Author: Frank Delaney
Summary: In the winter of 1951, a storyteller arrives at the home of nine-year-old Ronan O'Mara in the Irish countryside. The last practitioner of an honoured, centuries-old tradition, the Seanchai enthrals his assembled audience for three evenings running with narratives of foolish kings and fabled saints, of enduring accomplishments and selfless acts- until he is banished from the household for blasphemy and moves on. But these three incomparable nights have changed young Ronan forever, setting him on the course he will follow for years to come - as her pursues the elusive, itinerant storyteller . . . and the magical tales that are no less than the glorious saga of his tenacious, troubled, and extraordinary isle.
My Rating: 9.75/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: I absolutely loved this book, in fact it was next to impossible to put down, I can safely say that this book will be on my top ten favourite books of the year, and I’m asking myself, why I allowed this book set on my TBR shelf for as long as it did.
The whole premise of the story and how it was brought together was brilliant. Delaney did a fantastic job with weaving various stories of folklore, myths, legends and tidbits of Irish history into his story, and still managed to create a very intriguing story around it - about how a small boy’s life was forever changed by a storyteller and the stories he told. It could have easily gone the other way, having the main story interrupted by these small shorter stories throughout the book, but it didn’t, it all came together so well it really drew me into the story, more than I ever thought it could. The book is a long book, but it doesn’t feel that way, I think this is partly due to the fact; you get these stories within the story itself, to help keep the reader interested in the main story but also gives them a break from it at times, and changes the pace. Either way, I was very impressed with the author’s ability, to weave these stories, into the novel as a whole, but how he managed to create the voice of the storyteller, for them. At times, you really felt like the storyteller was there with you, telling you about some of the great tales of Ireland.
The main story line was also very captivating; I was gripped by the book at times, as I followed Roman on his adventure and as he came of age. The book follows a long span of time, following the characters throughout their lives, meeting new ones long the way, but the book doesn’t ever drag, it stays consistent, and flows well throughout the entire story. I was hooked until the end. And, there was a very interesting twist that threw me; I didn’t see it coming at all. I’d love to say more, but I don’t want to spoil anything. It was good I’ll leave it at that.
How the story was narrated was also, done extremely well. Delaney is a fantastic author, who can really write a very good story. There is just something about the author’s writing style that pulled me into the book until the end. At times, the book felt almost lyrical in how it was told, which is yet another reason to why the book was hard to put down - not only was there an interesting story, but the writing was superb.
The characters were also down incredibly well, they were believable and some of the characters I really fell in love with. Another reason why the book was so hard to put down - the characters and how much you cared about them, I always love a book where the author puts so much thought into their characters, who you hate to see anything bad happen to them, this is one of those books. The storyteller and Roman, despite some of his less likeable characteristics, really became some favourites of mine.
What I didn’t like. Nothing overly noticeable really, there were a few characters I didn’t like; one or two were over eccentric. Not that it was a bad thing, but sometimes, having to many over eccentric characters can be a bit redundant. But there wasn’t really anything to huge I disliked about the book, the only other problem is I want to devour the authors other works - is that a negative or a positive?
Overall, it was a wonderful book, having a lot of the elements in a great book I really value - memorable characters, lyrical and quality writing, Irish folklore and history, and an overall well told, well done story. Highly recommend you read this book.
Would I recommend it to read: In case you haven’t noticed, I would recommend this book to read. I still can’t convey to you how great this book is, until you experience for your self. So, yes, highly recommend.
What to read next: I have both Tipperary and Shannon (which I just bough, because I enjoyed the first book by him so much), so I’d start there. Not sure where else to go after that. The story reminds me of another book I have on my shelf, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller, so that may also be a good book to try.
Challenges: Read ‘n’ Review, Pages Read, 10/10 Challenge, 100+ Challenge, A - Z Challenge, Chunkster Challenge, Countdown Challenge, Fall into Reading Challenge, RYOB Challenge