I really love the fae-inspired books we’re getting recently. Especially within the 8-12 demographic. Like a Charm was amazing, and I adored the use of Scottish fae and folklore. But we all know my true love is the Irish tales. And that’s where The Lost Girl King comes in. I was granted an early chance to read this book through NetGalley, so thanks to the publisher.
The Lost Girl King follows siblings Amy and Liam Bell, who, after being left with their Grandma in Connemara for the summer, wind up stumbling into the realm of Tir na nOg. At first, it seems like a paradise, but they quickly realise they’ve been tricked as they’re separated by a troop of Dullahan. They take him to Tarlock, the ruling sorcerer who needs two human children to keep his control over the fae realm. Amy sets out to save her brother and makes new friends along the way, as Liam tries to survive and discovers some courage all his own.
I’m just going to say now that I adored this book. I really don’t read much middle-grade, but when I do, this is the sort of thing I want. It was a fun adventure, but it still had enough emotion to keep me invested in the characters. It felt like a book I’d have loved as a kid, and it’s certainly one I loved now.
Out of the two siblings, I was a little more invested in Liam’s side of the story, which surprised me. Liam is locked up for most of the book, but he discovers secrets about his family that he’d have never expected. I loved seeing how those plotlines tied together and seeing this boy who was so staunchly science try to find his strength in this magical world. It was super interesting to read about, and I was very invested.
Amy’s side of the story was more of an adventure. She’s travelling with the Fianna, a group of fae warriors inspired by Irish history. What I liked most about her part was seeing the different types of fae. Yay for variety! In this book, we see dullahan, yes, but also pooka and banshees. All of these are specifically Irish, so it was wonderful to see their world. You do also see Selkie in this book, which is traditionally Scottish. But I’ll let it slide as a quick search of Irish selkies revealed that Irish merrows are sometimes connected with seals, and there was one family from Connemara, where the book was set, that is tied with seals. So, y’know what, this book can have a pass.
I loved seeing this blend of Irish faerie tales that Doyle has clearly picked from to create her own world. The magic and the danger felt perfect, and like the fairy tales I read growing up. Can we get more Irish folks publishing books about the fae, please and thanks!
Overall this was such a fun read. The two sides of the story were different, but they blended together perfectly. The Lost Girl King was an adventure that both kids and adults alike will devour with a smile on their faces.
Title: The Lost Girl King
Author: Catherine Doyle
Age Range: Middle-grade
Release Date: 1/9/2022