Emily Snow is old beyond her years. Only 12 and supporting herself and her younger brother by selling watercress on the streets of Victorian England, Emily is lucky if she makes enough in one day to buy one meal to keep herself and her brother alive for one more day. Her parents having both mysteriously disappeared, Emily is not in a great mood when she pulls herself out of bed one cold winter morning to drag herself to work. On the way however, Emily comes across something she should not have seen. In a dark alley there is a battle going on. Tiny piskies are engaged in combat with real weapons and when Emily selflessly rescues one of the injured, she is thrown into a world she had no idea existed right in front of her face. After rescuing the piskie she unknowingly becomes involved in a war between the Seelie and the Unseelie, two opposing factions of fairies that have been battling each other throughout centuries of human history, unknown to humans whom they live among.
Enter The Invisible Order, a secret society of humans who have been fighting against the fairies for as long as anyone can remember. Once they get involved, Emily doesn’t know who to believe or trust. The order says that the world will be destroyed if she sides with the fairies, but the fairies claim that her parents are still alive… and that they know where they are.
Rise of the Darklings is a middle grade/YA book — the plot is not so complex as to go over the heads of younger readers, but is not so simple that older readers would find it boring or want to put it down after a few chapters. Paul Crilley’s writing style is similar to JK Rowling’s except that he doesn’t insert large words into random places to seemingly take the writing up to a higher level. This keeps the story moving and makes his style more endearing — he doesn’t dumb it down, but he doesn’t litter his story with SAT vocabulary words either.
Rise of the Darklings is exceptionally entertaining — a perfect solution for Harry Potter fans who are missing the series and haven’t found anything to replace it. This is a great family series that kids and adults can enjoy together. I will definitely be picking up Paul Crilley’s next Invisible Order book!