Friday, March 3, 2017

REVIEW: Summon the Queen by Jodi McIsaac

Summon the Queen
by Jodi McIsaac

Publisher: 47North
Page Count: 352
Release Date: January 17, 2017
Format: Kindle

How got: personal buy via Amazon

First attention getter: loved book one!

Synopsis:

From GoodReads:

It may be impossible to alter the past, but Irish revolutionary Nora O’Reilly is determined to try. Armed with a relic given to her by the goddess Brigid and joined by immortal Irish warrior Fionn mac Cumhaill, Nora is hurled back through time to the sixteenth century. There Nora and Fionn seek the infamous pirate queen Granuaile—Grace O’Malley—the one woman who may be fierce enough to stop Queen Elizabeth I’s tyranny over the Irish people.

But finding Granuaile is no easy feat, and securing her help is tougher still. Nora and Fionn face enemies at every turn, risking capture, separation, and even death in their quest to save Ireland and finally put an end to the centuries-long curse that torments Fionn. But as Nora’s connection to Fionn grows stronger, her loyalties are tested: she may not be able to save both her country and the man she’s grown to love.

In Jodi McIsaac’s thrilling and heartbreaking sequel to Bury the Living, Nora will once again battle time, history, and her own intense desires in an attempt to rewrite the past—and to change the fate of all she holds dear.

My Thoughts:

Star Rating - 5

This middle book of the trilogy keeps the magic flowing with Fionn and Nora traveling to late 1500s Ireland, the grip of Elizabethan England ever expanding westward. McIsaac knows how to keep the story moving forward, not an achievement every middle book of a trilogy can boast. This book whetted my appetite for more Nora and Fionn, all the while building up anticipation for book three.

The favorite part for me was the exploration into more of the Irish history of this period. I don't think it's a timeframe that gets written about much, especially Irish history. Yet, it's got so much potential. We're right on the cusp of Gaelic Ireland’s death and the complete domination by Britain.

McIsaac uses Nora, Fionn, and their magical journey as a fantastic foil through which to explore it. We get to meet influential figures from the time: Grace O'Malley, Hugh O’Connell, Donough O'Brien, and Elizabeth I herself. We also get a picture of a society on the brink, Irish chieftains and nobles fighting tooth and nail to keep their traditions alive and family land intact, to varying degrees of success. Some saw the benefit of cooperating with the English and some fought for the old ways with every fiber of there being. I was held in thrall seeing how each figure dealt with the timeframes perils, and my heart was torn by the plight of the everyday person caught in the middle.

The time spent in establishing Nora's and Fionn’s characters in book one really paid off in the second volume. With such well-established personalities, we were able to focus on their relationship, both working and personal. I enjoyed watching the romantic feelings for each other grow with each passing chapter, despite the many obstacles that arose against them. From wild magic to rivals to imprisonment, the author holds nothing back in throwing stones into the romantic pathway. Reading Nora and Fionn rise to the challenge made my heart soar. Even though by the end everything wasn't worked out nor rosy (far from it!), the reader could still get a sense that this romance might have a HAE after all.

I like the additions we got to the folklore and magical aspects as well. McIsaac really tested how far Fionn’s powers go, keeping him alive through some pretty ghastly circumstances. With the timeframe these two are going to next and the individual they're going to face, I have to wonder what's in store for this poor guy. That specific individual also will add a ton more to this area of the story, too; I definitely look forward to that. I loved getting more insight into the actual time travel stuff too; we learn the details about the real power behind that. What that means for Nora's family history and herself makes me twitch in anticipation for book three.

Between historical setting stuff, awesome characters themselves, a vibrant central relationship, and time travel magic, this book ticks off all the right boxes for me. Keeping strong despite being the middle of a trilogy, a position notorious for mediocrity, this book keeps the trilogy and narrative rocketing forward with suspense, emotion, and anticipatory glory. I hope to the high heavens that book three follows as quickly as two did to one; I don't think my anticipation can take any longer of a waiting period. LOL I highly recommend this book along with book one; I'll be the first in line for book three!

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