Just when Finn MacCullen thought fate couldn’t kick him any harder after the events of the Festival of the Hunt, it does. Now, he must overcome a series of nearly impossible trials to prove his worth as an apprentice, or lose his place at his master Gideon’s side. But Finn and Gideon, and their friends, are determined to boot fate right back. They’re going to do whatever it takes to succeed, including teaming up with a sorceress and a certain teen angel. However, Finn’s life has as many twists as a Celtic knot, and master and apprentice find themselves in their ancestral homeland of Ireland with only their wits—and a fair bit of the Black Hand’s charm—to protect them from the vengeful Celtic goddess known as the Scáthach. In this heart-stopping finale of the award-winning series, it’s going to take every scrap of Finn’s Irish luck and pluck to save himself, and his master, from death. Or worse.
Source: ARC from author
My Rating: 6 stars (and I use a 5-star system!)
I don’t even know where to start with this read that doesn’t involve loads of bad words and hand waving . . . . . I will try and contain myself since I do want Amazon to publish this review 🙂
The Scáthach, an ancient being with tremendous power who generally takes whatever and whomever she desires. Gideon’s Spear, aka Finn MacCullen is who the Scáthach wants and she will not be denied. Finn’s blood is powerful and precious and with the skills learned at the Scáthach’s side, she would be virtually indestructible.
What the old ones like the Scáthach often no longer understand is human emotion and attachment. Finn is young and has suffered terrible losses in his life as well as bigotry because of his half-blood status. For the first time in his young life, Finn feels wanted, cared for, and settled by Gideon Lir’s side. To be sure, Gideon is a tough teacher but his toughness is tempered with real affection for Finn. To leave Gideon’s home, to abandon his training and his friends is absolutely unthinkable. It is precisely that way of thinking that now has Finn and Gideon on the edge of their respective seats in anticipation of the trials the Scáthach intends to put Finn through in exchange for his freedom.
Though Finn only has a few months of training, he has a wealth of practical experience but nothing could have prepared Finn for the demands of the Scáthach. To strengthen her hand, the Scáthach has invoked the right to assign the most ancient of trials, the control of the elements. For his first trial, Finn must demonstrate control over fire. Uh, what?? Fire! Finn has to control fire and he has absolutely no idea how to do that outside of using a lighter. Thankfully, Gideon has a large network of friends and frenemies and with just over a week to get ready, time is of the essence. To make matters far more stressful, Finn and Gideon have to be ridiculously careful that the Scáthach not know they have enlisted help.
As you might well expect, things just don’t go smoothly or as planned for Finn and Gideon. Even with the help of trusted (and one not so trusted) friends, the trials are a nightmare that eventually leads the group to Ireland and on the trail of ancient legend that is pretty much a last-ditch effort at saving Finn from the Scáthach’s grasp. Nothing, no matter how wretched and awful that has come before could have prepared Finn for what happens in Ireland. Everything and everyone Finn loves is threatened, the Scáthach is ruthless in her pursuit, and if Finn and his friends don’t find the legendary burnt bones, all will absolutely be lost.
The Bottom Line: I truly wish I had the words to adequately describe how much I have loved not only this book but this series. If I were describing this book and the series to friends or strangers, there would absolutely be wildly waving hands, naughty words, and we’re-fairly-certain-she’s-bat-shit-crazy enthusiasm. Karchut has built a world that is steeped in legend and myth, friendship and loyalty, care and concern, and action and adventure. Each element is woven into the story and acted out by the various players rather than being bluntly written. Karchut’s descriptions, her characters, and her worlds are kind and welcoming, drawing the reader in from the very first page and having to forcibly kick us out at the end because we just can’t bear to let go. With that being said, I’m glad this series is ending where it does, at its peak and not five (or more) books from now with a stale and played out cast of characters and horribly contrived plots, schemes, and machinations. Karchut, like any elegant and graceful woman, knows when it’s time to leave the party. Though I am sad to see such wonderful and impactful characters walk out of my life, I know they, like all good friends are only a thought away and can be pulled from my shelf and revisited at any time. I bid you adieu, Finn MacCullen and wish you all the best in your next adventure . . . .
About the author and where to find her: