When Jamie's mother inherits a small island, and moves her little family from Harlem to Ireland, her troubled son sees a chance to start over, far away from the bullies and the pitying stares. Cancer has left Jamie without an arm or the will to speak. But Muck Island offers more than solitude and sea views. Jamie learns that he is heir to an ancient title, Laird of Muck, Guardian of the Passage, and certain otherworldly responsibilities. With the help of a mysterious object he discovers in the island's old lighthouse, Jamie sets out on a dangerous mission that will change the course of his life, and possibly the universe, forever.
(taken from goodreads.com)
Rating: 5/5 Stars
I read this book via audible. If I were to rate this book based on chapter one, I'd say don't read it, the pacing is slow, and the content could possibly be dry. Some of you may give up on books based on the beginning which is warranted. Why spend time reading a book you won't like. Giving up on a book is extremely rare for me. I've only done that for a handful of books, like I can count them on my hand. Usually it is more to do with reading too many books at once and not having enough time.
However, I'm really glad I stuck with it instead of giving up on it because the first chapter does not do the book justice. Growing up on Long Island, I was a bit put off by the accent of the audible reader (Gerard Doyle), but I do love his reading style and it totally fit when the main character moved to Ireland and later went to another land.
I was also unsure if kids would relate to this book based on chapter one. You have a hardworking mom who is recently divorced trying to coop with helping her son who went through life threatening cancer. The doctors removed his left arm to save his life and Jamie has been in shock for the last year not talking. Dad left after his arm was taken and they were hoping for child support money but that never came. But there are all sorts of great themes for tweens because there is realism. Dealing with cancer, a father who leaves the mother, having a low self esteem and depression, a bully that lives next door, trying to make new friends, sharing secrets with friends and adventures, as well as figuring where you fit in the universe after something traumatic happens to you are some of the prevalent themes kids would relate to.
I read other reviews of this story, and like I mentioned, chapter one has hindered some people's views on this book. Another person complained that it had similarities to Narnia where a boy masters a naive alien race and leads them to battle. That is a ridiculously oversimplification of this story. Honestly, I see that theme there and think that McKinty is brilliant for using it because kids LOVE Narnia and want to devour other books like it.
Cool ElementsI really liked that when the protagonist meets the girl from the other planet, we see how history has played a role in her English. Her lands last encounter with humans was 200-300 years before or more and she still speaks with thou's and hath's and such.
I really liked that Ramsay references Dungeons and Dragons, more specifically chaotic evil and lawful good as a way of problem solving on a planet with beings of unknown origin.
I like learning about Irish tales and myths.
I absolutely loved the reference to the Marine Corps code on a battle field to never leave a man behind.
I really like what happened with chicken pox and how the planet is a bianary system.
Favorite Line:~It's better to hear the rebuke of the wise than the song of fools. ~Thaddeus
I would absolutely recommend this book to tweens and anyone interested in this type of genre (fantasy, science fiction, young adult, adventure, action, and mild romance! I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to get started on the second book to see what happens next.