Moss and Clay by Rebekah Jonesy is book 1 in the Mab’s Doll series. This book introduces the reader to Gillian, a magical construct brought to life through the efforts of Mab, Queen of the Fae, and her human consort. Gillian’s mission is to come to America to rescue and return fae stuck in the modern world. Her sole companion—Pitch, a kelpie who isn’t like other kelpies.
I can see the effort Jonesy has put into researching the mythologies on which she bases these stories. Even better, she then puts her own twist on them that is both unique and still holds true to the myths from which they came. A marvelous example is the Troll King. I won’t ruin the fun and give anything away, but this character is an excellent example of what I mean.
I also love the depth of character each character has. Gillian’s combination of child-like naivete and Otherworldly power is well honed. Pitch is the perfect balance to her in both knowledge and levity. The various humans they meet are wonderfully clueless about Gillian and Pitch’s fae powers, but are valiant in their efforts to help a seemingly helpless woman. And each of them grows throughout the story, adding to the believability of each character.
Finally, I love how Jonesy gives this story such depth with the story arc that it is clear this will be a long-running series. Yet, she balances that well with a story that is complete on its own, no need of additional stories unless the reader continues the adventure. I appreciate the harmony between a book in the series and the overall arc of the series.
The major criticism I have for Moss and Clay is there are parts that feel rushed. I love the development at the beginning with Gillian’s birth and acclimation to life, including modern human life. It’s in the second half where she’s finding her first stray fae to attempt a rescue with that seems like it needs just a bit more development and smoothing out. I would also love to see more of her working on her interactions with humans, since this is really the first time she’s done so on her own.
The other piece that would be nice, though a bonus rather than an outright issue, is if there was a bit more story to the lost fae she discovers. Jonesy does such a brilliant job with the protagonists; I think it would be cool to have similar development with the accidental antagonist, too.
If you love urban fantasies, particularly ones that are rooted in mythologies and explore creatures not typically seen in urban fantasies, this book is for you. It’s a great read that pulls you in, makes you laugh out loud, and leaves you wanting to know what happens next. Seriously, go check it out.