By Fairy Means or Foul (NeRdyWYRM’s Review)

review master
Title: By Fairy Means or Foul: A Starfig Investigations Novel
Author: Meghan Maslow
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: September 29, 2017
Genre(s): Paranormal Romance, Fantasy Romance
Page Count: 280 pages
Reviewed by:
Heat Level: 2.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The last thing half-dragon, half-fairy private investigator Twig Starfig wants to do is retrieve a stolen enchanted horn from a treacherous fae, but there’s no denying the dazzlingly gorgeous unicorn who asks Twig to do just that. Literally, no denying, because compelling the reluctant detective is all part of a unicorn’s seductive magic.

To add to his woes, Twig is saddled with the unicorn’s cheeky indentured servant, Quinn Broomsparkle. Dragons are supposed to want to eat humans, but Twig’s half-dragon side only wants to gobble up Quinn in a more . . . personal way. Making matters worse, it’s obvious the smokin’ hot but untrustworthy sidekick is hiding something. Something big. And not what’s in his trousers. In the PI business, that means trouble with a capital Q.

Throw in gads of zombies, a creepy ghost pirate ship, a malfunctioning magic carpet, and Twig’s overbearing fairy father’s demands to live up to the illustrious Starfig name. Naturally, an old but abiding enemy chooses this time to resurface, too. Those inconveniences Twig can handle. The realization he’s falling for a human who isn’t free to return his affections and whose life may hang on the success of his latest case?

Not so much.

Twisted Unicorns and Fairy-land Family Fun

I laughed and commiserated with Twig Starfig and Quinn the human in this one. It wasn’t as funny as I think it tried to be—it was too dark for that on its foundation—BUT! It definitely had its moments. I didn’t enjoy this one as much as say, TJ Klune’s The Lightning-Struck Heart, but I did find it entertaining.

Twig’s cluelessness and … selfishness? got tiresome. It was forgivable because his family was totally capital Fucked Up; he was half dragon, half self-absorbed fairy, so at least he came by it honestly and it wasn’t just callousness. Quinn was a tragic figure in general, but the fact that he was strong-willed kept his character from degenerating into that off-putting twink-in-distress territory, though arguably he truly belonged in an ‘in distress’ state. Actually, he was only a ‘twink’ because he’d been ‘groomed’ by an evil unicorn into a sex slave. That and in contrast to Twig, who was too small for dragonkind’s liking, but impressively sized in human terms, it made Quinn read as twink-like even when he wasn’t.

I liked the twists and turns in this one. The bad/evil unicorn, the family member out for blood, what Quinn turned out to be, the badass turned familiar, the way an actual relationship developed, Twig’s buried nice-ish guy chivalry, et cetera, et cetera. I would say more about what I liked about this story, but unfortunately, it would be too spoiler-y to do so even for me. So I’ll leave it at this: If you liked the humor and the types of characters in The Lightning-Struck Heart (Belen’s Review) and want to try a unique and slightly twisted version of that on for size, this is the book for you.

This review is cross-posted at Goodreads. Other reviews by NeRdyWYRM can be read here.

Starfig Investigations Series

Buy Link Amazon Global Author Link GoodReads More Author Reviews

Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of By Fairy Means or Foul: A Starfig Investigations Novel provided by Meghan Maslow in exchange of an honest review.


I am a life-long reader and an avid learner. I remember reading books without pictures when I was about four, and raided every title on my parents' full and intimidating book shelves—well, the ones they would let me read, anyway—from then on. Characters written by authors like Isaac Asimov, Carl Sagan, Robert Jordan, David Eddings, Terry Brooks, Anne Rice, Stephen King, Raymond E. Feist, Mercedes Lackey, Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman, and Anne McCaffrey were my childhood playmates. Back then, I went nowhere unless I had a book in my hand. While the rest of my generation was shifting from cassettes to CDs and from Atari to Nintendo, Sega, and Playstation, I spent my allowance on Myth & Magic pewter figurines and on books at the Stars and Stripes bookstore. These days I don't have a book in my hand anymore, at least not the printed variety. Instead, it's any device with a Kindle app. I stubbornly held on to the printed page until a military move weighed my book collection in at over a ton. Oops. Sorry-not-sorry, but I did have to exercise some pragmatism in that area, unfortunately. Now I only buy hardbacks from my favorite authors, the classics, or long-running series. Otherwise, I've surrendered to the times and our weight allowance and have gone all digital. I stay strictly on the fiction side of the fence because non-fiction is generally too dry to hold my interest. I was always a scholar, and so have read enough textbook-like titles and required reading for school and college to last me a lifetime, thank you very much. So, non-fiction? No, thanks. However, barring non-fiction and biographies (ewww people), there's not much out there I won't read. I have loved romance novels since I was prepubescent. Something about historicals and anything with horses, i.e., Native American inspired romances just did it for me. My grandmother was appalled that my parents let me read that 'smut' as she called it. I'd already justified my position on being allowed to read those controversial titles with a logical argument that there were a lot of historical facts in those books that couldn't be learned in the classroom alone. And to this day, I maintain that stance. I have learned more from books, specifically romance and fantasy novels, than I ever did in a classroom. ~~wink-wink~~ My dad always said I was too smart for my own good. Looking back, he was probably right! I could logically talk my way into and out of just about anything. It's served me well, but caused me no end of problems, too. That said, despite my love for the romance genre in general and the m/m romance genre in particular, there is little chance that a decent book of any kind will fail to catch my interest, and there's nothing at all I'm unwilling to learn. So bring it on. I hope you enjoy my reviews.