Catmull, Katherine The Radiant Road, 368 pgs. Dutton Books for Young Readers, 2016. $17.99. Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG
Clare has returned to her ancestral home in Ireland after a long absence. As a young girl she was made aware of the Strange as her mother told her stories about fairies and magic, but she is much older now and refuses to believe childhood nonsense. Clare will be forced to reconsider her dismissal of the fairy world when she begins to dream of a mysterious boy, a moonlit road, and a journey to protect dreams and love.
This is a book about magic and fairies that fails to capture any true feeling of wonder. Clare’s character being only fourteen did not mesh with the way the character was presented. Often she comes across as older and being reminded that she is so young can lead to the reader feeling a bit uncomfortable. The imagery used to describe Timeless and the quest Clare undertakes is highly descriptive, but muddled at times and chaotic leading to a disconnect between the reader and the story. The reader will want Clare to be a strong female character, but too often she is cowed by all those around her who demand everything from her without any guidance as to how to help them and then become enraged that she is unable to solve all their problems. Parts of the plot are charming and there is a real sense of menace from the villain, but in the end the story is found to be lacking in the magic that should be found when fairies and humans unite.
MS, HS—OPTIONAL AEB