Emma has never had any doubt that she will follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a dragon slayer. So when she is assigned to slay fairies, she is anything but happy, taking it out on Curtis, the attractive but quiet boy who gets “her assignment” instead. When Emma finds herself fighting a dangerous creature that only she can see, she discovers that fairies are a lot more dangerous than anyone ever realized. To defeat this dangerous creature, Emma must dig into her mother’s past and put her dislike of Curtis aside. Otherwise, the entire world will be at risk.
I have always found the idea of special schools for magically gifted kids to be a logical and particularly enjoyable facet of fantasy. The idea of a school where people who can see evil elemental creatures and are specially trained to slay them was what drew me to Fairy Bad Day in the first place. I was disappointed by how little time was spent within the actual school and in classes, but the many other elements of the story worked so well that it made up for it.
Emma is the most well-developed character, helped by the fact that the story is told in first person from her perspective. Ashby had to walk a fine line to keep Emma’s whining from being irritating, but she managed to make her mostly a sympathetic and realistic teen. Her friends are somewhat less developed and I would have enjoyed learning more about them.
There were some aspects of the story that could have been further developed. I would have liked to find out why Emma tested to be a fairy slayer (especially as fairies were considered unkillable). This seemed arbitrary, even if ultimately it worked out for the best. Who was responsible for this placement and did they know about the massive evil Emma would have to deal with? Was there anything inherently special about Emma (or her family history) that made her able to see the creature that no one else could find? It ultimately felt like chance and luck, rather than something inherent in Emma’s history or self.
Despite these complaints, I really enjoyed the book and hope Ashby opts to write another adventure for Emma. It seems like she’s going to lead a fairly dull life now and that would be a shame.