I want to thank Spencer Hill Press for providing me a copy of this book to read and give an honest review. Receiving this book for free has in no way influenced my opinion or review.
Blurb from Goodreads:
Finn (not bleedin' Finnegan) MacCullen is eager to begin his apprenticeship. He soon discovers the ups and downs of hunting monsters in a suburban neighborhood under the demanding tutelage of the Knight, Gideon Lir. Both master and apprentice are descendents of the Tuatha De Danaan, a magical race of warriors from Ireland. Scattered long ago to the four corners of the world, the De Danaan wage a two thousand year old clandestine battle with their ancient enemy, the Amandán, a breed of goblin-like creatures.
Now with the beasts concentrating their attacks on Finn, he and his master must race to locate the lost Spear of the Tuatha De Danaan, the only weapon that can destroy the Amandán, all the while hiding his true identity from his new friends, Rafe and Savannah, twins whose South African roots may hold a key to Finn's survival. Armed with a bronze dagger, some ancient Celtic magic, and a hair-trigger temper, Finn is about to show his enemies the true meaning of "fighting Irish."
The first thing that drew me to this book is the cover. I love the green color. And the title font is totally awesome. The cover really conveys that this book is about something Irish and some kind of “warrior”. Immediately, I knew I was going to be intrigued by the story. The cover, combined with the blurb had me really chomping at the bit to get my ARC! And when it came in the mail, I jumped right in.
Finn MacCullen’s character is really great. Karchut portrayed a young boy coming into himself so well. He’s determined and stubborn. He wants to be independent but is constantly learning in order to do that he must listen and learn from his mentor. And Finn is a modern boy who is enveloped in a world of lore and fantasy. In a world we only dream about with monsters and magic.
Gideon Lir is such a great father figure for Finn. He’s tough, but certainly has that gentle lovingness underneath that a 13 year old boy needs in his life. He teaches Finn great lessons, but tries to protect him at the same time. It’s nice to watch his character unfold from a man who shields himself behind a wall to hide his feelings into a man who truly cares for the boy in his keep. And he is a master at teaching Finn lessons through demonstration rather than pure explanation. I could really hear Gideon’s lyrical Irish voice in my head as I read the book, which I loved.
The secondary characters were great as support. Working in another warrior and keep was a great balance and certainly helped Finn learn a lesson of true life. And having Finn welcome human friends into his life was also surprising but really showed that this boy turned warrior really was just the 13 year old boy he needed to be.
The characters are realistic and relatable. I can surely see another 13 year old child understanding everything Finn is going through during this story.
The story certainly had me guessing. I wasn’t sure where it was going or where it would end up. I love how Karchut mixes our modern world with the world of the supernatural. The use of the ravens to signify trouble is particularly interesting seeing as this bird has typically been used to signify a bad omen or the coming of war. It was a great choice as Finn and Gideon face a war on their people. It was great to watch Finn grow and learn; to come into himself and see that he is truly a Tuatha De Danaan.
I loved Karchut’s writing. It flowed well and was easy to read. I’m glad she put a key at the beginning for the pronunciation of the Irish words. For sure, I would never have pronounced those words the way they are supposed to be said. And the way the book was written you could put it down after a chapter if you needed to, which is often the case with me as I have three kids to care for!
I really haven’t had the chance to read much middle grade as of late. But I do enjoy them when I’m able to put them on my TBR. This is one not to be missed. If you have a child who reads middle grade adventure, this is surely for them. Job well done Darby for a book that is not only interesting but teaches life lessons while pulling you along through a great story. I can’t wait to read the next adventure Finn and his crew embark on!
4 out of 5 stars
Darby Karchut is an award-winning author, teacher, and a compulsive dawn greeter. She lives in Colorado with her husband and owns more backpacks than purses. As she should.
Her YA books include GRIFFIN RISING (2012 Children's Literary Awards Gold Medal, 2011 Sharp Writ YA Book of the Year), GRIFFIN'S FIRE (2011 Readers Favorite Bronze Medal for YA Fantasy), and GRIFFIN'S STORM (November 2012). Her debut Middle Grade novel, FINN FINNEGAN (Spencer Hill Press) will be released March 2013. The next book in the Finnegan series, GIDEON'S SPEAR (Spencer Hill Press) will be released February 2014.
She has also co-authored a non-fiction book for teens entitled MONEY AND TEENS with her husband, author Wes Karchut.
Visit the author at her website:
Thank you Spencer Hill Press for providing me with a copy of this book!