Compelling, atmospheric and magical in every way, Catherine Doyle's 'The Storm Keeper's Island' is a fantastic beginning of a new fantasy series. I can't believe I haven't read this sooner!
Arranmore Island is alive with a magic both natural and powerful. It is the job of the Storm Keeper to wield this power and protect the island from danger. Soon Fionn's grandfather is to step down from this role, to make way for a new Storm Keeper. But ancient evil is stirring and Fionn must confront his fears if he is to find his own place on Arranmore.
I am a huge fan of Susan Cooper's books, particularly 'The Dark is Rising' sequence. It was a joy then to discover that Catherine Doyle writes with the same magical ability to open the mind and heart to the wild forces of the imagination. There is much here that reminds me of 'Over Sea, Under Stone' or 'Greenwitch', both of which I adore. Doyle is able to drench her narrative in roiling atmosphere while at the same time beautifying the commonplace with genuine heart. Fionn is a character we care a great deal about and his grandfather is both archetypal, unique and utterly charming. 'The Storm Keeper's Island' is low-fantasy at its very best: dark, funny; revering the ordinary and the extraordinary with sparkle and warmth.
Recently I read 'Storm Witch' by Ellen Renner and there are, of course, comparisons to be made here. Both books are fabulous. Both are set on islands with magic. The difference? One is an excellent example of high-fantasy and one an excellent example of low-fantasy. I'd love to see a chat between the authors, discussing their worlds and their differences in approach. Both need to be valued in equal measure. And this is a wonderful thing.
If you are looking for a book that is scary, magical, funny and with characters to truly love then pick up 'The Storm Keeper's Island' now! You will not be disappointed. The sequel 'The Lost Tide Warriors' has just come out too - and I will certainly not take as long to get round to read it!