Finn Finnegan by Darby Karchut
I have been fascinated with the folklore of the United Kingdom at least since I read Outlander for the first time. The Irish and Scottish cultures have not lost their fascination with fairies and hobgoblins. Their culture is seeped with stories about these creatures that either help or haunt us. Finn Finnegan by Darby Karchut takes these Celtic stories and weaves them into a fascinating middle grade novel about Finn who is just learning what it means to be a Knight.
Keeping in mind that this is a middle grade novel, I did enjoy it as it was a quick read. It only took me one day to finish it. The overall narrative was engaging. There were just enough clues about the main mystery, the location of the lost Spear of the Tuatha De Danaan, to keep me turning the pages.
Some readers may balk at the formulaic characters (the hard ass adult and the rebel kid) who do exactly what you expect, but it’s a formula that works. While Gideon was a bit of a curmudgeon he never held knowledge back from Finn. He told him what he needed to hear when he needed to hear it. Finn was usually receptive to the knowledge and took it in and used it when he needed to. There was none of the waiting until the last minute to share all the knowledge and use all the knowledge which I find more annoying in shorter novels.
While the main narrative and characters were engaging, I found Finn’s and Gideon’s diary entries redundant and a drag. The entries were shadows of the main story; recapping the chapters’ events. Perhaps a middle grade reader would find this helpful, but in the moments I was reading the entries my mind was yelling, “Show me, don’t tell me!” These entries made the story drag and were not helpful in moving the story forward.
As a history buff, my favorite part of the book was the connection Karchut drew between the fairy rings found around Ireland and those in South Africa. I’ve always been intrigued by the parallels between cultures that are thousands of miles apart. Karchut includes some wonderful Author’s Notes at the end of the story citing her sources and inspirations for the The Adventures of Finn MacCullen series. These few pages shed some light on the proceeding story which adds a bit more depth.
Finn Finnegan is definitely for fans of Celtic fairy tales and folklore or urban fantasy. Finn’s journey to become a Knight and discover the secret of the lost Spear of the Tuatha De Danaan was a grand day’s adventure. I look forward to our next one.
The Quick Book Review
Finn FinneganAuthor: Darby Karchut
Published on: March 12, 2013
Series: The Adventures of Finn MacCullen
Genres: fantasy, fairy tales & folklore, middle grade
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My Rating: Thumbs Up