Welcome to my book worlds FAQ! This is the page where I will answer common questions about my two fae series. With The Fair Isle Trilogy and Entangled with Fae being interconnected, there’s been a lot of information that has been delivered across all the books, and not all of it is repeated in each book. I also often get asked about the recommended reading order for these books. This is a great place to come for answers!
For clarity, The Fair Isle Trilogy encompasses three books revolving around Evelyn Fairfield: To Carve a Fae Heart, To Wear a Fae Crown, and To Spark a Fae War. Entangled with Fae encompasses a series of standalone romances/fairytale retellings featuring a different couple in each book. At this time, it includes Curse of the Wolf King, Heart of the Raven Prince, Kiss of the Selkie, and A Taste of Poison
Have a question of your own? Shoot me an email at Tessonja@gmail.com
WHAT IS THE RECOMMENDED READING ORDER FOR THESE BOOKS?
I often get asked 1.) Which books must be read in order? 2.) How are my two fae series interconnected? 3.) Do I have to read The Fair Isle Trilogy before reading the Entangled with Fae books? 4.) Can I REALLY read the Entangled with Fae books out of order? 5.) If I were to read my first book from you, what should I choose? 6.) Can you just tell me what order YOU recommend I read all your books in?
So I’m going to answer all of these questions! Here’s the info that should explain everything you need to know…
- Which books MUST be read in order? The only books that have to be read in order are the three books in the Fair Isle Trilogy (Book One: To Carve a Fae Heart, Book Two: To Wear a Fae Crown, and Book Three: To Spark a Fae War.) You can read these as individual books, or in their single volume omnibus that complies all three in one book.
- How are the two series interconnected? The Fair Isle Trilogy takes place twenty years before the Entangled with Fae books and there ARE some crossover characters. Elliot Rochester (the male MC in Curse of the Wolf King) and Prince Franco (the male MC in Heart of the Raven Prince) are originally introduced in The Fair Isle Trilogy. However they are both re-introduced from scratch in their respective fairytale retellings, specifically so readers can enjoy those books as a complete standalone. Additionally, there are several smaller cameos in my fairytale retellings from characters that were also introduced in the trilogy. Again, they are re-introduced in the fairytale retellings and you don’t need to know anything about them in order to enjoy and understand the book. All crossover characters are simply amplified by their extra appearances in the other books. Think of it as an Easter egg, not a necessity.
- Do I have to read The Fair Isle Trilogy before reading the Entangled with Fae books? Even though The Fair Isle Trilogy takes place twenty years before the Entangled with Fae books, you do not have to read the trilogy first. A lot of my readers start with one of my fairytale retellings and then go back and read the trilogy if they fall in love with Faerwyvae.
- Are the Entangled with Fae books interconnected? Can I REALLY read them out of publication order? Is there a chronological timeline? Yes, you really can read the Entangled with Fae books out of order! They are lightly connected, only in that there is a chronological timeline, and the next book’s main female character is briefly introduced in the previous book. However, reading the books out of order will not change a reader’s enjoyment or understanding of the story. They are meant to be read as complete self-contained standalones. You may get a peek or see mentions about previous books’ couples, but since these are fairytale retellings with a Happily Ever After guarantee, it’s not necessarily a spoiler 😉 In terms of chronological timeline, The Entangled with Fae books each take place a year apart, with Curse of the Wolf King taking place first, Heart of the Raven Prince a year after that, then Kiss of the Selkie a year after that, and so on. Still, I repeat! You don’t have to read them in order! There is no overarching plot that carries on from one book to the next, no epic villain that spans the series. I promise, they really are standalones!
- If I’m reading my very first book from you, which book should I start with? That depends! If you prefer epic fantasy, love fae series like ACOTAR or The Cruel Prince, and enjoy books that have a strong enemies-to-lovers romantic subplot, but one that goes alongside an epic fantasy main plot, then start with To Carve a Fae Heart. Or if you want to sample my writing style, try my prequel short story to that series, To Rule a Fae Throne, which is free to my newsletter subscribers. OR do you prefer romance as the main plot but still love fae, enemies-to-lovers, fierce heroines, and snarky banter? Love fairytale retellings with a unique twist? Then start with Curse of the Wolf King, my Beauty and the Beast retelling. Or if you have a favorite fairytale, choose one of the ones I’ve written! So far I have Beauty and the Beast (Curse of the Wolf King), Cinderella (Heart of the Raven Prince), The Little Mermaid (Kiss of the Selkie), and Snow White (A Taste of Poison)
- Ok, but can you PLEASE just tell me YOUR recommended reading order? With all that said above, if I were to recommend a specific reading order, I would go with chronological order (which is also publication order)…
CHRONOLOGICAL/PUBLICATION READING ORDER
THE FAIR ISLE TRILOGY – either individual books or single volume omnibus. Note: the omnibus does not contain the short stories, but the shorts are free for my newsletter subscribers. You can find all the books including the shorts here.
- To Rule a Fae Throne (Book 0, short story prequel novella from Aspen’s POV – optional)
- To Carve a Fae Heart (Book 1)
- To Wear a Fae Crown (Book 2)
- To Kill a Fae King (Book 1.5-2.5, short novella set from Amelie’s POV – optional)
- To Spark a Fae War (Book 3)
- Curse of the Wolf King: A Beauty and the Beast Retelling
- Heart of the Raven Prince: A Cinderella Retelling
- Kiss of the Selkie: A Little Mermaid Retelling
- A Taste of Poison: A Snow White Retelling
ARE THE ENTANGLED WITH FAE BOOKS A TRILOGY? IS KISS OF THE SELKIE THE LAST BOOK IN THAT SERIES?
No, Entangled with Fae is not a trilogy, which means there will be more to look forward to! I haven’t committed to how long the series will ultimately be, but with fairytale retellings AND standalones, the possibilities are endless. I may, however, take some time between later releases in this series so that I can also pursue other books that I want to write. So while the first three books released every 4 months in 2021, the rest of the releases might not come as closely together.
ARE YOU GOING TO WRITE MORE BOOKS ABOUT EVIE/ASPEN (or the established couples in the Entangled with Fae books)?
This question usually involves curiosity about what my characters are up to after their “happily ever after.” While I would eventually like to write a collection of short stories featuring weddings or babies or other sweet snippets from the “after” portion of their happily ever, I do not intend to add more full-length books or stories with my established couples as the main characters. Why? Well, by the time my couples get their happily ever afters, they’ve been through A LOT (because I’m evil) and I feel like they deserve to just enjoy their lives together. And while it’s fun to revisit my beloved characters, the truth is that the heart of every good full-length story is CONFLICT. And I have no desire to stir any more conflict between Evie and Aspen (or Gemma and Elliot, Ember and Franco, etc.) because I left them in a good place and that’s how I like it. It’s time for them to be happy, peaceful, and enjoying the mundane beauty of life after all he lessons they’ve learned and hurts they’ve endured. BUT there are still several other characters who haven’t gotten their HEA yet, and there’s a chance they could be featured in future books. I also LOVE featuring cameos of my happy couples/characters across the books in these two series.
HOW STEAMY IS YOUR ROMANCE?
I like when readers refer to my romance as “tasteful smut” where it’s spicier than fade-to-black, but not explicit or graphic. Comp titles for the steam levels are books like Serpent and Dove or A Deal with the Elf King. The sex happens on-page, but I don’t go into detail or name any body parts aside from the word “breast” and everything else is more suggestive or artfully described. And the “finale” of the sex isn’t overly detailed either and there’s an equal focus between sensual pleasure and emotional feeling during these scenes. I like to think of it as “open-door but there’s a sheer curtain in the way.” On the Sarah J Mass scale, my books are close to the steam levels of A Court of Thorns and Roses, but nowhere near as steamy or explicit as A Court of Silver Flames. Depending on your personal preferences and what you consider explicit, you may consider my books very spicy…or not at all. It can be a difficult question to answer!
HOW OLD ARE YOUR MAIN CHARACTERS COMPARED TO THEIR LOVE INTERESTS? (Do you write about minors hooking up with creepy old immortal dudes?)
I do not write books about underage minors getting together with adults. All my main characters in my fae books are at least 18 and have already become sexually active outside the relationship featured in their respective books. Even though I write upper-YA/new adult, I make an effort to feature sexually awakened characters where the featured relationship provides a new level of intimacy and sexual maturity. It’s a different kind of “first” than their “first time.” This is just the type of story I prefer to tell.
When the love interest is immortal, their emotional age is similar to the main character. Since my fae characters age very slowly, there isn’t a wide discrepancy between a couple’s physical appearance either. So even when several hundred or even a thousand years stand between a human-fae couple, their apparent outward ages and maturity are well-matched. The same goes when the main character is the immortal and the love interest is human (as is the case with Maisie and Dorian in Kiss of the Selkie.)
In summary, none of my couples feature minors in relationships with adults, all my main characters are legal adults age 18 or 19, and the immortal love interests look and act the same ages as their human (or half-human etc) lovers.
World Building Questions
(SPOILER WARNING – SPOILERS AHEAD, PROCEED WITH CAUTION – although I do my best to keep it vague!)
NOTE: For the sake of clarity, I will refer to The Fair Isle Trilogy as generation one, and Entangled with Fae as generation two.
CAN YOU SUMMARIZE THE PREMISE OF YOUR WORLD?
In generation one, the Fair Isle is an island divided by a wall that separates the humans from the fae. The fae side is ruled by the fae and is called Faerwyvae. It is split into eleven courts, each ruled by a single ruler. The human side of the Fair Isle is called Eisleigh and is ruled by mainland Bretton and its monarch, King Grigory. For the last thousand years, a treaty between the humans and fae has been maintained by something called the Hundred Year Reaping. Every hundred years, two human girls are sent to a different court in Faerwyvae to be married to fae royalty. In return, that court blesses the family/families of the girls with some kind of boon. Fae and humans are otherwise not permitted to cross the wall or interact with each other outside of ambassador duties.
In generation two, Faerwyvae now encompasses the entire isle (and has replaced the name Fair Isle) and is ruled by the fae. Twenty years ago (in generation one), the fae won a war against King Grigory’s army that would have obliterated the isle if the fae hadn’t intervened and protected their kind AND the humans on the isle. The isle is now independent of mainland rule, and the wall that once separated the human lands from the fae lands now surrounds the isle as a magical perimeter. Only those of pure fae blood may cross it. So humans must have a fae escort to leave or enter the isle. Fae and humans now share the same lands. There are still eleven courts, but the territories have shifted since generation one, and some courts are still adapting to their new locations. Each court is ruled by two rulers, one unseelie and one seelie. They rule from two separate palaces and oversee separate aspects of Faerwyvae. The seelie ruler interacts with humankind and deals more with day-to-day issues, while the unseelie ruler oversees the natural/spiritual/wild aspects and creatures of Faerwyvae.
HOW DOES YOUR MAGIC SYSTEM WORK?
My magic system is elemental in nature and involves earth, air, fire, and water. Most fae have an affinity for a single element, but many can utilize multiple. Fae rulers gain the strongest connection to Faerwyvae’s magic and can utilize all four elements to varying degrees.
Each element has a correspondence that directs how the magic manifests for its user:
- Earth: logic, home, safety, security, physical matter, earth minerals, dirt, plants, nourishment.
- Air: intellect, thought, ideas, flight, motion and movement through time and space, communication, creative expression, sound.
- Fire: passion, rage, anger, creative birthing of ideas and things, heat, warmth, light, life force energy.
- Water: emotion, love, grief, fluidity, hydration, oceans, lakes, and streams.
