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The Frightening Fae of Fiction

Many of us are used to seeing fairies in a very specific light-beautiful, magical, and most importantly, benevolent. But not every fairy is quite so…nice. In the dark debut You Let Me In from Camilla Bruce, readers see the Fair Folk in a very different light. Check out our list of the most frightening fae in literature below!

You Let Me In by Camilla Bruce

Cassandra Tipp is dead…or is she?

Cassandra Tipp has left behind no body—just her massive fortune, and one final manuscript. Then again, there are enough bodies in her past—her husband Tommy Tipp, whose mysterious disembowelment has never been solved, and a few years later, the shocking murder-suicide of her father and brother.

Cassandra Tipp will tell you a story—but it will come with a terrible price. What really happened, out there in the woods—and who has Cassie been protecting all along? Read on, if you dare…

 

The Stolen: An American Faerie Tale by Bishop O’Connell

When her daughter Fiona is snatched from her bed, Caitlin’s entire world crumbles. Once certain that faeries were only a fantasy, Caitlin must now accept that these supernatural creatures do exist—and that they have traded in their ancient swords and horses for modern guns and sports cars. Hopelessly outmatched, she accepts help from a trio of unlikely heroes: Eddy, a psychiatrist and novice wizard; Brendan, an outcast Fian warrior; and Dante, a Magister of the fae’s Rogue Court. Moving from the busy streets of Boston’s suburbs to the shadowy land of Tír na nÓg, Caitlin and her allies will risk everything to save Fiona. But can this disparate quartet conquer their own inner demons and outwit the dark faeries before it’s too late?

 

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

Lovely Sorcha is the seventh child and only daughter of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters. Bereft of a mother, she is comforted by her six brothers who love and protect her. Sorcha is the light in their lives, they are determined that she know only contentment.

But Sorcha’s joy is shattered when her father is bewitched by his new wife, an evil enchantress who binds her brothers with a terrible spell, a spell which only Sorcha can lift–by staying silent. If she speaks before she completes the quest set to her by the Fair Folk and their queen, the Lady of the Forest, she will lose her brothers forever.

 

The Changeling by Victor LaValle

When Apollo Kagwa’s father disappeared, he left his son a box of books and strange recurring dreams. Now Apollo is a father himself—and as he and his wife, Emma, settle into their new lives as parents, exhaustion and anxiety start to take their toll. Apollo’s old dreams return and Emma begins acting odd. At first Emma seems to be exhibiting signs of postpartum depression. But before Apollo can do anything to help, Emma commits a horrific act and vanishes. Thus begins Apollo’s quest to find a wife and child who are nothing like he’d imagined. His odyssey takes him to a forgotten island, a graveyard full of secrets, a forest where immigrant legends still live, and finally back to a place he thought he had lost forever.

 

Ironskin by Tina Connolly

Jane Eliot wears an iron mask. It’s the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her cheek. When a carefully worded listing appears for a governess to assist with a “delicate situation”—a child born during the Great War—Jane is certain the child is fey-cursed, and that she can help. Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of a new life—and discovers just how far she will go to become whole again.

 

Never Contented Things by Sarah Porter

Bound by haunting tragedies, Ksenia Adderley and Joshua Korensky have shared a home as foster siblings since they were children. As teens, they’ve grown even closer. Some say unnaturally so. With Ksenia’s eighteenth birthday approaching, their guardians expect her to move out. They want to free Josh of his obsession with the foster-sister whom they regard as a strange, unhealthy influence. But they don’t understand the depths of Josh’s feelings for Ksenia and how desperate he is to ensure they stay together—forever.

5 thoughts on “The Frightening Fae of Fiction

  1. There’s a healthy tradition of scary fae in the writings of Alex Bledsoe, Holly Black, and the shared world of Bordertown, but the creepiest has to be Whisper Who Dares in John Ford’s “The Last Hot Time” (which references the Borderlands).

  2. The Fae were pretty scary in Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell as well. I would definitely add that one to the list.

  3. I’m always happy when people realize that not all fae are happy-go-lucky flower pixies. A friend once said that Faeries are like mushrooms: some are nice, some can take you to magical places, and some will just kill you.

  4. How can you even *think* about Frightening Fae and Elf Defamation without mentioning Terry Pratchett’s “Lords and Ladies”?
    If you look at traditional stories the Fae are tricky, cruel, capricious, superior, selfish, and amoral much or even most of the time.

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