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Chicory Up: The Pixie Chronicles by Irene Radford
Cover Artist: Cliff Nielsen
Review by Drew Bittner
DAW Mass Market Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780756407247
Date: 01 May 2012 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

After saving the Pixies of Skene Falls from disaster, you might think Thistle Down would have earned an end to her exile as a human. Well... not so much. The transformed ex-pixie has her hands full with her best friend's wedding plans, a boyfriend, and the return of a terrible enemy.

What is an ex-pixie to do?

Chicory Up completes the story begun in Irene Radford's Thistle Down, in which mischievous Thistle was changed into a human and ended up saving her tribe from a malicious enemy. Now that things have quieted down and autumn has come, Thistle finds herself a little adrift. Her best friend, Dusty Carrick, is getting married to police officer Chase Norton; spiteful Phelma Jo Nelson has been humbled; and Dick Carrick, Dusty's protective older brother, is smitten with her...and making her wonder if she can (or should) return to her tribe in the Ten Acre Woods.

But things are not what they seem. The pixie tribe living in Mabel Gardiner's rose garden (including the titular Chicory) are battling with Thistle's former tribe, and pixies do NOT go to war. Something is spurring them to battle and the end result could decimate all the pixie tribes. Chicory begins to realize that something is very wrong, but his own Queen Rosie won't listen to him over her new suitor Snapdragon--an erratic, oversized, and secretive new pixie.

At the same time, Mabel falls ill and it's up to Dusty to help keep things together. She discovers Mabel's will and is stunned by what it says, even as Mabel's estranged nephew Ian comes to town with plans of his own for Mabel's property.

With the return of an unexpected adversary, the town plunges toward the brink of all-out war. Unless Thistle, Dusty, Chicory and the others can figure out how to solve this problem--and perhaps make the biggest sacrifices of their lives--then both pixie and human in Skene Falls will have their worlds overturned forever.

And not all the belief and pixie dust in the world could fix that.

Radford creates a world that could very well be the American colony of Tinkerbell's own Pixie Hollow, with characters that are by turns playful, happy, despondent, and even cruel. Thistle herself is a capricious figure who, in this volume, comes to appreciate the human perspective, even as she longs for the simplicity and simple pleasures of her pixie life. Dusty, who has grown from a recluse into a strong-willed young woman, likewise steps up to new responsibilities, embracing duty even when it threatens terrible losses in her newborn private life.

Dick, an EMT and pharmaceutical rep who's loved Thistle since he was a boy, also thinks outside the box in helping resolve the crisis in their relationship, partnering with Chicory in a very unorthodox fashion. In a way, this even resolves a terrible burden on his mother, who's been smothering both of them for more than a decade (for understandable reasons).

Chicory, the title character, has a significant story arc as well. He has to outgrow the rote life of a pixie and take on a bigger perspective if he wants to save his tribe from a cunning foe. Facing perhaps the greatest dangers of any of them, he rises to the challenge and proves it isn't the size of the hero that matters but the courage of his heart.

Though decidedly more grown-up than Tinkerbell's adventures, readers who love fairy-based stories will truly adore these tales.

Recommended.

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