Each court has an affinity for a primary element as follows:
- Earthen: earth
- Wind: air
- Sea: water
- Fire: fire
- Autumn: earth
- Winter: air
- Spirng: water
- Summer: fire
- Solar: fire
- Lunar: water
- Star: air
The magic is also deeply connected and interwoven with the spiritual realm, which is called the Twelfth Court or the All of All. This is a myserteous aspect of magic and has its own sentience, much like a deity. The Twelfth Court often acts as a parallel dimension outside of time and space. This is where Evie goes many times in the Fair Isle Trilogy when she’s learning about magic and her abilities. This is also where Gemma goes at the end of Curse of the Wolf King when she tries to break Elliot’s curse. There is much about the Twelfth Court/All of All that not even the fae understand, and most accept that it is not a thing to be understood, only to be honored and respected.
Magic is also woven to one’s personal intent. It is how bargains are evaded without being broken, or likewise, how magical punishments can be delivered (like in the case of a bargain violation where one feels guilt even though they haven’t outright broken a bargain), and how fae are able to deceive without lying. It also helps one navigate and utilize magic, by directing one’s intent with a specific result.
HOW DOES HUMAN AGING WORK IN FAERWYVAE (example: will Gemma age and die before Mr. Rochester)?
The short answer is, no, Gemma will not age like a regular human. The long answer is…
Faerwyvae’s magic is powerful enough to affect humans. Only those with fae blood can wield it, but humans can still be touched by it, and it certainly slows their aging.
In generation one, humans and fae are separated by a wall that contains (most of) Faerwyvae’s magic to the fae lands. For a thousand years, the only humans who ever spent time on the fae side of the wall were the girls taken for the Hundred Year Reaping. As Evie discovers in To Carve a Fae Heart, the girls from the reaping age slowly and live very long lives, and their half-fae children are as immortal as a pureblood fae. However, none of the women before Evie were cherished by their fae mates. Most of the time, they were neglected. Those who were most neglected (or heartbroken) lived the shortest lives/aged like a normal human, while the ones who had closer relationships with the fae lived longer. This is the first clue that humans in Faerwyvae age much slower, and the closer and more cared for they are by the fae, the longer they live. But at this point, it still hasn’t been tested much, since human-fae relations are considered taboo (outside the arranged marriages from the Reaping.)
In generation two, the humans and fae are mingling far more than ever before, and Faerwyvae’s magic now covers the entire isle. As it’s only been twenty years since unification, human-fae relations are still new. Both humans and fae are still working on overcoming their prejudices against each other. But as Gemma mentions in Curse of the Wolf King, there are rumors now that human aging slows in Faerwyvae, and she wonders if her aging will slow too. And, yes, it will. All humans age slower now, but those in close relationships with the fae will age the slowest of all.
Long story short, your favorite human-fae couples have VERY long and happy lifespans ahead of them.
DO THE COUPLES IN YOUR BOOKS GET MARRIED AND HAVE KIDS?
I’m a romantic at heart and always prefer a happily ever after ending over a tragic or bittersweet one. I like to imagine all my couples going on to enjoy very fulfilling relationships, getting married, and having kids.
WHEN THE ROYAL FAE TAKE A HUSBAND/WIFE, DOES THAT PERSON BECOME KING/QUEEN WITH THEM?
The short answer is, sure, they can. But the long answer is becoming royal through marriage doesn’t have the same meaning as it does in the human world. Because…
In generation one, each court is ruled by a single ruler and has to be approved by the Council of Eleven Courts. A ruler could have a royal mate or not, but one ruler is recognized by the council (male, female, non-gendered, king, queen, it doesn’t matter so long as there is only one.) So let’s say Queen Tris of Spring appointed her mate as king, they could rule together and make decisions together, but she’d still be the only ruler recognized by the Council of Eleven Courts, and only she would be present during council meetings. So while it’s a sign of respect for a royal to name their partner a ruling royal as well, they don’t have as much influence with the council.
In generation two, there are now two rulers in each court, a seelie and unseelie, and they rule from two different palaces and oversee separate aspects of the court. It is similar to generation one in that a royal can still appoint their partner as king or queen and rule at their side, but again, only one ruler from the unseelie/seelie reign in each court is considered the ruler.
HOW DOES ROYAL SUCCESSION WORK?
