Tooth and Nail, by Jennifer Safrey

Tooth and Nail [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy], by Jennifer Safrey, gives us a very cool protagonist. We meet Gemma Fae Cross in the boxing ring, where we learn she can not only take a punch, she can give as good as she gets.

Unknown to Gemma herself, she’s not entirely human, and the fairy–sorry, the fae half of her heritage is about to crash in on her in a very big way. Pureblood fae are incapable of intentional violence, so when a dark power begins corrupting children, they need a halfblood warrior. They need Gemma.

Oh, and did I mention she’ll also be working on tooth collection duty? That’s right, Gemma is a tooth fairy fae, collecting children’s teeth and the innocence contained within.

Gemma struggles throughout the book with the conflict between her human and fae sides, and in some ways, I think the book mirrors that struggle, never quite certain what it wants to be. The human conflicts felt gritty and real, whether it was in the gym (I loved the gym scenes!) or her relationship with her politician fiance or struggling to stay ahead of an overly-nosy reporter.

By contrast, the fae threats didn’t feel as immediate. The loss of innocence, the quest to restore the Olde Way … they’re more abstract conflicts, and I never felt quite as invested in that part of the story, nor was I completely convinced by the logic behind tooth collection.

As for Gemma herself, this is no delicate elfin fairy, this is a hard-hitting, flawed, stubborn, and often all too human warrior. She fights evil and collects teeth. What more do you need to know?