de Lint, Charles. Jack of Kinrowan. Orb,1995. 412 pages. ISBN 978-0-312-86959-5
Jacky Rowan is a young woman who lives in Ottawa. She just broke up with her boyfriend and decides to go out to cheer herself up. She ends up staying out late and stumbles upon a scene that she can’t quite tell if it is real or she drank too much. What she sees is the Wild Hunt riding motorcycles around a poor hob, not that she knew this is what she was seeing. After the hob disappears the Wild Hunt races away leaving nothing of evidence they were there except for the red cap of the hob. Jacky picks up the red cap and puts it on, she begins to see into the Faerie realms and ends up getting pulled into a supernatural struggle between the two forces of faerie, the Seelie Court and the Unseelie Court (or the Host). She is appoint the Jack of Kinrowan, a sort of jester who represents the Seelie Court, and they hope she can defeat the evil of the Host.
This is a wonderful story with great detail and surprise. A contemporary fantasy about Jacky Rowan’s adventures with faeries, this novel mixes modern day Ottawa with the supernatural of the Faerie Realm. There are plenty elements of fantasy, folklore and myth, but with an urban twist mixed in. The Wild Hunt rides motorcycles instead of horses and trolls are living under overpasses instead of bridges. Jacky starts out as a normal girl in a bad relationship and ends up falling into the Faerie Realm and then becomes the trickster figure of the Seelie Court and their only hope against the forces of evil. This puts a lot on the shoulders of an everyday girl. However, being the Jack of Kinrowan she has luck on her side and a whole lot of it too. She meets a multitude of creatures along the way and creates a bunch of allies to help her fight off the evil forces. One minute she’s a normal girl, the next she is being sucked into a faerie tale.
It’s a magical ride through the realm of Faerie and modern day Ottawa. Will Jacky Rowan be able to defeat the evil forces of the Host and save the Seelie Court?
Charles de Lint was credited with pioneering contemporary fantasy genre. He has written 35 novels and 18 short fiction books. His most recent novel is The Mystery of Grace. His latest young adult novel is The Painted Boy. De Lint has won many awards and honors. Eight of his books appear on the Modern Library Top 100 Books of the Twentieth Century poll. He even has written some non-fiction including book reviews, critical essays, music reviews, opinion columns and entries to encyclopedias
De Lint is the main book reviewer for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. He has also been the judge for many awards, including the Nebula Award. He has been a teacher for creative writing workshops in Canada and the United States. He also acted as a Writer-in-residence for two public libraries in Ottawa. He has been a professional musician for many years where he writes original songs and performs with his wife, MaryAnn Harris.
How was she ever to know she would become the Jack of Kinrowan.
Faeries really do exist.
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Why I included this book:
De Lint is a fabulous author, there were so many of his works to choose from, but I particularly liked this one and believe other young adult readers will as well.