Review: Feast by Merrie Destefano

Feast (Harvest of Dreams)Feast (Harvest Of Dreams, #1) by Merrie Destefano
Fantasy
Paperback
June 28, 2011
Harper Voyager

Favorite Quote: ”Rest, my sweet. Save you dreams for me. For no one but me.”

Madeline MacFadden (Mad Mac to her fans) spent her summers growing up in Ticonderoga Falls. When her marriage falls apart she brings her son back to this idyllic village in hopes of recapturing the peace it once brought her. But Maddie doesn’t remember everything about Ticonderoga Falls. She doesn’t remember the darkness, the legends, or the mysterious caretaker, Ash, who once saved her life as a child.

As Maddie and her son get settled, Maddie’s childhood dreams begin anew and take a sinister turn. Monsters invade her dreams and soon the village for it is once again time for the Harvest and the time to feast. But magic runs high during the feast and even a spinner of tales can wield unimaginable power when those she loves are threatened.

Feast reminds me of a fairy tale by the Brothers’ Grimm. Dark and foreboding, it weaves its insidious spell around the reader and transports us to a time when humans were slaves to the monsters and magic that ruled the land. Ticonderoga Falls is a small jewel of a town. Nestled deep in a valley surrounded by mountains. Seemingly perfect, the town hides a dark secret. It is cursed. Half the residents are “bound” to Ash; a darkling (fae I believe-we aren’t really assured of that) who watches over the town and his residents in return for for the right to harvest (feed) their dreams. Ash saved Maddie as a child when she wandered too far into the forest and was almost taken by one of his wilder cousins. To mark one so young was considered bad form and Ash could not allow it as she was “his.” Now as an adult, Maddie is ripe for harvesting, but Ash senses something different about her and declares her off limits to his family during the harvest.

Right before the feast is about to start, Maddie finds a dead body which appears as though it has been sucked dry. Ash realizes then that his cousins (River and Thane) have started the harvest early; breaking the rules of the feast. He rescinds their invitation and commands them to leave, but Thane is tired of living off the scraps of others and covets Ash’s territory for himself.

Feast is a heartfelt blending of emotional prose. Vivid world building offers up a different look at the fae and humanity. The story is told from multiple POVs (human and darkling), which gives us insight to what has and is happening from many different sides. It also allows us to experience the gradual changes in feeling and loyalties in our characters as the story progresses. However,the POVs are presented rapidly and often not of the same scene which is confusing. It’s interesting in its presentation, as though we are given a peek into someone’s deepest thoughts but confusing because it’s hard to keep up when leaping around. I felt as though I missed things. I also wish we were given more in-depth background information in Ash’s curse, how the town became involved, what exactly the darklings are. Ms. Destefano barely scratches the surface and it left me with questions.

Our two protagonists are a study in betrayal. Maddie is betrayed first by her drunken inept parents and then by her ex husband when he cheats on her and marries her best friend. Ash betrays his people and his wife by mating with a human, producing a child, then taking the child from the human; causing her to commit suicide. His reasons for taking the child are valid, but his callus ways have caused him nothing but pain from then on.

Maddie is almost fae like in her make up. A fantasy writer, she sees her main characters as real beings in her mind. I like that Maddie isn’t presented like an enthralled human-doing what she is told. She has magnificently strong will and knows something is wrong with Ash and the town. She doesn’t hesitate to let him know either. Her child, Tucker, and their dog, Samwise, present a much needed sense of realism to the the book and offer up some humor to an otherwise serious story. I will say that Samwise is my favorite character in the book.

Ash is fascinated by Maddie. He too sees her characters surrounding her. At first she is nothing more then a means to an end for him, but soon his fascination with her becomes more emotional and he realizes that he is once again falling for a human. I like how the change in Ash’s feeling are so subtle you almost miss them. You think by his POVs that he is still the same unfeeling ‘beast” he has always been but soon you learn that he wants to release his town and residents from the curse as much as some of them want to be released.

The romance between Maddie and Ash is very low key. So low key, their coming together is almost a surprise. You know it’s going to happen because that is the way the storyline harkens towards it-but you really don’t see it happening. As I stated earlier, the POVs are rapid and not very clear at times. Its more of a behind the scenes implication. I wish their romance would have drawn out a little more.

Our secondary characters are as dominate as our protagonists. Sage, Ash’ s sister and Eve, Ash’s daughter, give us some insight into Ash and his curse. Thane and River, though presented as the villains, are not so much evil as they are merely acting on their instincts. They are like children in a candy store. They want it all with no concern of the consequences.

The ending is ripe with tension as we see more real time interaction between everyone. The finale is action packed and helps to bind everything together, yet also leaves enough open to continue with this storyline.

Rating: C

Recent Reviews:
The Book Pushers – D
My Bookish Ways – 4/5
All Things Urban Fantasy – 5/5
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Comments

  1. says

    POV is one of those story elements that disappears when it’s done right, and can drive me nuts when it’s not. Good review!

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