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I WALK ALONE by Wren Handman

As the Phantasmer, Sylvia brought order to the Fairy courts. Now if only she could do the same to her own life…

It’s been three months since Sylvia used her powers to rewrite the ruling structure of Fairy, dismantling the Seelie and Unseelie courts. Recovered from her injuries, she’s back at school and struggling to balance her “real” life against the much more immediate (and exciting) world that magic has to offer. Not to mention the distraction of her utterly hot and completely fish-out-of-water boyfriend. 

But in Fairy, there are rumblings that an ancient prophecy is about to come to pass. “Beware the coming of the one who should not have been, for he shall bring with him the end of days. Take back the mantle, or all will be lost.” Will Sylvia be able to uncover the truth behind the prophecy, learn how to use her ever-growing powers without risking her relationship, and convince her best friend Fiona that it’s not weird that her boyfriend is a thousand years old? It won’t be easy. 

Title : I Walk Alone
Author : Wren Handman
Series : Phantasmer (book two)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 226
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : Parliament House Press
Release Date : June 29, 2021

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★

Hollis’ 4 star review

Sequels and finales, especially in the YA genre, often seem like a mixed bag. Either events are rushed through or made too convenient. Not so in I Walk Alone.

The story picks up a few months after the big confrontation, and shake-up, in In Restless Dreams and Sylvia is not only trying to re-integrate into her life, balancing the two sides — the fairy world and her human world — but also shouldering both the decisions she’s made for a whole people and also the damage that she, herself, was dealt.

I can’t remember if I had mentioned this in my review for book one but I really appreciated that Handman took pains to not neglect Sylvia’s every day life. Yes, she finds school to be dull and a chore, especially when compared to her adventures and her magical boyfriend, but those doldrums, her responsibilities, aren’t glossed over. We see the struggle to fit in, to balance home work, the repercussions for her slacking off, her lies, and it keeps not only her but the reader grounded. I can barely handle multitasking facetiming and cooking at the same time and yet she’s submitting homework, being a good friend and sister, a caring daughter, nurturing a new relationship, and going on adventures. She doesn’t do it all successfully, which.. I mean, good, because that wouldn’t be realistic!; but we see her try.

Just as she tries to navigate a world, and a people, who are both terrified and resentful of her choices, her power, and how that spills over into her relationship with her boyfriend who is very much part of that same world. All while a prophecy hangs over their heads.

The conclusion to this series, and the resolutions, unraveled so well. As with book one, the story is layered with the themes that come full circle at the end, so you see the slow unfurling of what is to come and how it isn’t just an impulse decision or a convenient epiphany at the moment it’s needed. I thought it was brilliantly done.

If you’re looking for a fresh take on a fae-based YA fantasy, look no further.

** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

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