Monday, July 14, 2014

The Shadows

The ShadowsI love historical fiction mixed with mythology, so when I read the description on Chance's first YA novel (she's published more extensively for adults--her Bone River was lovely), I was sold.

Grace Knox is a sixteen-year-old Irish girl living in 19th C. New York City on the fringes of high society. Following the failure of the family business and her father's death, Grace needs to marry well. Particularly as her older brother, Aidan, buries himself in alcohol and her grandmother descends into madness. Luckily for Grace, her friend Lucy's older brother has long been interested in her, and now that Patrick is home from Ireland, he's ready to move forward with the relationship. Grace is pretty sure this is a good thing--she likes Patrick, she likes the way he looks at her, and she could certainly do much worse.

But Grace doesn't know about the extent of Patrick's patriotism to Ireland, or how his involvement with the Fenian brotherhood has entangled him with two competing groups out of Irish legend--calling first the Fianna (Finn's Warriors) and then, when the Fianna don't appear as expected, calling their ancient enemies, the Fomori. And she also didn't count on her inexplicable attraction to Patrick's obnoxious stableboy, Derry (aka Diarmid).

Diarmid is one of the Fianna, tasked with killing the veleda (druid priestess) who needs to bless their mission to ensure it's success. But when he and his fellow warriors wake up in nineteenth century New York, they have no idea who has called them--or why. Diarmid takes a job as a stable boy in order to learn more about Patrick and the Fenian brotherhood--and meets Grace. As he becomes more and more interested in Grace, he also becomes increasingly afraid of the role Grace may have to play in the upcoming conflict.

This book is the first in a trilogy, and while it started slowly, I think it does an excellent job laying the foundation for the rest of the series ( I was dismayed to find the next book won't come out until February 2015!). I love the setting and the mix of old Irish mythology with a new world setting. I didn't love Patrick's POV as much as Grace or Diarmid, but the growing attraction between Grace and Diarmid moves the story forward in a powerful way.

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