The pseudonymous Farrell's formidably long and richly detailed fantasy debut launches a new series that's sure to delight fans of Celtic fiction. A magic talisman that holds the fate of the world falls out of the sky onto the tale's na ve, 17-year-old heroine, Jenna Aoire, one night while she's herding sheep on Knobtop Hill with her dog outside the village of Ballintubber. The pebble-sized object, which turns out to be the Cloudmages' master spell-stone, the L mh Sh bh la, soon leads to trouble for Jenna and her mother, who must flee for their lives from their enraged neighbors. They come under the protection of the House of Mac Ard, but treacherous lords who covet the spell-stone ensure no rest for the weary refugees. In this thinly disguised medieval Ireland, every man's hand can be turned against every other's (and women aren't backward in the fight, either), particularly when the stakes are as high as they are here. Much intrigue involving a multitude of mostly well-drawn characters and little bloodshed make for a relatively leisurely plot by the standards of this subgenre. Powerful scenes of magic-wielding and the vividly depicted Celtic society, though, should hook persistent readers, who will be glad for the glossary of character and place names, a guide to the Daoine calender, a list of the holders of the L mh Sh bh la and more at the end of this challenging book. (Jan. 7) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Farrell weaves Celtic lore with elements of epic fantasy to create a rich and imaginative world in this first book in a new fantasy series, Cloudmages. Seventeen-year-old Jenna Aoire leads a quiet life in her small village until the night powerful forces called mage-lights illuminate the sky. Drawn to the spot where the lights are strongest, she finds Lamh Shabhala, the strongest of the cloch na thintri, stones of great power and magic that have limitless capacity to create or destroy. Jenna's destiny is to be the Holder of Lamh Shabhala, giving her the ability to channel its potent magic, but others are desperate to claim its power for themselves and will do anything to wrest it from her control. To end the escalating violence over ownership of the stone, Jenna must submit to the fearsome rite of Scrudhu, the ultimate test of her ability to wield full control of the magic of Lamh Shabhala. Despite the occasional derivative notes in the plot-readers will be reminded of that granddaddy of fantasy, The Lord of the Rings-the book still has the power to capture the reader with its entertaining blend of Celtic magic, heroic and romantic characters, and dynamic plot. This series opener is recommended for libraries with strong fantasy collections and is sure to be popular with teen fantasy devotees, who will eagerly await the next book. VOYA Codes: 4Q 4P S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). 2003, DAW, 494p,
In what is obviously the first of a series (there are 28 pages of appendices listing characters, places, terms, holders of the stones, attributes of stones), 17-year-old Jenna Aoire becomes the First Holder of Lamh Shabhala in generations. What she holds is a stone from Knobtop Hill that she picked up while watching her family's sheep. This stone is a cloch na thintri, or spell-stone of a cloudmage. It is also the stone that will activate all the other stones in the land. Each stone has special powers; hers is the strongest. Of course, with this stone, Jenna picked up a pack of troubles, intrigues, treachery, betrayal and a whole passel of other woes, physical, social, and psychological. Her mother chooses her new beau over Jenna; she is betrayed by the young bardsinger from her village who is actually married with a pregnant wife; the man she eventually trusts enough to love again is killed in a mage battle, and on and on. Those into lengthy sagas with a Celtic flavor will enjoy this; others may be put off by all the Celtic lore and terms, not to mention the long list of characters. (The Cloudmages, #1). KLIATT Codes: SARecommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2003, Penguin Putnam, DAW, 618p., Ages 15 to adult.
When Jenna Aoire finds the strange stone on Knobtob Hill and sees the coming of the mage-lights, she steps unwittingly into a new life as both a cloudmage and the First Holder of L mh Sh bh la, a magical stone that can awaken others. Jenna and her mother soon discover that their lives have changed utterly as they seek to discover their friends and enemies. Portraying a young woman's journey to self-acceptance and self-mastery, Farrell's first novel, a series opener, will particularly appeal to fans of Celtic-based fantasy. For most libraries. Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.