In generation one, bloodline succession, much like a human monarchy, is followed. However, it is overseen and approved by the Council of Eleven Courts. The council has ultimate say by majority vote who rules or who must step down. At the end of The Fair Isle Trilogy, the council is overthrown and the fae revert to what is called the Old Ways.
A note on the Old ways: this is the ancient fae tradition where royals are granted Alpha status and rule by permission of the spiritual realm (see the question on my magic system.) A ruler would only be appointed if they gained the approval of the All of All, which is a sacred spiritual practice that can be symbolic or physical. This is sometimes done in combat, by which the winner believes they’ve been blessed with strength from the All of All. Or the right to rule can be earned by going to the Twelfth Court (in a sort of meditative state) where they bring back a physical symbol to prove they’ve been deemed Alpha. Any ruler can be challenged at any time, and the All of All chooses their victor in the ways explained above. The stronger and more respected the ruler is, the less likely anyone would dare challenge them. Once appointed as Alpha by the All of All, it is rare that the blessing will be revoked without due cause. Sometimes a fae can decide it’s time to step down, in which case they will welcome challengers to their throne (which is in most cases a blood heir)
In generation two, the fae rule with respect to the Old Ways (see paragraph above). There are two rulers in each court, a seelie and unseelie king or queen. There is no longer a Council of Eleven Courts to oversee appointment of rulers, but there is an Alpha Council, which is a cooperative board of Faerwyvae’s rulers. They meet regularly to agree on isle-wide issues, rules, and to oversee any disciplinary actions needed against misbehaving rulers on the council. The kings and queens of each court continue to value bloodline succession, especially now that the fae are ruling the humans and know bloodline succession is what humans respect. They are focused on keeping their rule strong and respected so the throne is less likely to be challenged by other fae, or disrespected/rebelled against by humans. The more unrest there is amongst humans in any given court, the more the fae rulers will try to cater to what humans respect. The fae continue to appoint blood heirs, but when it comes time to challenge a ruler for their throne, it isn’t always their heir who gains the blessing of the All of All (although most often it is.)
CAN YOU CLARIFY THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SEELIE/UNSEELIE?
I use these terms in two different ways throughout both my series.
On a physical level, seelie is what is sometimes referred to as “high fae.” These are humanoid in form, although many maintain animal characteristics, or other visual representations of their home courts/magical affinity (like Aspen’s antlers). Unseelie is what one might refer to as “lesser fae.” In my world building, all fae were once unseelie and only adopted humanoid forms after humans came to the isle and shared food, clothing, and human language with them. When a fae is in one’s unseelie form, they tend to look like an animal or some other form of wild fairy creature (think sylphs, brownies, kelpies, puca, pixies, etc.)
The fae can shift between these two forms at will. Some choose one as their primary form and rarely shift, while others shift often. Those who prefer their seelie form tend to live similar lifestyles to humans, in humanlike dwellings, doing humanlike activities. They also feel human emotions like grief, anger, passion, and love to more extremes than they do in unseelie form. While those who prefer their unseelie forms are more likely to be found in the forest and keeping to their own kind. They tend to follow their instincts more than emotions, and their emotions are less extreme.
When a fae considers themselves seelie or unseelie, it usually has more to do with one’s values than the form they most often take (although their primary form can often coincide with their values, like in the case of King Elliot/Flauvis). In summary, being politically seelie means they value seelie things (humanoid form, housing, clothing, vast array of emotion) and being politically unseelie means they value unseelie things (freedom, nature, the Old Ways, being left to live how one likes.) More on that subject…
On a political level, things get a little complicated.
In generation one, each court is ruled by a single ruler, and that ruler takes a stance on whether they are politically seelie or unseelie. The seelie rulers are concerned with keeping the humans on the isle, for if humans are eradicated, it would be impossible for the fae to keep their seelie forms (since seelie form is dependent on human influence.) The unseelie rulers want less human influence, and some even wanted them to be annihilated and banished from the isle. The fae living in each court can choose whether to take on a seelie or unseelie form, but their rulers often implement their own rules, and the radical rulers can take things to extremes IF they get permission from the council. Balance on the council (between seelie and unseelie rulers) is imperative to ensuring everyone is able to live their lives as they please. This is why Aspen constantly shifts his political stance when he feels the council begin to lean too far in any direction.
