By CATHERINE DOYLE
An Adventure Book Review by Erin the Cat Princess© The literary cat!
Hello, and welcome to A Wednesday Book Review featuring Adventures in Middle-Grade Fiction!
Apologies to our regular readers as our review dates and frequency are a bit wonky at the moment due to doing edits on one of our co-written books. After two long solid weeks, it was done. Just in time it seems for Mrs H to come down with ‘crone-ic’ hayfever, which she says is a step up from chronic hayfever, and the sort that really ancient and mythical folk get. Worse though is the fact it leaves her sleepy and bearly able to do a full 20 hour day here at the palace!
Talking of people and places of myth and legend, we have this week a stunning new book for you by one of Irelands famous childrens authors, Catherine Doyle.
So, without further ado, here is my review of the soon-to-be-released The Lost Girl King.
THE LOST GIRL KING by CATHERINE DOYLE
Cover art by: TBA
Published by: BLOOMSBURY CHILDRENS BOOKS
Publication date: 1 SEPTEMBER 2022
Paperback ISBN: 978 – 152 660 8000
Cover price for Paperback £7.99, Kindle edition to be available: YES
Age range: Middle Grade (9-12 AND upwards)
Any dogs or cats? No, but there are Selkies and a rather opinionated pooka squirrel!
Yes, minor spoilers to the direction of the plot/characters.
We were lucky enough to be approved by Bloomsbury Children’s Books to receive an Advance Reader Copy of this book to review.
When siblings Amy and Liam Bell are packed off to their grandma Dorothy’s house in the wilds of Connemara, not far from the west coast of Ireland, the holiday seems to hold little in the way of excitement for them. Especially as it is raining. Liam would rather sit and read his books and has little time for the tales of Irish mythology that his gran, as a literary professor, has taught her students in years past and has written a book about. Amy, however, is keen to explore and try to find the lost kingdom of Tír an nÓg, renowned as a place of eternal youth. This, however, is something her gran warns her against.
As dawn breaks on the first morning of their stay, the sun starts to shine. Amy drags Liam off to explore. Liam, who doesn’t believe in the magical places or beings of Irish mythology, finally, and reluctantly, agrees, just to get some peace and quiet. Taking a sixpenny piece that she found in their bedroom, which used to belong to Dorothy’s sister, the two head off to explore.
Drawn on by the sighting of a large hawk, the two soon discover a backwards flowing waterfall. The wisdom of age would say NO! But Amy is incorrigible, stubborn and ever inquisitive. Entering the waterfall, Liam unwillingly follows, and the two are soon in the mythical realm. Worse, though, they have no way back as the entrance in the cave behind the waterfall has now become blocked!
Travelling through the forest they find themselves in, they soon fall foul of some creatures. Good or bad remains to be seen, as the siblings become separated and then entrapped. It is from here on in that the adventure really starts. A race to save a kingdom from perpetual and scorching daytime and an evil sorcerer. Celtic creatures from mythology abound, and all isn’t quite as it seems.
So, what did we think?
Having thoroughly enjoyed Catherine’s middle grade ‘Storm Keeper’ trilogy – which I recommend to those MG fans who haven’t yet come across them – I was very keen to read this new stand alone story. I have not been disappointed. This is a fabulous adventure for Middle Grade upwards. It has hints of Tolkein and CS Lewis style that, blended with Celtic mythology, creates a beautiful atmosphere, sense of place and has lots of thrills. As with all books in this age group, lessons are learned from the characters’ actions. But that is by the bye, and doesn’t spoil the read one bit.
So . . . .
I can imagine this book keeping young readers up to finish the next chapter and then the next. I know I did and loved the ending, tearful though it may have been. Definitely, one to buy for the adventuresome reader in your life.
Want to buy a copy?
To get a copy, and assuming you can avoid headless riders and fearsome selkies, please do think of your local independent bookshop. There are plenty out there, and each is just waiting to serve up a selection of mythological magic and mayhem that is sure to delight!
If any authors or publishers wish us to review their books, please do get in touch. Details are listed on our book review page.
I shall leave you with a (incredibly rare) picture of me snoozing . . .