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Thursday, September 22, 2011


Title: Fairy Metal Thunder        Series: Songs of Magic, Book 1
Author: J.L. Bryan                      Pub. Date: Sept. 2011
Format: ebook                             Source: from author for review
Fairy Metal Thunder
Jason, Erin, Mitch and Mildred (“Dred”) are the Assorted Zebras, a teenage garage band in Wisconsin with no fans and no gigs.

Then Jason sneaks into the fairy world and steals four magic-fueled musical instruments, the kind fairies use to enchant and trick humans.

The new instruments make the band a huge overnight success, on their way to rock stardom. But the band members aren’t exactly ready for fame, fortune, or the supernatural creatures sent by the fairies to track them down.

Fierce fairies, rocking music, magical instruments, complicated romance, badass unicorns, and one grumpy goblin…Fairy Metal Thunder has all this and more!

The Assorted Zebras is made up of Jason, Erin, Mitch, and Dred, four teenagers who are passionate about their music. Unfortunately no one else seems to be. They have no fans, no gigs, and possibly no future as a band…until Jason chases a goblin into the magical world of Faerie and steals four magical instruments. With these magical instruments the Assorted Zebras literally become an overnight sensation and all their dreams seem to quickly come true. But the band soon realizes that they aren’t quite as prepared for their overwhelming fame as they thought they were…not to mention the beings that are sent after them in hopes of retrieving the stolen instruments. Fairy Metal Thunder really reflects the sentiment ‘Be careful what you wish for’.

This is a really fun, lighthearted read and its fantasy elements are more delightful than edgy or dark, which makes it appropriate for even younger readers. It has a great mix of humor, fantasy, romance, and intrigue. The characters are charming, the story is refreshing and entertaining, and the fantasy elements are enchanting.

Fairy Metal Thunder takes place in two worlds- our world and the magical word of Faerie- so there’s a lot going on in the space of one book. But I never found the story overwhelming or too confusing to follow; the story flows at really nice pace that’s not too slow or too fast. The quartet of Jason, Erin, Mitch, and Dred in our world and the quartet of Aoide, Rhodia, Neus, and Skezg- the magical musicians whose instruments Jason steals- in Faerie, both make for two quirky, eclectic and merry bands of misfits. Grizlemor the Goblin is very reminiscent of Dobby the House-Elf from the Harry Potter series, although the goblin is far crankier…but still delightful with his whimsical sarcasm and mischief. There’s a certain absurd silliness that surrounds most of the adult characters, especially Jason’s parents, which I found quite hilarious and fun. All the characters are quite likable.

I was really drawn to the creative idea of a teenage band playing with magical instruments. It’s such a refreshing and fantastical idea that makes for a captivating story. The two distinct worlds in this book-our world and Faerie- add equal parts realism and fantasy, which creates a nice layered storyline. And I found that I genuinely enjoyed and found myself invested in the different plotlines going on in each world, and I really look forward to seeing the ways in which the separate, yet connected, stories and worlds continue to collide and intertwine in the rest of the series.

I really like Bryan’s unique fantasy elements and the way he added his own twists and spins on classic fantasy beings. I especially like Bryan’s fairies, who definitely aren’t your cute Tinkerbell’s. The fairies in this book are fierce, potentially dangerous, and kind of hip. And since this book is about a band, the musical elements have to be cool of course…and they definitely are. I love that the Assorted Zebras aren’t your average, as one non-cool adult in the book would call them, “teenyboppers at a disco”. They listen to classic rock (my kind of people!) and aren’t all about the “rock glam”, they actually care about the music. And the music is pretty sweet! I love that fact that there are actual lyrics and songs included in the book…and I would totally listen to the Assorted Zebras, even without the enchanting magical instruments. Although, the way Bryan describes the band’s music and its effects on people when played with those instruments makes for vivid and sensational scenes.

However, I did find the way that most of the characters were so quick to simply believe in and be ok with the concept of magical instruments and beings to be bit unbelievable. I think I would have liked a little more disbelief, or at least a bit more wariness and/or confusion, coming from people who witnessed what the band could do with the magical instruments. But this certainly didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of this book.

Overall, I found this to be a fun, delightful first volume in a promising new series. I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of the series and learning more about the world of Faerie, seeing if a real romance between Jason and Erin ever blossoms, and finding out just what the heck is up with Buddy McSlawburger’s slaw. You should definitely give this book a read!

My Rating
4 Cupcakes

You can learn more about and connect with J.L. Bryan here:
This book can be purchased here:

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