For Finn MacCullen, it’s time to Irish up.
With a shout, Finn held the spear aloft. “Come along, ye manky beasties,” he yelled, throwing every bit of Gideon-ness he could into his voice. “I’ve a wee point to share with ye!” Gripping the end of the shaft in both hands, he swung it around and around over his head, creating a whistling sound. “Faugh a ballagh!” “The Spear!” Goblin voices screeched in panic. “The Spear of the Tuatha De Danaan!”
“Yeah, you got that right!” Finn yelled back.
When a power-crazed sorceress and the neighborhood pack of beast-like goblins team up and threaten both his master and his friends, thirteen-year-old Finn (not Finnegan) MacCullen does the only thing an apprentice monster hunter can do: he takes the fight to the enemy. And woe to the foe he meets along the way.
Sometimes the hardest part about being a book reviewer/blogger is being honest especially when that honesty may hurt an author that you consider a friend. But, just as the author stays true to their story and characters, I must stay true to my thoughts and feelings about the books I read and know that my dishonesty would be both disrespectful and unappreciated. So, for the first time ever I have rated a Darby Karchut book at a mere four stars and yes, I feel crappy about it 😦
Overall, Gideon’s Spear is NOT by any means a bad read and in fact, it is still a very good read BUT I found myself struggling with this read and feeling very frustrated and unsettled by the time I reached the end. As with all of Darby’s books, Gideon’s Spear is driven by its’ characters and this is where the bulk of my frustration comes from. For the first time ever, I can’t see where all of the characters fit into the grand scheme of things nor can I see what their purpose is as related to Gideon, Finn and, the discovery of the Spear. Here’s the character roll call:
Finn: though certainly more experienced than he was in Finn Finnegan, Finn is still just a boy of thirteen and stubborn as all get out. Though he doesn’t set out to defy Gideon, he often does and that creates a far longer list of chores for the young apprentice. His loyalty to Gideon and his friends is as commendable as his commitment to learning and training. But, the road to maturity and acceptance of his new role as Gideon’s Spear is going to be very long and very painful.
Gideon: Still smooth and sexy and rockin’ a fine accent! Gideon’s devotion to and affection for Finn is growing with each passing day which makes his need to protect and prepare his charge even more critical. The stakes are even higher now that Gideon knows Finn is the mythical Spear and his need to protect Finn goes into overdrive. To be fair, Gideon begins to open up to Finn about his own past and why he is so crazed about protecting his apprentice.
Mac Roth: Still smooth and sexy and rockin’ a fine accent! I need more of him and that is all!
Lochlan: Son of goat!! Another O’Neill!!! To be fair, Lochlan has, thus far presented himself in a far, far better light than his deceased cousin but, his role as something other than Mac Roth’s apprentice has yet to be revealed. I find it hard to believe that Darby would sacrifice one character (Asher) and not give the replacement (Lochlan) – a family member no less! – such a minor role. For now, Lochlan remains a bit of a mystery.
Savannah and Rafe: I have absolutely no idea what role these two are to play in either Finn’s life or the grand scheme of things. These kids have this amazing backstory with Zulu warriors and a very, very slight connection, through their grandfather (whom we need more of!) to the Tuatha De Danaan and the hunting of the Amandán but beyond being Finn’s friends, I don’t know why they are a part of the read L I can only assume that Darby is keeping them around for some major purpose down the road . . . .but, we all know what assuming gets us, am I right?
Iona: Bugger all!! I am absolutely clueless where this one is concerned. She is absolutely tied to Gideon and his past (though I don’t think she is tied in the way Gideon has always believed), she knows Finn is the Spear and, she is up to no good. As with many, many other things in this read, I can’t imagine the amount of trouble she caused in this particular read and the relatively small plans she admits to Gideon are even a drop in the bucket compared to what she has planned. Iona is old and very powerful and I can’t believe her ultimate goal for the mythical Spear would be the control of the Amandán. She’s far too prissy to want those smelly bastards around for long.
The Bottom Line: Despite my high level of frustration, I still really liked this read and am, as I always will be, a devoted follower of Darby K.! Darby is an author I can depend on to produce high quality work that I want to return to time and time again and so, this new experience of frustration is confusing, to say the least. Honestly, this whole not knowing and not having a clue about the characters is a new ball game for me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have to know all the answers and I don’t have to know what’s coming but this not even having a smallish clue is a wholly unexpected event and not something I am at all used to with Darby’s books. So, at the end of the day, I am still going to recommend this read to everyone I know with the assumption that Darby has something really spectacular up her sleeve for the future of Gideon and his Spear. After all, Darby K. has never let me down 🙂
Darby Karchut is an award-winning author, teacher, and a compulsive dawn greeter. She lives in Colorado with her husband and owns more backpacks than purses. As she should. Her Middle Grade books include FINN FINNEGAN (March 2013 from Spencer Hill Press). The next book in the Finnegan series, GIDEON’S SPEAR (Spencer Hill Press) will be released February 2014, followed by THE HOUND AT THE GATE (January 2015).
Her YA books include GRIFFIN RISING, GRIFFIN’S FIRE, and GRIFFIN’S STORM. She has also co-authored a non-fiction book for teens entitled MONEY AND TEENS with her husband, author Wes Karchut.
Visit Darby at her website: www.darbykarchut.com