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Trailer Park Fae: 04/05/16
Trailer Park Fae by Lilith Saintcrow is the start of Gallow and Ragged series. Whatever I put here probably won't do justice for the book. I read it, or maybe, freebased it, whilst in the middle of the worst flu I've had in a good long while.
Let me also say that the set up of the story is very similar to The Ward series by Jordana Frankel. There is a plague. There are warring factions (well, anytime you have fae you have the Seelie and Unseelie at battle or at best an uncomfortable stalemate). There is a young woman who has the cure or knowledge of it who is under everyone's scrutiny. There is an older man forced into exile for knowing to much. What's different here is that the woman and the man are half sidhe. There is a place where the tainted go to at least put on the pretense that the illness has't reached the ruling class. Here, that place is a trailer park in the human world.
I read this book as part of my road narrative project. At the one end of the road trip spectrum there is the wealthy man in his sports car driving the interstates and staying at the best motels, except for when he ventures onto the blue highways and the small town diners to experience life among the rural for his own entertainment. At the other end of the road narrative there is the person desperately saving up money to escape from the trailer park in the middle of nowhere to move to a better life in the big city. Neither one of these stories is representative of an over all truth about the road and the American experience. Rather they are two extremes of tropes that have developed over the years.
In a typical children's urban fantasy (Oz or Fairyland, for example), the protagonist, often a young girl, leaves or is taken from, her rural home. While she may have desperately wanted to leave the rural life behind, once she finds herself somewhere else she just as desperately wants to return. If her story is part of a multi-part series, then her experiences in the magical land cloud her judgment upon returning home so much so that she will find ways of returning to the magical land, eventually deciding to settle there, and in some cases, convincing her family to relocate there as well.
Obviously the Gallow and Ragged series isn't a children's series. First and foremost that is shown from its focus not on the trailer park but on the Summer Court. While the language is poetic (there is something about Fairyland that engenders poetic turns of phrase) the effects of the plague are visible, lingering in the peripheral vision.
Secondly, the trailer park, while dirty, broken, greasy, and basically all the things that the Summer Court shouldn't be, is seen as an escape from the dangers that also lie wait. It's old and broken but "still good" as Stitch would say. It isn't perfect and it doesn't have to be.
I have the second book in the series to get into soon. It's Roadside Magic. There's also a third coming out later in the year called Wasteland King.