June 24th is recognized as International Fairy (or Faerie) Day. This fun holiday was created to celebrate and honor these popular creatures often featured in fantasy, folklore, and mythological stories.
Fun fact: while the word “fairy” generally refers to a kinder, friendlier creature of fairykind, a “faery” is usually a creature with more evil or sinister intentions.
Here at Bookstr, one of our favorite ways to celebrate these fun holidays is by reading, of course. So take some time today to enjoy a fascinating fairy/faery story!
1. A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
Shakespeare’s timeless play details many of the various inner-workings of love: trials, passion, pain, heartbreak, and desire. Two prominent figures from mythology, Theseus and Hippolyta, are about to wed. In the woods outside of Athens, four other characters pair up into couples, but not without creating two love triangles in the process.
Also residing in these woods are Oberon and Titania, the king and queen of fairyland, who are battling for custody over an orphan. Thanks to a hobgoblin named Robin Goodfellow (aka Puck), Oberon uses magic to make Titania fall in love with a weaver called Bottom. Puck turns Bottom’s human head into that of a donkey. Before the play’s conclusion, Bottom and his friends stage the play “Pyramus and Thisbe.”
2. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
When Jude was seven years old, her parents were murdered and she and her sisters were taken away to the High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude desires to belong to this world, even though she is a mortal. However, many of the fey abhor humans, especially Prince Cardan, son of the High King.
To earn herself a place at the High Court, Jude must defy Cardan, and face the consequences. In Jude’s quest, she ends up tangled within “palace intrigues and deceptions,” surprising herself with her own ability for bloodshed. When the emergence of a civil war threatens the High Court of Faerie, Jude must form a dangerous alliance to save herself, her sisters, and the Faerie.
3. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
When a mysterious young boy flies into the bedroom of Wendy Darling and her two brothers, the three children find themselves in the midst of adventures beyond their wildest imaginations. The boy, Peter Pan, is chasing his lost shadow. Wendy manages to catch the shadow, and Peter Pan offers the children to come with him to visit his home: Neverland.
During their time there, Wendy and her brothers meet the Lost Boys, a fairy named Tinker Bell, and the evil Captain Hook. For over a hundred years, Barrie’s classic story has made readers of all ages dream of escaping to a world where one never grows up.
4. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Ever since Meghan Chase’s father disappeared ten years ago, she’s always felt as if something were off in her life. Now, her brother is missing and Meghan learns the truth of their disappearances: she is the daughter of a faery king and “a pawn in a deadly war.”
Meghan must now decide how far she’s willing to go to save someone she loves, stop an evil creature no faery will meet, and fall in love with a prince who would prefer to see her dead than return her feelings.
Bea is just a cabbage fairy but dreams of one day becoming a Fairy Godmother. When the opportunity arises for Bea to prove herself, she’s determined to prevail. Creating a Happy Ever After tale can’t be that difficult, and doesn’t every girl wish for a handsome man to rescue her? Right? Well, maybe not.
Bea’s heroine wants no part in Bea’s story. Her handsome prince only has eyes for her stepsister, who just happens to be plotting to overthrow their kingdom. These complications, among others, cause Bea to realize that these humans have their own goals and their own plans of achieving those goals.
However, if Bea doesn’t successfully complete her task, she will face a fate much worse than falling into a hundred-year slumber. Bea must decide what “Happy Ever After” truly means, as well as whose “Happy Ever After” she will fight for.
6. Lament by Maggie Stiefvater
Deirdre Monaghan is shy, but an exceptional musician. Soon, she will discover that she’s a cloverhand, a person who can see faeries. She begins falling for a strange boy who randomly appears in her normal, suburban life. This boy, Luke, is actually a gallowglass, a faery assassin. Another faerie, Aodhan is also tracking Deirdre.
Though the boys are sworn enemies, Luke and Aodhan are both on dangerous missions from the Faerie Queen. They must kill Deirdre before the Fae are drawn to her by her music, and ultimately threaten the Queen’s reign. Also mixed in this strange faery tale is Deirdre’s best friend, James. Although Deirdre had wished for a more exciting life, she didn’t plan on being caught in a real-life, centuries-old faerie war.
7. La Belle Dame sans Merci by John Keats
In the ballad, “La Belle Dame sans Merci” (“The Beautiful Lady Without Mercy”), an unnamed speaker asks a dying knight what pains him. The knight responds that he encountered a beautiful woman who looked upon him as if she loved him. This lady (“a faery’s child”) led the knight to her cave, where she sang him to sleep. The knight had nightmares where he was informed he had been enslaved by a beautiful, but “cruel” woman. After the knight awoke, he found the lady gone and himself alone on a hillside.