7/10/18

The Storm Keeper's Island, by Catherine Doyle, for Timeslip Tuesday

I was book shopping in Dublin a few weeks ago, because I had unloaded myself of all the books I brought from the US while visiting my sister-in-law in England, and so I had both the room to take more books home, and the need for good airplane reading.   I did not, sadly, have the money or the room to take all the new to me books in Chapters Bookstore home, but I did pick up a few that weren't on my rader as coming out in the US any time soon.

One of  these was The Storm Keeper's Island, by Catherine Doyle (Bloomsbury, July1 2018 in the UK), which called to me strongly--magical Irish island, siblings, kids caught up in a struggle against ancient evil....I didn't know, though, until I started reading, that this was also a timeslip book.  And I can see why it  might not be categorized as such, even though slipping through time is integral to the plot, and an important part of the magic at work here.  There's so much magic at work, though, that the time slipping is only one piece among many....but it's an interesting one--candles infused with weather memories that take the person who lights the candle back to that moment....

There are two people doing the lighting...Fionn and his grandfather, the Storm Keeper of Arranmore.  The Storm Keeper not only captures the weather memories in candles, but is the islands bulwark against an old evil buried underground for centuries.  Fionn's grandfather has not had to confront that evil directly.  But Fionn isn't going to be so lucky...

When Fionn and his older sister are sent to the island to stay with their grandfather, Fionn has no idea that the island is magical, and that his family has a part in that magic.  But quickly he finds himself plunging into danger, travelling back in time through the memory candles, and learning about the danger that's looming, and about his own family's past.  He's a smidge more than just a spectator in the past, although not quite an active agent....and it's certainly a great way for both him and the reader to learn the most pertinent pieces of the island's magical past.

His grandfather knows Fionn must take up the role of Storm Keeper very soon, but Fionn's a reluctant hero, convinced he'd stink at the job, what with being terrified by the ocean (an unavoidable part of island life).

Thought there's some danger (both natural and supernatural) to be faced, this book is essentially the set-up for the larger conflict to come.  On the plus side, this means that the reader is introduced to the magic of Arranmore with a natural sort of unfolding, which I like better than being plunged right into things, but on the down side, there are still just hints that there might well be razer-taught moments of truly numinous fantasy to come...it's not quite there yet.

It's not the most inherently original or intricate plot, though the magic of the candles is pretty darn cool.   If you feel you've read enough "chosen child of magical destiny must defeat awakening evil" books for the moment, you won't want to read it.  But having read this first book happily enough (not thrilled to the marrow happy, but with contented interest apart from disliking the big sister lots; she doesn't have to be quite so much of a brat...), I'll be sure to check in again and see how Fionn and his time-slipping candles are doing!






1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a good one. I'll keep my eyes open in case it comes out in the states. Thanks for the review.

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