The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle
|The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Magical adventure story rooted in landscape and weather. An underlying exploration of dementia adds emotional context. Absolutely wonderful book for middle graders who want their books to transport them.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: July 2018|
|External links: Author's website|
Fionn is off to spend some time with his grandfather on the island of Arranmore. His older sister Tara is going with him. Tara is well into adolescence and she can be quite dismissive of her rather green younger brother. The siblings need some time away because their mother isn't coping well with the death of their father and needs time alone to get better. Grandfather is a strange, eccentric old man who lives in a tiny cottage full of candles. He has a crabby but wicked sense of humour and sometimes has trouble keeping hold of his memories. But he makes the candles dance and his eyes contain depths that hold the secret of the seas.
Fionn is afraid of the sea although he is not sure why. And, while he knows that he comes from a long line of brave lifeboat men including his father, stolen by the sea twelve years before, he himself has no interest in derring do. Until, that is, Arranmore reveals its magic and the wind blows, whispering into Fionn's ear.
Ooh! I loved this story. It's a great, page-turning adventure with magic seeping into every page. But it's also a story of grief and the love within a family creating powerful and unbreakable bonds. And it's also a story of memory - in amid the magic and the memory of the land, there's Fionn's grandfather, who has dementia, and whose real life struggles mix and meld with the magic all around him.
The characters are well drawn, credible and engaging. There's a great dynamic between Fionn and Tara and their grandfather that speaks to those special relationships between the young and the old. And the villain of the piece, Morrigan, is one to watch for in future books. The landscape of Arranmore rises from the pages in vivid detail and the sea is a powerful force in the background, exerting its power everywhere.
The Storm Keeper’s Island is a fabulous middle grade adventure, with the perfect blend of kitchen sink issues, magic and characters to root for.
If The Storm Keeper's Island appeals, you might also enjoy Verdigris Deep by Frances Hardinge, which is cleverly plotted with wonderful imagery.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle at Amazon.com.
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