Finn Finnegan by Darby Karchut
The Adventures of Finn MacCullen #1
March 12, 2013 – Spencer Hill Press
200 Pages -Young Adult, Middle Grade, Fantasy, Fiction
I was given a copy of this book, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.
Goodreads: Finnegan MacCullen: a thirteen-year-old apprentice with the famous Irish temperament.
Gideon Lir: a legendary Celtic warrior with a bit of a temper of his own.
Secretly, these blue-collar warriors battle the hobgoblins infesting their suburban neighborhood…when they are not battling each other.
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.”
First, I have to mention that I am a bit bias about Karchut- she has become one of my go-to authors and her books are ones that I blindly recommend to people (well not anymore since I’ve read all of her YA books at this time). So if I was to b completely honest, I would say that I was scared that Finn would be both too similar and too different from Griffin, from the first series that I read by Karchut. One is an angel and one is De Danann -not even the same species of awesome. Regardless it was an irrational fear.
Anyway, I enjoyed this story a lot. Gideon’s brogue was grounding for the story, as well as still ringing in my ears. (Or at least what I imagine it to sound like). He has a very distinct voice, as all of the characters do. Finn- what a character. not sure if I want to high five him or hit him. Because, well, he does some honorable things and stupid things almost interchangeably. He’s young and in training.
I am finding this a difficult review to write because there’s something that I want to talk about. There’s no way to talk about it without giving it away. I will say this: there is a big turning point for Finn and I didn’t expect that to happen so soon. I was saddened and resisted the urge to throw the book. In the end though, I think that what happened was necessary.
5 Stars *****
Gideon’s Spear by Darby Karchut
The Adventures of Finn MacCullen #2
February 4, 2014- Spencer Hill Press
212 pages – Young Adult, Middle Grade, Fantasy, Fiction
Goodreads: For Finn MacCullen, it’s time to Irish up.
With a shout, Finn held the spear aloft. “Come along, ye manky beasties,” he yelled, throwing every bit of Gideon-ness he could into his voice. “I’ve a wee point to share with ye!” Gripping the end of the shaft in both hands, he swung it around and around over his head, creating a whistling sound. “Faugh a ballagh!” “The Spear!” Goblin voices screeched in panic. “The Spear of the Tuatha De Danaan!”
“Yeah, you got that right!” Finn yelled back.
When a power-crazed sorceress and the neighborhood pack of beast-like goblins team up and threaten both his master and his friends, thirteen-year-old Finn (not Finnegan) MacCullen does the only thing an apprentice monster hunter can do: he takes the fight to the enemy. And woe to the foe he meets along the way.
There are certain books that I wish I had the talent to write.
Normally, I would start the review out with a bias disclaimer, because I think Karchut is an amazing author. I’ve read all of her fiction books that are currently available, and have yet to be disappointed. I don’t really have to make the disclaimer, because it wouldn’t have mattered if I hated Karchut or had read nothing else by her.
Go back and read that first sentence again. I have not had my heart squeeze so many times -even if I did know what was coming. I care about the characters-not just Finn or Gideon, but all of them. (Though Finn and Gideon take up most of the room.) I root for them even though I know another curve ball is about to be thrown at them. I laughed with the cheekiness and humor that is sprinkled throughout the book. I cringe at their physical pain and the mental sadness that both Finn and Gideon must endure. I am fully engaged with the action, adventure and mystery that is going on. For the entire time I was completely absorbed in Finn’s world.
5 Stars *****
And now I have to wait for book 3. Karchut has gone from a trusted author that is highly recommended to a D.E.A.R. one. ( Drop Everything And Read).
If you have not read any of her books, I say it’s about time to get started. See the giveaway post for a chance to win a copy of both Finn Finnegan and Gideon’s Spear.