Chalcedony is Book Two in Constance Burris’ Everleaf series. (Psst: The series starts with Book Zero, Black Beauty, in case you’re thinking about picking it up. And I recommend you do. Just look at that cover. )
I am so happy to read about characters of color in a fantasy setting. Although Book One: Coal takes place mostly in the fae realm, Chalcedony includes both the fae and human worlds almost equally. Understandable as a main part of the plot revolves around the barrier between the worlds and if it’s being guarded well enough.
Chalcedony is a queenling in the fairy world—she won’t become a true queen until she has children. She’s wild and undisciplined and headstrong, which makes her an interesting character. I have my bias about Chalcedony from things that occurred in Coal, but Burris is able to make the reader’s allegiances waver from one character to another with great skill.
Even so, a good portion of the story is still about Coal, which is a good thing. Reading about his growth as a character and his physical changes brought a heavy dose of classic fairy tale to the story. I’m also engaged with seeing his increased confidence as he moves through the human world, gaining allies, and an enemy or two.
Also, I enjoyed seeing characters from Black Beauty brought into the tale, providing some moments that lean more towards the horror genre, which I found exciting.
While Chalcedony is marked as a YA book, and Everleaf as a YA series, there are enough themes of betrayal, environmental concerns, and class and culture divides to keep adult readers hooked. I look forward to reading Book Three, where I hope to see some of the plot tendrils Burris has left dangling weaved into the story.