What a fantastic debut by Catherine Doyle! The Storm Keeper’s Island has by far been one my favourite books of the summer and I can’t recommend this book enough!
The Storm Keeper’s Island follows the story of young Fionn as he and his sister Tara travel to the island of Arranmore to stay with their Grandfather, but Arranmore harbours great magic and secrets which Fionn is unknowingly already bound to by a fate yet to be discovered.
Told in the narrative voice of eleven year old Fionn, Doyle beautifully captures the innocence and underestimated perceptiveness of childhood. Moments of nervousness, loneliness, frustration and sibling rivalry are deftly explored which make Fionn a really relatable protagonist for young readers. Despite the young voice, Doyle portrays complex and sensitive themes and emotions like overcoming your fears, grief and loss with great depth and realism. But underneath all of this is a story of the importance of family and the great bonds formed with your loved ones. The relationships between Fionn and his Grandfather and Fionn and his father broke my heart and put it back together again. Malachie Boyle will go down as one of the best grandfather characters I have ever read.
Catherine’s writing is enchanting! Her choice of language is beautiful, lyrical and fresh and effortlessly weaves between the past, present and future. The setting of Arranmore is so vividly described, that I was transported to the wild natural beauty of the island. So much so that the island for me came across as a lovable but temperamental character. The Storm Keeper’s Island had me hooked from the first page - the short chapters and fast-paced plot made this a book I couldn’t put down.
Overall, the ideas, relationships and magic that form this book are so beautifully thought-through and multilayered. The originality of the candles as memory magic was such an utterly genius concept, something I’ve not come across in middle grade literature before.
I smiled, I cried and I got lost in the magic of Arranmore. I honestly cannot wait for the second installment out in July 2019!
Published by Bloomsbury. You can buy The Storm Keeper's Island via Waterstones here.
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