Book review: The Last of the High Kings by Kate Thompson
Title: The Last of the High Kings
Author: Kate Thompson
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Country & Ethnic
Amazon Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars
Kate Thompson (b. 1956) is an award-winning British-Irish author of adult and children’s fiction. She is best known for her young adult fantasy novels, which include the Switchers Trilogy: Switchers, Midnight’s Choice, and Wild Blood. She has won the Whitbread/Costa Children’s Book Award and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, and has been awarded the Children’s Books Ireland (CBI) Book of the Year Award four times. Thompson lives on the west coast of Ireland.
Traveling to the land of eternal youth was the only way J.J. Liddy could stop time from leaking from his world to T’ir na n’Og. But fifteen years after returning from the land of the faeries, J.J. wonders if that long-ago visit is responsible for the strange things now happening to those around him.
Why does his daughter Jenny roam barefoot through the wilds, when she should be in school? When did the mysterious white goat begin to patrol the hillside? What is the secret project that J.J.’s son Donal is attempting? And who is the ghost guarding the stone beacon at the top of the mountain—and why has Jenny befriended him?
Finding answers to these questions will take J.J. and his family on the most important and dangerous journey of their lives. If they fail, it will undo all the good that J.J. accomplished fifteen years ago. But if they succeed, they will defeat the forces that are gathering to destroy all of mankind, and finally secure the future of the last of the high kings.
*I bought my own copy of this book and will not be compensated in any way for this review.*
This second book in a trilogy follows the extremely intriguing The New Policeman. Readers might be disappointed that this sequel is entirely different from the first book, especially since the main character, J.J. Liddy, age 15 in The New Policeman, is now age 40 and has children of his own. The liveliness of his children makes this book it’s own story, and it truly does not disappoint. Filled with Irish folklore and a modern setting, you will be swept away to a small Irish countryside, listening to the music man, looking for a wayward daughter, and escaping reality into a whole new world.
The story begins when a ghost of a young boy guards a pile of stones on the top of a mountain, and the only person who has spoken with him in the last three thousand years is Liddy’s daughter, Jenny. She feels dreadfully out of place in the human world, preferring to roam the rocky fields of the Burren barefoot and converse with the Púka and the ghost than go to school. The Púka, a spirit disguised as a white goat, understands, and teaches her many things that she would never learn in school, such as how to read the winds of change.
The Liddys accept that this is who Jenny is, but only as the story masterfully unfolds, do we learn why that is. J.J. has been waiting for years for a deal he made in T’ir na n’Og to come to fruition, and his patience is wearing thin. Once he decides to put his plan into action, he finds that there are many factors that he did not consider, or even understand. The ghost, the Púka, and even Jenny have a major part to play in what could very well be the unmaking of the human world. As Jenny learns of her own significance, she must work out a plan of her own to save the people that she has grown to love.
Although I did not read the prequel to this book, I don’t feel I missed anything. The books stands on its own, an incredibly written story that drew me in with its mystery and mythology. I loved the modern play on old legends, especially those of Celtic descent. I look forward to reading much more from this author, including the first and third books in the series.
This book is a bargain book and has limited quantities.