Catherine Doyle’s first middle grade book, the award-winning The Storm Keeper’s Island, was one of last year’s stand out reads for me, and so I couldn’t wait to read the sequel – The Lost Tide Warriors – which came out earlier this month. While I’m always a tad apprehensive about reading a sequel to a book I’ve loved so much, I’m pleased to report that in this case, The Lost Tide Warriors is just as magical and spellbinding as the first…

The story follows a few months on from The Storm Keeper’s Island. While Fionn is now Arranmore’s Storm Keeper, he doubts his magical abilities and his uncertainty is picked up by other islanders, who become increasingly concerned that he is not up to the job. All comes to a head when the terrifying Soulstalkers, whose leader is the sorceress Morrigan, arrive on the Island in droves. With some of the islanders wanting to tackle the problem their own way, Fionn has no choice but to call on his friends to help him raise Dagda’s army of merrows in retaliation. However, with the Winter Solstice approaching, he finds himself rapidly running out of time…

Catherine is such a masterful storyteller and her rich, atmospheric writing style is a pleasure to read. This second story has more pace, drama and intensity to it and I became completely absorbed within minutes of opening the cover. I’m pleased that she has continued to weave the themes of sibling rivalry, relationships and (with a light touch) dementia throughout the plot, as for me, these ground the story and keep it within the bounds of magical realism rather than pure fantasy. I also love the unique method of travelling through time via the memories and magic stored within candles: these sections of the book are so well crafted and possess such descriptive detail that you feel as though you’re right in the middle of the story. I must also highlight the skilful and sensitively-written ending, which moved me to tears. I knew it was coming, but somehow I still wasn’t fully prepared (I don’t want to give any spoilers…).

If middle-grade readers (age 8 – 12) haven’t yet read The Storm Keeper’s Island, then it’s definitely worth doing so before starting this sequel (you can read my review here: http://www.merrybookworm.co.uk/fiction/the-storm-keepers-island-by-catherine-doyle/) as otherwise the story initially won’t make sense. Trust me, they’ll be pleased they did, as it’s really rather fabulous! Number 3 in the series is due next year (hurrah!) and I can’t wait to see how the story develops – just a loooong 12 months to wait…

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The Lost Tide Warriors:
Author: Catherine Doyle
Cover Art: Bill Brag
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 9781408896907
Paperback: 334 pages

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