Kenny Brechner, owner of DDG Booksellers in Farmington, Maine, gives word of a forthcoming fantasy novel.
If Claude Rains were ordering his men today to “round up the usual YA suspects,” they would come back from scouring the streets of Casablanca with a few truckloads of vampires, werewolves, and angels. No goblins though, but that’s only because Kersten Hamilton's Tyger Tyger isn’t out yet. This dynamic re-imagining of the Irish mythos in modern-day Chicago is not only loaded with convincing romantic tension, intelligent, three-dimensional characters, and atmospheric dark power, but there is a possibility that real dark powers have been alarmed by it!
First, let’s go down our shopping list for the living land of Mag Mell, which was usurped by the Goblins in ages past. Are there portals to our world watched over by The Green Man? Check. Are there dark, dangerous and sensual beings to be frightened of and allured by? Yes, there are the beautiful and lethal Highborn goblins, their moral compasses worn away to any points but convenience and pleasure by eons of unfettered power. Are there strong dual lead characters? In spades. The line of The Mac Cumhaills, the goblin hunters, is still unbroken since the days of yon. 15-year-old Finn Mac Cumhaill, handsome and deadly, is their champion. One name beats in Finn's heart: the strong-minded, intellectually curious, and courageous Teagan. And who is she? Well, she is part Highborn goblin.
Tyger Tyger is filled with compelling characters we want to know more, and to whose fate we are anything but indifferent. Thrilling and unexpected twists and turns abound, and ancient dark powers seem to reach out from the story and threaten to pull us in. The Celtic lore in the book is deeply layered and the mythological aspects of the story are very strongly set, perhaps too strongly!
Readers may notice that Yggdrasil, the Norse world tree, is literally planted into the Celtic landscape of the book without an explanation. Now, we do know that a key passage explaining Yggdrasil’s presence, and hinting at other deeper connections, mysteriously disappeared from the final version of the manuscript. There are two explanations for the disappearance that are currently being investigated. One is that is that someone, or something, hacked into Houghton's server from an unregistered remote server logged as jormungandr.1i.asg, and removed the paragraph! The other is that it was a printer’s error! Not only are the fates of Finn, Teagan, her brother Aiden, and Finn's Aunt Mamieo left in the greatest peril at the end of this first book in The Goblin Wars cycle, but the author, having now awoken the ire of The Ancient Ones, must choose whether to put herself at risk by attempting to restore the missing passage in book two! There's one less worry on my end, though, because I know which book I'll be handselling with abandon this fall. These are Goblins no lover of high fantasy and romance should miss.
Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton. Clarion Books, $17 Nov. ISBN 978-0-547-33008-2