This was another nice addition to the series. With a human/fairy pairing, the dynamics were familiar, but I had some trouble getting into the story to begin with. Mostly, it was because the MC, David, had serious chemistry with Flor, his best friend. I was so confused, for the first 10% thinking about how much chemistry and history they had, the way Flor and David acted around each other, that I found it almost impossible to think of David with anyone else. Especially since Tulip was only mentioned briefly throughout that time and seemed secondary in David's attention, until he finally showed up wearing mistletoe at the party.
Again, there were no chapter headings anywhere and for a 200 page book, I just can't understand it. I mean, knowing how many chapters there are and being able to track how far into one you've gone so far, warns me that I can be heading for a break soon. I use these breaks to write my notes and stop to think about what I've read so far, but that's impossible when there are no chapter headings.
When it comes to characters, we get Frangipani and Adam in brief glimpses (from the very short story Frangipani and the Very Shiny Boy) but not enough to really warrant why they needed the short story on top of their mentions in this book. We also get to meet Clematis, who was Arthur's previous boyfriend/fling in A Boy and His Dragon. He's pretty slutty here, unfortunately, and that was something that kind of frustrated me. Despite all the talk about not stereotyping fairies in multiple books of the series, Clematis, Frangipani and Flor are the most stereotypical characters - flighty, slutty and with no filter.
I had an issue with some of the descriptions of David, who is mixed-race. First off, describing someone as "mixed" out of context was highly confusing and really didn't work for me. But then it was followed by constant coffee/food colour comparisons for his skin and it was just something that, personally, rubbed me up the wrong way. Next to the fairy stereotypes it just felt like it had been gone about in the wrong way.
Saying that, I did like the strength of David and Flor's friendship; I just wish it hadn't been based on a sexual/romantic history with each other, which was obvious from page one, but wasn't actually mentioned until about 80%. It kind of felt, in this story, that fairies couldn't be friends with other fairies or humans unless they'd had sex with each other (shown by the constant references of how slutty both Flor and Clem are, as well as Clem saying "it's their turn now" in regards to David having slept with most of them, and also the fact that Clem has slept with most of the group, too). It just felt like it undid all of that equality and 'we're not slutty' messages that were peppered throughout the series so far.
The story jumps from one big event to another, mostly months apart, perhaps to show how little time David gives to his friends or perhaps to show that they're still great friends no matter how little they see each other. Either way, it left me feeling a little uninterested in David, who wasn't a great friend and was put across as this lonely, shy geek, though he never came across that way to me in the same way that Arthur did, in book 2. It felt too much like David just wasn't interested in anyone else, that he was selfish and self-opinionated, that he only cared about his own life and opinions, proven multiple times where he questioned where people where when he needed them only to be reminded that he was unreachable himself.
I did cry at one point, when David and Tulip had their big confrontation, but that was because I really loved Tulip. He really reminded me of Cal, from book 1 in the way that he was a little bit of a flibbertigibbet, but he wasn't the typical stereotype and he fought back against them when he could. I totally connected with him, his feelings, his needs and he was what kept me reading. I especially loved the way that Flor and Tulip interacted with each other. I'd like to read Flor's story, eventually, because it would be interesting to see him away from being the stereotypical clingy-bestie always hanging off David. The times I loved him most were when he showed some maturity.
The 'mis-communication' theme for this series was still present, but in a much more subtle way that made it more interesting to follow. Although David and Tulip had spent years tiptoeing around each other, never really talking about the elephant in the room that they each only thought they could see, the mis-communication didn't continue long. It came up early in the story and was routinely argued about, though it was other people who stopped them from saying the important stuff, by interrupting at the right time.
I loved that Bertie and Arthur were back, even for a little while, but it's still frustrating to know that there's no hint of what the baby is or is called. We never got answers to that, so I'm hoping it will come up eventually. I found it interesting that Bertie wanted to meet Clematis and I'm intrigued to read his story, whenever it comes along.
Overall, it was a nice story but not as strong as the others. I'm going to keep reading, because I want to find out about the side characters that we've practically been promised will have their own story, but with only one novel left and one short, neither of which feature these characters, I think it's going to be a long wait.