Unlike Winterling, I did not read Summerkin in a single day…but it was close. This is a fantastic follow-up to Sarah Prineas’ stellar start to her new trilogy. For those who need a refresher, check out the review and summary of Winterling. I reread my own summary and found it helpful, and it made me excited to read this book!
Fer (short for Jennifer in the human world and Gwyneffar in the faerie world) has defeated the evil Mor and is the accepted Lady of the Summerlands. Or is she? She receives a note from the “Old Ones” who demand her presence in their stronghold in order to compete in a competition which will determine who will rule over the Summerlands. One small hitch—Fer has a problem with “ruling” in the traditional way, with the land's inhabitants all swearing oaths of fealty to the Lady of the land. “It’s wrong,” she insists. To which most other people in the land respond, “It’s the way things are done.” Will she be able to be a true Lady and not “rule” the way they want her to?
And what of her puck friend, Rook? Well, he is a puck after all. The whole goal and purpose of his existence is to make trouble and look after himself and his brother pucks. But something about Fer gets to him. Maybe it’s the fact that she saved his life three times—a number of extreme power in the land. Maybe it’s that she insists on trusting him and claiming him as a friend. Whatever “it” is, it’s going to be tested when Rook accompanies her to the Old One’s dwelling and attempts to make mischief according to his brother pucks’ plan.
And there’s plenty of mischief—and not all attributable to Rook. Another contestant, Arenthial seems like he’s out to win no matter what the cost. He and Lich and Gnar are all contestants from other lands who desire to turn the Summerlands into their own ideal playground. But there is something deeply sinister about Arenthial in particular.
As in the Winterling, Fer’s compassion and helpfulness stand out in the story. She helps her competitors, Lich and Gnar, when they are ill, even though it means “losing” certain contests. Even though she feels that she already is the Lady of the Summerlands, her desire to help and her compassion win over her desire to prove (by winning the contests) her claim to the throne of the Summerlands.
Fer is not perfect, but she is a loveable, admirable character, who still struggles to understand and to get things right. Prineas has polished off a fun, imaginative sequel to Winterling, and I’m looking forward to reading the third book when it comes out!