A mostly Young Adult book review blog run by a mother and daughter team.
When I read author Skylar Dorset’s The Girl Who Never Was a handful of months ago I remember being compelled to fall in love with her take on faeries. The genre has always been one that I rarely find myself reading in and her story and world were impeccable. I absolutely adored reading about the main character Selkie, discovering the truth about her family, and learning about this secret world of faerie. Not to mention that the way the last novel ended with the prophecy of ‘Benedict Le Fay will betray you and then he will die’ had me reeling. Would he seriously betray Selkie? Would he really, really die? All of these questions and I figured that I would get all of the answers in this sequel.
The Boy With the Hidden Name takes place where The Girl Who Never Was left off. Selkie alongside a cast of characters who include her aunts, best friend Kelsey, the wizard Will and Safford. As the plot thickens Selkie finds herself public enemy of the Seelie Court and seeks out a Goblin monarch. With Ben absent, Selkie stands in the middle of a battle where she is the most wanted person in the faerie world, considered to be the prophesized girl who will change the world. But as Selkie and her friends travel to find the three fays who will save Parsymeon and the Otherworld, she begins to wonder if her mother’s prophecy for Ben is true and if she will ever see him again.
I liked that The Boy With the Hidden Name gave us a further glimpse into Dorset’s world of the faerie. Not only does the story take place where it left off but we are also plunged headfirst into new, darker branches of the faerie world that Dorset has created. A world where not only is the Seelie Court still wicked and warped beyond all belief but a world where Selkie might have to glimpse into the Unseelie Court which is ten times worse. We get a better look at all the branches of the world that Dorset has created in The Boy With the Hidden Nameand even discover that faeries ride on… giant corgis? Welp, it is fantasy.
I will admit that since reading The Girl Who Never Was I have gone through plenty of books. I have forgotten the names of certain characters, how things worked, etcetera. The sequel did have its positive sides in terms of giving readers a reminder of what’s going on. I knew that the novel took place after the first, I knew that there were prophecies and naming, and I knew that Selkie was on a mission. But there were important details from the last novel that I did have to do a bit of re-reading and hard-thinking in order to piece the current novel together entirely.
What caught my attention in The Boy With the Hidden Name was how different the pacing was compared to The Girl Who Never Was. I remember that most of The Girl Who Never Was had its ups and its downs but The Boy With the Hidden Name was non-stop. The adventure never ended as Selkie alongside her friends fought to see their journey through to the end. The stakes were raised and again, that prophecy about Ben was stuck in my mind. I couldn’t wait to see how that would play out. All in all, I was surprised with the novel’s ending. It wasn’t at all what I expected it to be or imagined it to be.
I would recommend this series to readers who are fans of the faerie genre, readers who are looking for a fantasy-adventure read and to readers who are devoted to the will they/won’t they relationship trope. They’ll definitely love the romance between Selkie and Ben. An interesting new take on faerie that was an experience to read.