McKinley, Robin: Stone Fey, The

I was browsing around the library yesterday, and found myself in the YA section. I picked up Robin McKinley’s The Stone Fey out of curiosity, saw that it was a Damar story from the inside cover, and decided to check it out.

Actually I read the whole thing while waiting for Chad to come pick me up; it’s a children’s book illustrated by John Clapp. I don’t quite know why it was published in this format, since it doesn’t really strike me as a children’s story; at the least, it would fit perfectly well in any adult collection. Despite the title, the story is very tightly focused on the viewpoint character, Maddy, a shepherd in the Hills of Damar who meets a stone fey one night. (I mentioned McKinley’s tendency to treat names as almost incidental in my comments about The Door in the Hedge, and it’s the same here; we don’t learn Maddy’s name until page 22 of a 52 page story.)

Because it’s such a short story, there’s not much to say about the plot, which besides will probably be predictable to most people familiar with fairy tales. Like all of McKinley’s work, it’s very atmospheric, but I can’t help but feel something’s missing from it. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I think it’s too tightly focused on Maddy. At any rate, an interesting little book, but not fully satisfying.

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