fairly dull life and that would be a shame.)