In generation two, the highly controlling council is no more, and each court has both seelie and unseelie representation in their rulers. The seelie ruler oversees matters of day-to-day, especially when it comes to the humans and seelie fae. The unseelie ruler oversees matters of nature and advocates for the unseelie fae.
DO YOUR BOOKS HAVE FATED MATES? IF NOT, WHAT DOES “MATE” MEAN TO YOUR CHARACTERS?
My world building does not include fated mates. When a fae refers to someone as their mate, they are saying that they are in a long-term and committed relationship with that person. If they perform a mate ceremony, it is similar to a human wedding and is a public declaration of their commitment to that person. A fae’s mate can be human or fae, and some fae have multiple mates at once, while others are monogamous. A mate relationship can be dissolved at will.
I do, however, have a Bond in my world buidling. It is not a mating bond, but something that has to do with the magic of giving one’s true name. When a human “gives” a fae their true name (by stating or affirming they’ve given their true name, just saying their name alone is harmless) the fae has control over that human and can compel them to follow their orders. The same is the case if a fae states to a human that they “give” their true name, which results in the human having control over the fae (this case is very rare, for fae know better than to give their true name to a human, but are often clever at tricking humans to give them theirs.) The same can also be done from a fae to another fae.
When two parties EXCHANGE true names by each stating that they give their name to the other, a Bond is formed, which basically means they have control over each other. It is very rarely done, and is mainly used in alliances as a sign of mutual fear and respect, most often between political allies or any situation where such an extreme demonstration of goodwill is required. The Bond can be performed between two fae or a human and a fae.
In generation one, the most common occasion that the Bond is performed is during the Hundred Year Reaping. It is performed by at least one of the two girls given over in each Reaping and the fae she marries as a sign of respect and that the treaty is being upheld. When Evie and Aspen perform the Bond, they experience things that other Bonded pairs have never seen before (like the ability to see/hear each other across time and space), and it is because they love each other. This is the closest thing my world building has to a mating bond. Mine, however, isn’t controlled by destiny. It is simply a result of two people who love each other exchanging their true names.
In generation two, the giving or taking of one’s true name is illegal, making the Bond obsolete as a result. Although, I’m sure some lovelorn couples still use it to demonstrate their intensely passionate connection.
ARE THE FAERWYVAE BOOKS IN ANY WAY RELATED TO THE PROPHECY OF THE FORGOTTEN FAE SERIES/LAND OF LELA?
The short answer is no, the Prophecy of the Forgotten Fae trilogy is not directly related to The Fair Isle Trilogy or Entangled with Fae. Not in any obvious or story-centric way, that is. The longer answer is that when I first created the world of Faerwyvae/the Fair Isle, I had it in my head that Faerwyvae’s ancient history is linked to Lela’s. I wrote the first Faerwyvae book (To Carve a Fae Heart) shortly after I finished writing my no-longer-published series, the Lela Trilogy (which is now rewritten and released as Prophecy of the Forgotten Fae.) And there are some intentional similarities between the two worlds–mysterious land masses inhabited by fae that were suddenly discovered by humans hundreds of years ago–all because, in my mind, both magical lands once existed in parallel realms, and their origins came from a singular historical event that is revealed later in the Prophecy of the Forgotten Fae trilogy. That event (which I don’t want to spoil for Prophecy readers) impacted multiple realms. In the Prophecy trilogy, the characters think it only created repercussions for their realm, but in my mind, it also created a ripple effect on at least one more–which was Faerwyvae/the Fair Isle. In essence, Faerwyvae/the Fair Isle was not originally part of the human world and was instead suddenly forced from its original realm into the human one due to *the event*. Please note that it is unlikely that this explanation will ever make it onto the page in any Faerwyvae book, but now you know my secret worldbuilding connection.