Except the Queen by Jane Yolen and Midori Snyder will be released this coming Tuesday, February 2.
Product Description: From award winning authors Jane Yolen and Midori Snyder comes a tale of two worlds-and one destiny...
Sisters Serana and Meteora were once proud members of the high court of the Fairy Queen--until they played a prank that angered her highness. Separated and banished to the mortal realm of Earth, they must find a way to survive in a strange world in which they have no power. But there is more to their new home than they first suspect...
A sympathetic Meteora bonds with a troubled young girl with an ornate tattoo on her neck. Meteora recognizes it as a magic symbol that will surely bring danger down on them all. Serana, meanwhile, takes in a tortured homeless boy whose mind is plagued by dark visions. The signs point to a rising power that threatens to tear asunder both fairy and human worlds.
And the sisters realize that perhaps the queen cast them from their homes not out of anger or spite--but because they were the only ones who could do what must be done...
I am sentimentally attached to this new release because I witnessed its birth almost nine years ago on the SurLaLune Discussion Boards.
During a discussion in May 2001, this book began with a small post by Jane:
Maybe, Midori, you and I should write some kind of braided novel about two middle age fairies who have moved to the city, close to good transportation and daily newspapers that are delivered on time, looking back on their lives and what they have accomplished and how well or not well, they have been regarded. Call it OUT OF THE WOODS.
He he he.
Then a few days later, Jane wrote:
My dearest Meteora:
The view from my window is nothing like the deep woods: a few spindly trees sending out fervant prayers for a spring that never quite comes. The pigeons crowding my windowsill hoping for a blessing of crumbs. How I wish they could understand that with middle age has come a loss of magic, something I have never quite understood but feel full well. In my head I am more powerful than ever, making swift connections, understanding life as never before. But evidently the body is the source of fey energies.
Except for the queen.
Always except for the queen.
Who knew that bitch would go on forever?
My fondest wishes (oh that I could really grant them still)
You can see where the book's title came from...
Midori and Jane wrote back and forth on the board, writing a few letters between two fairy godmothers of greater experience, but quickly took the rest of their brainstorming and writing offline. A few years later, they published a short story using the concept in The Fair Folk edited by Marvin Kaye. It, too, was titled "Except the Queen."
Now the short story has been expanded into a novel and I'm excited to read it. I have already preordered it and can't wait to read the adventures of Meteora and Serana next week when it arrives on my doorstep.
The concept is reminiscent of a cult classic, Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer, which I mention because you must read that one if you haven't yet. And you'll appreciate their homage to Georgette Heyer, too, if you've read any Heyer... Not to say these are the first two epistolary novels in existence either, but they are quite entertaining and made lovelier with the thought that two authors collaborated on them.