If you have read one of our earlier posts, then you know that we attended Balticon 2017 and picked up some great new books to read. We finished one of the books Into a Strange Land by Ben Anderson, which is the first book in his series The McGunnegal Chronicles.
The description at Mr. Anderson’s table at Balticon described this series as an “Irish Fanasy Series”. We were fascinated because Celtic Folklore, Irish included, has formed the basis of so much classic high fantasy. And when you cut your teeth on The Prydain Chronicles, this sounds right up your alley. We were very eager to read this and we weren’t disappointed.
The McGunnegal Chronicles is clearly written who has experience with Irish Folklore/history and wanted to incorporate it into their fantasy world. And it does this very well. It may be a bit of a reaction to all the Eastern inspired speculative fiction that is so abundant right now, but if so, it is a worthy one. The series is set in the 1840’s during the second year of the Potato Famine, and follows the children, of the McGunnegal family and their exploits. The stories are fun and definitely have a bit of high adventure feel that you would expect from stories that originated as bedtime stories for his children. And the book does feel like it may have been aimed at a young adult audience. As some of our favorite stories are YA stories, this is certainly not a negative.
The story is fast paced and does involve you in the characters. You definitely want to get a feel for what happened to the fantasy world that the children enter and learn about how they are going to save it and themselves at the same time. While the fact that the McGunnegal children are in some way supernatural and related to the fae is certainly not a surprise and follows the formula the Mr. Anderson is following. The way that the fantasy world is at a remove and a bit of an allegory is reminiscent of The Chronicles of Narnia with a more modern edge-and without the extremely tight and dynamic story telling of C.S. Lewis. But this is still a worthy effort in the line of fantasy adventures. We recommend it at this point if you like the work of authors such Lloyd Alexander. We will have to finish the series to make sure that the entire trilogy is as well written as the first. Check out the book on Amazon and let us know what you think.
Until next time. ..