Fair Peril: Riotously funny and sweetly touching

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsbook review Nancy Springer Fair PerilFair Peril by Nancy Springer

We don’t have princes here. We don’t even have Kennedys.

Both riotously funny and sweetly touching, Nancy Springer‘s Fair Peril is a fun and wonderful fantasy novel. It’s set in modern times, in a sort of “Anytown, USA” — where the shopping mall is a portal into Fairyland, and anything can happen.

It all begins when Buffy Murphy discovers a talking frog who claims to be a prince. Buffy is a divorced and overweight woman, down on her luck, who holds down a practical job in a fake food factory and is a storyteller on the side. Hoping a gimmick will make her storytelling more sought-after, she takes the frog home… and has no plans to kiss it and turn it back into a prince.

Enter her teenage daughter. When the frog prince and 16-year-old Emily run away together, Buffy has to find them and rescue Emily from the story she’s been caught up in. Buffy finds herself in a world where a star-spangled nightgown renders you a wizard, where misspelling your spell can have disastrous results, and where the blue ogres lurking around the corner might be mundane cops, ready to haul you off to the local mental health center. I won’t summarize the plot from here, because it would make no sense if I tried to recount it in this space. But it’s a fun and wild ride. In the end, Buffy learns that no story is set in stone, and it’s never too late to start all over with “once upon a time.”

Fair Peril — (1996) Publisher: When Buffy, a middle-aged divorcee, encounters a talking frog and ignores all the fairy tales, her rebellious daughter Emily kisses the frog, turning him into a handsome prince, and soon Buffy finds herself in the land of Fair Peril to retrieve her daughter.

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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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