The Light-Bearer's Daughter by O.R. Melling
Isn't the cover cool? I want a cloak...and a wolf...
It's been a few years since I read the first two books in the Chronicles of Faerie: The Hunter's Moon and The Summer King. My memory of them is foggy, but I know for certain they were enjoyable reads and I would strongly recommend them.
This Young Adult novel is about Dana, a twelve-year-old girl who lives with her father, Gabriel, in Ireland. Years after his wife's sudden disappearance, Gabriel decides to return to his home in Canada where he's been offered a teaching job at a college. Needless to say, Dana's not happy about the move. She still has hopes of finding her lost mother, who left her when she was three. One day, while visiting her eco-warrior friends who are camped out in a forest that is threatened to be obliterated, she happens upon a Lady who asks that she deliver a message to a King. In exchange, Dana is promised one wish. In order to get her mother back and to stay in her beloved Ireland, Dana must embark on a dangerous quest through the wilds of Ireland, where she is constantly traveling between the Earthworld and the Faerie world.
The novel addresses the impact we have on nature by showing how we affect not only real animals, but also the creatures of the Faerie world. I feel like Melling's attempt at trying to prove that humans are destructive and "evil" gets to be a bit annoying. I know it's a huge issue and needs to be addressed, but I don't want to be lectured. If you're someone who doesn't care for all this "going green" stuff, I wouldn't recommend this book. She also names off a lot of flowers and plants and, I'll be honest with you, I'm no botanist. I have very limited knowledge of flower names, so half the stuff just flew over my head.
Being a person of Irish descent, I've always had an obsession with Ireland. It is one of the reasons I started reading this series. I love the Celtic myths the story is based on and the bits of Gaelic used throughout. There is even a nifty glossary in the back of the book that has the pronunciation and definitions of the words.
Even though this is book three in a series, you can read them each as a stand-alone. Honestly, I can't say I cared for The Light-Bearer's Daughter as much as the previous two, but I always hold a certain loyalty to the first book in every series. Also, when I read the first two, I was better able to relate to the teenage protagonists. In this story, Dana is only twelve.
With all the fantasy elements, this series is reminiscent of Holly Black's Tithe. In ways, the worlds of Faerie are similar. However, Melling's story doesn't have the darkness and grittiness Black's has. At times, The Light-Bearer's Daughter feels very innocent and childlike, and at other times its spooky and disturbing.
Overall, it was a pleasant, quick read. I will definitely look for the fourth in the series, The Book of Dreams.
If you've read the book, share your thoughts.
If you haven't, go read it. :P