Book Review – Conor Kelly and the Four Treasures of Eirean

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I don’t read YA. I don’t read fantasy. I rarely read anything mythological. But I picked up Ali Isaac’s first Conor Kelly book

Conor Kelly and the Four Treasures of Eirean

as much to see if I shouldn’t be such a snob. This is part one of the Tir Na Nog trilogy.

And of course, in a repeat of a truth universally acknowledged, a reader with an open mind is in want of a good book.

And this is a good book. Well written, brilliantly researched it is a delight.

We follow a young man on a journey. Not any journey but a world saving one. Conor is wheelchair bound, incapable of speech and off to the physio. Personally I’ve never liked the physio and I’ll be a bit more cautious in future after what happens next.

Now, as someone who has avoided this genre the first time we visit a mystical magical world, my heart sinks. Fortunately we are with a delightful sceptic in Conor. And a miserablist in Annalee as his guide.  She’s great btw, a compelling mix of cunning, guilt riven and tough as Irish granite – my perfect heroine.

The premise is necessarily fantastical but the world we visit is internally credible and the people awkward and believable.  Perfection is in short supply both physically and in moral compass terms. If I’d make any criticism it is when Conor asks why people with magic don’t use it to help with mundane tasks. The reply is based on some high minded self limiting code. Sorry but why? I’d get it if you only have so much and have to limit it so as not to waste it. Or there was some terrible God who’d do unspeakable things to you as capricious gods do.

Still it’s a small point and once the quest is explained and Conor’s role in it laid out the action moves along at a rare old pace. Of particular delight for me was learning about Irish mythology and its archaeology. I want to visit these sights and sites. And what is noticeable is how the real world, a world Ali well understands, is used as a fabulous backdrop to the fantastical action.

This tale is branded for a Y A audience. I do see that. But really it’s more than that. It’s hero is young but the story told is timeless, Arthurian and Potterist, An Odyssey for our time.

So lesson learned (again). Rowling and Gaimen write cracking stories, Morpurgo too. For children and adults alike.  Add Issac to that list.

Ali Isaac blogs here and you can buy Conor here.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published three books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars and Salisbury Square. In addition I published an anthology of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand this summer. A fourth book will be out soon. This started life as a novel in a week on this blog and will follow later this year. I blog about all sorts at geofflepard.com and welcome all comments. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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11 Responses to Book Review – Conor Kelly and the Four Treasures of Eirean

  1. Helen Jones says:

    Great review, Geoff! This is on my to-read list as well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. davidprosser says:

    Great review of a great author. Very much enjoyed.
    Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ali Isaac says:

    That sounds like a really good book… although something seems vaguely familiar about it…

    Thanks for the rave review Geoff! You have made my day! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Charli Mills says:

    You know, I think it’s shame that we adults don’t read more YA. Sounds like a great start to a trilogy I’d read! And I’m eclectic in my reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. noelleg44 says:

    I love YA, and I have this book downloaded on my Kindle – just have to find the time to read it!
    Ali is a great writer and I really liked your review!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Norah says:

    Reviews now Geoff – a man of many talents. It’s always a delight to enjoy a book (make a friend) that was unexpected! Well done for branching out.

    Liked by 1 person

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