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13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison

Title: 13 Treasures

A red cover with a purple tree, white castle  and a bird surrounding a white thirteen and gold letters. Thirteen Treasures by Michelle Harrison

Author: Michelle Harrison

Genre: Magical Realism

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Published: 1st November 2019

Format: Paperback

Pages: 352

Price: $16.99

Synopsis: Tanya has a secret. She can see fairies.

But not the fairies we imagine. These fairies cast spells on her, rousing her from her sleep and propelling her out of bed. Disturbed by her daughter’s behaviour, Tanya’s mother sends her away to live with her grandmother at Elvesden Manor, a secluded countryside mansion on the outskirts of town.

Then an old photograph leads Tanya to an unsolved mystery. Fifty years ago a girl vanished in the woods, a girl Tanya’s grandmother will not speak of. Tanya is determined to find the truth, but as she unearths more secrets she finds herself dangerously close to following in the missing girl’s footsteps . . .

~*~

When Tanya is sent to live with her grandmother in an old manor, she’s disappointed and annoyed. But soon, she starts to uncover an old mystery with her friend Fabian. A young girl that her grandmother knew has been missing for fifty years. Fabian and Tanya start to investigate, and soon find out that the adults around them – Amos, Warwrick and Tanya’s grandmother – definitely know more than they are letting on, and know more about what happened and what could happen. That won’t stop Tanya and Fabian from trying to solve the mystery, but what could their actions mean for Tanya?

The first in a series I stumbled upon in the bookshop a few years ago, 13 Treasures is a perfect combination of fairy lore and the fight between the Seelie and the Unseelie courts, and the relationship this has with our world.13 Treasures is one of many books I’ve been reading lately with these themes – purely by coincidence, however.

Each book deals with the character’s relationship with the Seelie and the Unseelie differently, though they have all been using the same traditions to build their stories around and come up with something unique. In 13 Treasures, the role of second sight is important – and hints at how fairies and humans might be connected, though it’s not always obvious. One plot within the book – a missing baby and runaway called Red – might seem out of place at first, but as the novel progresses and all sorts of things happen after Tanya and Fabian encounter the fairies, the role of this plot becomes clear, and ends up working seamlessly with the rest of the story. I imagine many of the strands that were left hanging will be resolved in the final two books of the trilogy that I am yet to read.

We’ve only got a few threads wrapped up in this book, but it feels like they might come undone – with the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, there’s never any assurance that things will be settled until every goal of the heroes has been achieved. Sometimes these goals can take time to resolve, and Tanya, Fabian, and Red will need to reimagine how to fulfill what they are trying to do without endangering too many people. Whilst magic is a key factor in this book, I also liked how the friendship between Fabian and Tanya grew, and the mystery surrounding the grown-ups in their lives, and how they came to understand why Warwrick, and Tanya’s grandmother were the way they are. It will be interesting to see what happens with them in the next two books that I am looking forward to reading. This is a fun series for older middle grade readers, young adult readers and readers who like a good story. I can’t wait to read the rest!

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