Friday, May 14, 2010

Review: The Fire Opal by Regina McBride

There was a time when Maeve O'Tullagh led a simple life; a time when she and her mother, Nuala, collected kelp on the foreshore near their cottage in Ard Macha; a time when she played among the Celtic ruins with her older brothers and daydreamed about the legendary Holy Isles, an enchanted land ruled in a past age by a beautiful goddess.

But after Maeve's sister, Ishleen, is born, her mother sinks into a deep, impenetrable trance. For years, Maeve tries to help her mother "awaken," and then the unthinkable happens: Ishleen succumbs to the same mysterious ailment as Nuala.

Heartbroken to think that her sister and her mother might be lost to her forever, Maeve sets off on an unimaginable quest to a world filled with fantastical creatures, a web of secrets, a handsome, devious villain who will stop at nothing to have her hand in marriage—braving them all to retrieve a powerful glowing stone that will help her recover the souls of her loved ones and bring them home to Ard Macha.

An adventure-filled and spellbinding novel, The Fire Opal will enchant fantasy readers young and old.

As an Irish girl I will admit to being somewhat biased coming into this book. With scenery like the brilliant Irish landscapes, laid out for readers to picture while experiencing the journey that was The Fire Opal, what can you expect? I was already half in love with the story before finishing the first chapter.

McBride gives her readers magic, mythology/folklore and realism all wrapped up neatly in her debut YA novel. She has made the cross from writing adult fiction to YA fantasy quite seamlessly in my opinion.
Our main character, Maeve O'Tullagh was fierce and brace and built for an adventure. With a will of her own she becomes quite the opponent for the mean spirited (and hateful in my opinion) Tom Cavan. She even proves that she is a worthy adversary for an ancient and foreboding Goddess of days old and long forgotten. Not too shabby for a 19 year old girl.

This is a story that had me wondering about so many things throughout; will Maeve "save the day" so to speak? Will she be able to rescue her mom and sister in time? Will evil really conquer good? The only aspect I was truly disappointed with was the ending. It might just be me but I found it lacking. I would have appreciated more information. At the same time, although it didn't feel like a traditional cliffhanger, maybe McBride is setting up her readers for future works involving these characters? I can only hope and wait and see what McBride has in store for us.

I gave The Fire Opal 3 shamrocks!!!


  1. Thanks Felicia....glad you enjoyed it, the book was good and I'd been waiting so long to read it I flew through it :)



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