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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Review: The Radiant Road by Katherine Catmull

The Radiant Road
by Katherine Catmull
January 19, 2016
A gorgeously written tale of magic, friendship, and self-discovery set in a dream-like landscape filled with fairies.
After years of living in America, Clare Macleod and her father are returning to Ireland, where they’ll inhabit the house Clare was born in—a house built into a green hillside with a tree for a wall. For Clare, the house is not only full of memories of her mother, but also of a mysterious boy with raven-dark hair and dreamlike nights filled with stars and magic. Clare soon discovers that the boy is as real as the fairy-making magic, and that they’re both in great danger from an ancient foe.
Fast-paced adventure and spellbinding prose combine to weave a tale of love and loyalty in this young adult fantasy.

Praise for The Radiant Road
Publishers Weekly (starred review): "A stunningly atmospheric, gorgeously complicated dream of a book. Genuinely frightening and eerie moments are drawn as masterfully as the joyous, glowing, peculiar images that populate Catmull's version of a world inexorably linked to, yet separate from, our own."

School Library Journal (starred review): "An unforgettable tale that begins slowly and gently, gradually and inevitably leading to athundering crescendo. A haunting novel that contains all the darkness and light of A Midsummer Night's Dream."

Booklist: "Catmull has created an eerily lovely story, writing with an old­-fashioned style that at times sings like a lullaby. An excellent addition to either teen or juvenile collections of all sizes." 

BookPeople Top Shelf Pick: "Catmull’s writing is incomparable, unique in a genre that is already full of magical tales."


Fourteen year old Clare Macleod and her father return to Ireland and their home with a tree for a wall, after years of being away. Returning home brings back memories of Clare’s dead mother and a dark-haired boy from Clare’s dreams. Clare finds that the dark haired boy is very real and is so the fairy magic of her childhood. Soon, Clare is swept away into the brilliant but dangerous world of the Strange and must save it and her own world.

Katherine Catmull’s The Radiant Road is just that, radiant...and divinely so! This is the first real fantasy, in a long time, that has captivated and bewitched me so utterly and completely. With melodic, lush language, that made me feel all sparkly and fluttery, Catmull’s words and descriptions seem to dance. Combining that dazzling language with imaginative creations, Irish folklore, and a dash of pure magic, Catmull creates  a rich, engrossing world, that is both enchanting and darkly whimsical. Clare’s home, nestled into a hill, and with it’s tree-as-a-wall, makes for such a cozy, peaceful homebase for both Clare and readers. And the world of the Strange (fairies) is a delicious mix of sparkle, shivers, and Wonderland like madness. Catmull does a superb job of crafting a stunning and spellbindingly atmospheric story.

But The Radiant Road isn’t just pretty words and fanciful creations, it has heart, multi-faceted relationships, intense action, and engaging characters. I just love sweet, thoughtful, feisty Clare and witty, brave, endearing Finn (the dark haired boy). I found them relatable, charming, and beautifully complex.

my final thoughts: The Radiant Road is a gorgeous, mesmerizing book full of spectacular storytelling, enthralling world-building, and unforgettable characters. In the world of fantasy, this book shines bright and luminous!

5/5 cupcakes

Katherine Catmull is an actor, freelance writer, voice-over artist, and sometimes playwright. Her first novel, Summer and Bird, was called “a stunning debut” that “thrills with complex storytelling” by Booklist. She lives in Austin, Texas.

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