Fairies: the Myths, Legends and Lore by Skye Alexander explores stories surrounding these mythical beings both ancient and contemporary, and draws heavily on their abundance in literature as beings of delight and wickedness. I initially purchased this books in hopes of building up my reference collection. However, after the first few pages it became clear that this book relies less on academic or even historical sources and more on fancy. This in itself isn’t a bad thing, but buyers looking for a more serious text for research purposes may want to look elsewhere.
The book itself is beautiful. The font is a nice, calming purple and the illustrations scattered throughout the work are very crisp and whimsical. There is definitely some information to be found in this book, but although there is a bibliography most of the sourcing is weak and barely present, and the vast majority of the sources are from fictional works published in the fantasy genre. There were many instances in which the author would lead with something like, “according to legends”, but fail to back the legend up. If anything, the book draws more on the authors own understanding of the things she has learned and believes and her subsequent interpretation of that understanding rather than providing a catalogue of recorded information. Even now I'm not entirely sure if this book should be treated as a work of fiction, non-fiction, or a reference work.
Now, I don’t have anything against this per say. Aside from being pretty, the book is fairly well written and at the very least it can give aspiring writers inspiration and enthusiasts of mythology and folklore a light, entertaining read. There were a couple of interesting ideas and concepts, and some region specific terms that I hadn’t come across before. Just know that if you’re planning to purchase this book that it’s written more in the vein of Candlewick Press’s Ology series and less in the vein of a Norton anthology.