From My Shelves: The Summer King by O. R. Melling

YA Irish Folklore

Where did you get this book?

I remember spending a lot of time in Barnes and Noble as a pre-teen. I’m guessing that I begged my mother to take me there every time we were out shopping. I always seemed to disappear somewhere amongst the novels while she was…..honestly I don’t know where she was. But I do remember this specific time because I was scouting out the young adult novels and came across this one, The Summer King. I’ve always been interested in Irish Folklore and the synopsis of this one intrigued me. So I convinced her to buy it for me. Honestly I probably read it three or four times when I was a teenager and dreaming about traveling to Ireland one day.

The Summer King is one of a three companion books in The Chronicles of Faerie. The stories take place in the same realm but don’t share any characters, or share very few characters….I can’t remember exactly.

Tell me about the plot…

Eighteen-year-old Laurel Blackburn travels back to Ireland on the one-year anniversary of her twin sister Honor’s death there. She is driven by several strange entries in Honor’s journal that seem to discuss fairies, which Honor believed in and Laurel does not. As she goes to investigate the cliff where her sister fell to her death, Laurel encounters a Clurican, which is kind of like a Leprechaun, and he sets her off on a mission to save the world of Faerie. Her secret desire is that when she saves Faerie, she will also save Honor.

There is, of course, also a love interest, Ian, whom she spent a lot of time with the year prior and who comes along with her to support her on her mission.

What did you think of it?

As aforementioned, I read this book, and it’s companion book, The Lightbearer’s Daughter several times throughout junior high school and probably high school as well. I really loved the setting, of course, because I was (and am) obsessed with Ireland. I also, at the time, had a particular affinity for cheesy love stories, and I think that I quite liked the one here.

I picked this book back up because I really wanted to read another YA novel after reading the Harry Potter series and my heart has been craving Ireland a lot lately. I remembered that at one time I really loved this book and thought that maybe I’d pick it back up to see if I still love it today.

My adult impression was perhaps a little different than my teenage one. The descriptions in this book are wonderful. I really feel like I’m on the cliffs of Ireland or in a Faerie court’s castle when I’m reading it. I really enjoyed exploring various parts of Ireland while reading over The Summer King this time around. It definitely fulfilled my hunger for some text about the green hills of Ireland.

As far as dialogue goes with this book, though, I wasn’t really impressed. It seems really stilted and awkward, and far too dramatic. The conversations between Ian and Laurel are particularly cringe-worthy. It just feels like I’m reading a soap opera, with a lot of exclamation points and unnecessary storming off. I want to chalk this up to the fact that it’s a YA book, but the truth of the matter is I just read the entire Harry Potter series, and I never once felt that way about the dialogue in those books.

As far as plot, I really enjoy the story of this novel. I love following Laurel on her desperate mission to try and save her twin sister. The stakes are high and the action is a lot of fun to read.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book, even if I cringed every time there was a conversation in it. It’s kind of cheesy, but that’s kind of what I was looking for. Something simple and uncomplicated and easy to read quickly. I had a lot of fun reading it.

Will you keep it?

I have a lot of fond memories reading this book, and so there’s no way that I’m going to get rid of it. It’ll go right back on my shelf where it came from.

Thanks for reading! What books do you turn to for some nostalgia?

 

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