A fairy is a mincing, annoying, squeaky little creature with a skinny dress and impractical butterfly wings, right? That’s what has become dominant: the tame, safe version of the fairy.
Most novels can’t quite rid themselves of this image. Their faeries are descendants of the dark days of Faerie, sure, but they’re human, relatable, never too evil, and always kind of cheesy.
But every once in a while, a writer finds a way to make faeries fucking terrifying. He makes them haunt your dreams, paints characters that you believe would lead you down a path filled with fear and horror, would steal your soul. These faeries are uncanny, inhuman, strange and frightening.
These are real faeries. They don’t mince–they overwhelm. They don’t bless–they inspire fear.
They are anathema to the kind of human life that we have spent centuries creating and perfecting. So putting the leak in the world that leads to Faerie next to a totally ordinary suburban family was a genius move on Feist’s part. And his wild hunt wasn’t the sort of vaguely silly, unrealistic, corny kind. It’s the kind that could run you into the ground and then tear your flesh apart.