ARC Review: The Stolen – Bishop O’Connell

20957420eARC provided by Edelweiss in exchange for fair review

Summary:

Tonight, for the first time in over a century, a mortal child will be kidnapped by faeries.

When her daughter Fiona is snatched from her bed, Caitlin’s entire world crumbles. Once certain that faeries were only a fantasy, Caitlin must now accept that these supernatural creatures do exist—and that they have traded in their ancient swords and horses for modern guns and sports cars. Hopelessly outmatched, she accepts help from a trio of unlikely heroes: Eddy, a psychiatrist and novice wizard; Brendan, an outcast Fian warrior; and Dante, a Magister of the fae’s Rogue Court. Moving from the busy streets of Boston’s suburbs to the shadowy land of Tír na nÓg, Caitlin and her allies will risk everything to save Fiona. But can this disparate quartet conquer their own inner demons and outwit the dark faeries before it’s too late?

Review:

The Stolen is a modern urban fantasy take on classic Celtic mythology, and tells the tale of a woman named Caitlin, whose daughter is taken by the Oíche, violating all the treaties that protect mortals from fae interference. Brendan, the Fian warrior, is determined to get the child back, doubltlessly due the resemblance of Caitlin to the love of his life Aine. Her friend Edward – who also happens to be a wizard joins in to get her back before it’s too late. 

On the one hand, the mythology is done well. Sometimes the classics don’t really need to be spun. They’re classic for a reason. This book is also action packed. O’Connell doesn’t watch much time with set up and we get to the meat of the story rather quickly and the story never loses this fast pace.

On the other hand, fans of character building or having the world fleshed out are likely to be disappointed. This book moves by so quickly that O’Connell doesn’t take much time with the characters beyond their initial motivation, so I personally found it hard to become emotionally attached to any of them. I mean, I wanted Caitlin to rescue her daughter, but that’s human nature and it shouldn’t be the only thing vesting you in the story. I’d particularly liked to seen the character of Dante – the Magister of the Rogue Court – and the Rogue Court itself fleshed out a little more as well. Heck, even the motivation of the bad guys is pretty straight forward with no real subtlety or nuance.

The other problem I had with the book is the way that it was structured. The characters were all together for say the first 60% of the book, and then it essentially splits into two tales that merge together once more at the very end. I’m guessing the author was trying to make it feel like these stories were parallel (which they should have been) but instead it made it feel like one set of characters wrapped up their tale and then just disappeared until they were needed once more. It wasn’t a book breaker, but it did feel a little jarring for me.

At one point in the book I debated whether or not I’d make it through. I decided to push on, and ultimately I was glad that I did so because the parts set in Tír na nÓg were really quite enjoyable and I admit that if this does become a duology or a trilogy I’d be willing to give this a look. But if you’re looking for something a little deeper, you may or may not like what you find.

Verdict: Borrow It

Available: July 22nd

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