Thursday, March 17, 2011

Stories of St. Patrick

Myths and mayhem, gypsies and goblins. Intrigued? Before this St. Patrick’s Day celebration fades from memory, place this well spun tale near a comfortable chair. Once you open this book, you'll be seated for hours.

TYGER TYGER by Kersten Hamilton, Clarion Books, 2010

Although the author has published many books for children, this is her first novel for young adults. Her new and older fan club of readers will be glad this is a “first”–and that it launches a series dubbed the Goblin Wars.

Author Hamilton says the Goblin Wars are based on a re-imagining of Celtic pre-history and mythology. She “borrowed stories of St. Patrick and St. Drogo, and the life of Myrddin Wyllt, the Welsh bard who became Merlin of legend, as well as the modes and manners of Ireland’s gypsies, the Irish Travelers, in order to fasten this story securely in our world.”

16 year old Teagan Wylltson communicates with chimps. A young Jane Goodall? Maybe. She works at the zoo, studying and training chimps, using sign language.

This dedication is interrupted by the arrival of Finn, a character the author based on the young Fionn Mac Cumhaill, the great Celtic hunter/warrior of myth, a paragon of Irish character. Finn is both complicated and magnetic, or maybe he’s magnetic because he’s complicated. My prediction: readers who loved Twilight will be as drawn to Finn as they were to Edward.

The chemistry simmers and other events befall Tea’s family, consisting of her mother, a free thinking painter, and her father who seems dazed and confused. Could he be under a spell? Tea’s younger brother surprises with his own set of unusual abilities.

When Dad disappears, Tea, her brother, and the mysterious Finn set out to find him. The characters they meet are stranger still, and before long, everyone is at risk. Tea’s best friend Abby could be in danger, too, but since Abby’s father is into the Mob, it’s hard to worry about her. The reader gets the feeling that if it comes to Goblins vs. Mob, the Mob would win. Maybe.

That’s for another book.

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