My friend Gwen recently asked me for a list of modern fantasy books that use the Sidhe, and other tropes of Irish magical tradition.
Here’s a quick list:
- Anything by Emma Bull, particularly, The War for the Oaks – the rock and roll payload will be fun for Gwen, and, really, for anyone who likes fantasy.
- The Tithe Trilogy by Holly Black – great, dare I say ‘classic’ Urban Fantasy. I love the way this starts in Atlantic City. The imagery is crisp and intense.
- The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black – just finishing listening to the Audible version, and it’s so much fun.
- The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa – a neat wrinkle to have a kind of fey who work with metal, as opposed to running screaming from it.
The Sidhe are always popular. People like fairy books, and I think an edgier approach definitely is appropriate to the original tales, and works for today’s teen and adult fantasy readers.
One thing I’d love to see in a modern Sidhe fantasy book is more grounded life for the Sidhe. I mean, who can spend 24 hours a day at fairy court? What does a day in the life of a fairy really look like? Do they get up and sip magical coffee? Do they read the Sidhe Times?
And since they do spend so much time at court, it seems like what you should see is a lot of the same political scheming that you would have seen at the court of Louis XIV or Catherine the Great, or the Barberini pope. I would think there would be tons of high context ceremony, lots of traditions that you’d just have to know about. Lots of people getting demolished by gossip, a la that wonderful French film Ridicule.
I enjoy the way Holly Black does it a lot. Her Sidhe are dark and dangerous and truly inhuman. The court feels real.
Readers: What’s your favorite Sidhe Urban Fantasy book or series? I know I’ve missed a lot so please, share your wisdom!