When sixteen year old Brenna Morgan arrives in Ireland with her travel-writer mother, she expects the usual–a few months in yet another country that isn’t home. What she doesn’t anticipate is running into a dying fairie who saves her life in exchange for a promise to protect a child hidden in the fairie realm. Armed with only her wits and a strange iron key given to her by the fairie, Brenna is pulled into a world where myth and legend cross all too often into reality.
Brenna is aided in her search by newfound friend Patrick, and a reluctant fairie with a grudge against humans. But the more she uncovers the more she begins to realize that not all is as it seems, that danger comes in the most unassuming of guises, and that the child she swore to protect could destroy not only the fairie world, but her own as well.
Growing up in an Irish family I’ll be the first to admit I can be a ‘bit’ overprotective when it comes to the Irish. When I’m reading anything that sets the scene in Ireland, with Irish characters, uses the Irish mythology, etc and the author isn’t Irish I’m already going in feeling wary; let’s just say I’ve been burned with bad literature way too often.
I had my first moment of irritation when sixteen year old Brenna Morgan is introduced to the reader through her complaints of the Irish countryside, its weather, etc. I know it’s petty, but I warned you – I’m overprotective. The spelling errors of Irish words was also a little frustrating.
Aside from my own biases, which I’m being up front about, the only true negative I found with the writing was how often supporting characters would tell Brenna part of some information she needed for this journey she was set on, insinuate a bigger picture, and so forth only to answer her questions with various versions of “you don’t need to know that right now”. As the reader it was getting increasingly frustrating feeling like you’re not getting the whole picture and always being told, “you don’t need to know that right now”. I was hoping there would come some moment when the characters would finally tell all but by the end of the story I still felt like there were huge chunks of the mythology and background Masters was trying to create here that I never got.
I’ve read similar books, written by Irish and UK authors though, where they added something at the end to give a background on the characters as they are described in Irish folklore and any differences to their history/personality the author did in order to tell this story. They would also add a list of Irish phrases and words used along with their definitions in order to help readers that don’t have a background of familiarity with the culture or for those of us who do to ease our confusion as to why they altered known symbols. Something like that would feel much more helpful in this book.
A lot of the positives though came in the form of the writing itself which was vividly descriptive so I could see what the character was seeing and feeling although I LOVE the rain and I’m happiest when it’s raining for days on end.
After Masters gets you set up slowly to give you time to understand who Brenna is you’re hit with an explosive action scene and she immediately drops you into her version of a mythology using Irish tales not unlike what Riordan has done for the Greeks, Egyptians and the Norse mythologies. Some artistic license was definitely taken so this shouldn’t be read believing you’re getting a history lesson on the Irish culture just like I would hope anyone who read Riordan would use his work as a stepping stone to the various cultures to find out the truths and history. It’s fiction and as such is meant to entertain not educate. If you can approach it from that point of view and ignore the inaccuracies then it’s a decent story that will keep your attention through to the end.
I’m not entirely sure I would recommend this for anyone younger than high school due to a wildly descriptive near sacrifice scene but it all depends on how you raise your kids and what you think they’re comfortable with.
Thank you to Netgalley and Melange LLC for allowing me to review this book.
Buy at Amazon: http://a.co/5rYIpli
*synopsis and pic from netgalley.com