Before Brian Froud’s and Alan Lee’s wildly successful careers, (Froud is best known for his design work on Jim Henson’s films The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, and Lee’s illustrations for The Lord of The Rings books and the Peter Jackson-directed movies are immediately recognizable) they published a collaborative illustration book, part-reference, part-anthropological field guide, on the myths, folklore, and fantasy work of faeries.
The drawings and illustrations easily deserve a 5-star rating. Together they capture a world of mystery, magic, mischievousness, and occasionally maliciousness. Instead of a Tinkerbell-esque one-sided view of faerie, the rich and deep characterization through illustration paints a world that is teeming with life, though elusive to the human eye. The illustrations from each author don’t meld to form a cohesive style, but the duality of the ethereal watercolors paired with the more dramatic drawings only create a more vivid world.
The field notes and collection of regional myths are not near as inspiring as the illustrations, which is why I’m dropping a star rating. Some accounts are rushed, and almost all are extremely minimalist in writing style and content. Think of Faeries as a collection of illustrations and half-rememberings of a time when Fround and Lee accidentally stumbled upon a faerie realm, and, when you least expect it, you may too.
Recommended for both the young and old who see magic in the in-between places!