REVIEW: Derailed by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge

Derailed – A Circuit Fae Prequel Novella by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Length (e-book): 100 pages

Release date: 23 January 2018

Amazon US

Syl Skye. Rouen Rivoche. Star-crossed lovers who should be mortal enemies. This is the story of how they met.

A nightly excursion to DC. A goth-rock show. One innocent train ride. That’s all it takes for high school sophomore Syl Skye’s perfectly normal world to come crashing down.

Because unbeknownst to her, she’s a sleeper-princess of the fair Fae—a vessel of Fae power that has yet to Awaken—and there are dark Fae who want her dead, dead, dead.

Rouen Rivoche is one of those dark Fae. Bound to the Agravaine the dark Fae Huntsman who is dedicated to wiping out all sleeper-princesses, Rouen has no choice but to hunt Syl down and spill her blood.

But a chance meeting in a nightclub, a brush of their hands, a lingering look… Despite herself, Rouen is attracted to Syl. And when she lets Syl get away…that’s when their troubles really begin.

After all, every couple has their issues, right?

I received Derailed as an auto-approval from Monster House Books via NetGalley, and it being a shorter novella already on my dashboard, I figured I might as well read it. As a disclaimer, this was my first experience with Eldredge’s Circuit Fae series, so I’ve evaluated at this prequel without consideration of its place in the overarching narrative. This evaluation being that urban fantasy fans will likely enjoy this LGBT take on the traditional urban fantasy forbidden romance, but personally, a few tropes were played too straight for me to take the story seriously.

Syl Skye has the “different from other girls” attitude down to a tee, spending much of the book complaining about how her friends are mean girls and she’s just too weird to fit in. Honestly, this trope is no fault of this book/author in particular, but it’s just one I’ve long learned to be wary of. I’ve been in several schools in multiple countries myself and have yet to find an environment that actually supports the petty sniping that goes on with Syl, Fiann and the rest of the “squad”, who for that matter don’t behave like a squad at all and have the personalities of cardboard. I hate it when stories include girl-on-girl hate just because, especially if the protagonist acts like she’s above it all while continuing to sling mud at her supposedly stuck-up rival.

Bear in mind that during this entire time, Syl is the Cinderellaest Cinderella who ever Cinderella’ed. Daddy’s no longer sending her money so she’s broke and can’t go out for concerts and drinks with her douchebag “friends” anymore. What a horror. To add insult to injury, after she makes her friends, a party of at least five other people, wait for her for half an hour so that she can try in vain to meet up with her idol, they decide they’re done and ditch her to catch the last train of the night home. What terrible friends. I mean, I was just kind of incredulous reading that. Sorry, but they indulged your obsession for 30 minutes (x 5 people = 2.5 hours wasted) and then do the smart thing and leave so that they can goddamn make it home, and you have the gall to frame it as their fault for being selfish bitches? Really?

Then, when you get down to the writing, Syl is simply annoying in that her voice reads like a ten-year-old on her first crush. An example:

‘Ugh, no. She’d think I was out of my mind.

No, she wouldn’t because…Because she felt it too, my heart whispers.

Stop it, heart, ya darn traitor!

Being obsessed and acting all crazy bananapants over a goth-rock star isn’t my jam, no matter what passed between us in those few moments.’

…Inner Goddess, anyone? Bellastasia say hi.

By far the best parts of the novella are the scenes between Rouen/Euphoria and Agravaine. Those are the only times where there’s conflict, both internal and external, that I feel like I should care about. Part of it is the darker, more earnest tone necessary for Rouen’s situation, which I think Eldredge works much better with than the forced “fellow kids” style used for Syl. To be fair, if that style of writing doesn’t bother you, Derailed as a whole probably won’t. It does get bonus points for portraying lesbian heroines who stand up for themselves and their identities (yay!), but other than that it doesn’t work as a piece of fiction.

*Thanks to Monster House Books and NetGalley for providing a review copy of this book! All opinions represented remain my own.*

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