Sunday, February 26, 2017

REVIEW: Bury the Living by Jodi McIsaac

Bury the Living
by Jodi McIsaac

Publisher: 47North
Page Count: 302
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Format: Kindle

How got: personal buy via Kindle

First attention getter: genre and synopsis

Synopsis:

From GoodReads:

Rebellion has always been in the O’Reilly family’s blood. So when faced with the tragic death of her brother during Northern Ireland’s infamous Troubles, a teenage Nora joined the IRA to fight for her country’s freedom. Now, more than a decade later, Nora is haunted by both her past and vivid dreams of a man she has never met.

When she is given a relic belonging to Brigid of Kildare, patron saint of Ireland, the mystical artifact transports her back eighty years—to the height of Ireland’s brutal civil war. There she meets the alluring stranger from her dreams, who has his own secrets—and agenda. Taken out of her own time, Nora has the chance to alter the fortunes of Ireland and maybe even save the ones she loves. In this captivating and adventurous novel from Jodi McIsaac, history belongs to those with the courage to change it.

My Thoughts:

Star Rating - 5

A tale filled with Irish folklore, history, and time travel, this book was tailor-made to please my palate. In the beginning, things started a bit slow. A lot of time was spent on building up Nora as a character and the background that developed her. Yet, as the story progresses, things picked up quickly, and the story railroaded to a suspenseful finale that left me on the edge of my seat.

I felt the time spent on Nora’s development was ultimately time well spent. The audience gets to see where her motivations come from and see her personality grow from a teen on the rocks to a mature, courageous woman. I felt like I got to know Nora from the inside out, which made the sometimes tragic events that happened feel all the more real.

I've been on an Irish history kick lately so this book was right up my alley. Traveling back to the height of the Irish civil war, Nora started her journey with an explosive situation as she experiences the horror of Ballyseedy. From that seminal event, the story takes the audience and Nora on a suspenseful tale of war, tragedy, family, and magic.

I love how the author explored the pain the Civil War generated, pitting friend against friend, family against each other. Seeing how women prisoners had it in Kilmainham Goal also made for fascinating reading. Exploring their struggle through disrespect, hunger strikes, and creating what they can of a life in prison resonated with me as I've been to Kilmainham Goal, seen the cells, and can't imagine their life. It gives you respect for these women and their struggle.

The hints of Irish folklore and magic added a nice, ethereal spice to the tale. The goddess Brighid is the vehicle for Nora's journey into the past, both as her motivation and the actual medium. Yet, the biggest presence is that of Fionn mac Cumhaill. His legend and struggles drive the story. Nora vows to help him with his curse; in the process, she finds herself growing closer to him on an emotional level. Who he is and his background make for unique challenges to a relationship.

As the start of a trilogy, this book stands solid. It gives a strong background in character development and mythology and Irish history. As the book ends, Nora and Fionn are headed even further into the past, embarking on a journey that proves to be interesting to say the least. I love how the author build up every element of the story and feel comfortable in saying that the rest of the trilogy will be as intriguing as well. I look forward to exploring them all.

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