I received this for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Radiant Road by Katherine Catmull
Published by Penguin on January 19th 2016
A gorgeously written tale of magic, friendship, and self-discovery set in a dream-like landscape filled with fairies.
After years of living in America, Clare Macleod and her father are returning to Ireland, where they’ll inhabit the house Clare was born in—a house built into a green hillside with a tree for a wall. For Clare, the house is not only full of memories of her mother, but also of a mysterious boy with raven-dark hair and dreamlike nights filled with stars and magic. Clare soon discovers that the boy is as real as the fairy-making magic, and that they’re both in great danger from an ancient foe.
Fast-paced adventure and spellbinding prose combine to weave a tale of love and loyalty in this young adult fantasy.
“A stunningly atmospheric, gorgeously complicated dream of a book.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“An unforgettable tale . . . that contains all the darkness and light of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” —School Library Journal, starred review
I’m a huge fan of books with faeries in the modern world… books like Holly Black’s Modern Faerie tales and Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series. While The Radiant Road is a contemporary Faerie story, it has a much different feel than the others I’ve read. Katherine Catmull unfolds the story in a way that feels much more… old fashioned, I guess? But I mean that as a compliment. The writing is so lyrical and atmospheric. And the cadence of the story! It reminded me of listening to Chime, one of my favorite audiobooks. Basically, The Radiant Road begs to be read aloud.
The main character, Clare, was born in Ireland in a house built around a tree. (How amazing does that sound?!?) She moved away when she was very young and has few memories of her life in Ireland. One thing she does remember, and that has followed her wherever she goes, is the Strange. Not everyone is aware of the Strange, but Clare is. It’s something that’s always there… a feeling, a strange sight, that kind of thing. Clare has long tried to ignore it because it makes her “the weird girl.” At the beginning of the book Clare and her father are moving back to the house she was born in (and where her mother died.) This is when The Strange can no longer be ignored.
Clare hates the word faerie. She tries to ignore all the things that make her think that word. But then she meets a Strange boy, Finn. Moving back to Ireland has unlocked many of the memories Clare hid away. Seeing Finn opens up many more. Clare remembers that she is the Autumn to Finn’s Winter. Her earliest memories are full of Finn. She can no longer deny that faeries exist (but she can still avoid that word!)
As I re-read this is seems very much like a recap of the story but I honestly don’t know how to share my thought without that! Basically, I was as drawn in to the story as Clare is drawn in to the fairy world. I loved the poetic writing and the stories of the fae. It wasn’t a nonstop action packed read (although there is danger!) but I found myself compelled to read it none the less.