The Lost Tide Warriors- Catherine Doyle

Oh my. This is one of those books where you grope and grasp to find the right words because it is so infinitely wonderful and breathtakingly brilliant that it is hard to encapsulate it into words. I hope I do it justice.

The Stormkeeper’s Island was such a wonderful and magical read steeped in myth and folklore it was almost an impossible wait to find out what happens next to the Boyles on the island of Arranmore.

Book cover for lost tide warriors
Cover Illustration by Bill Bragg- Lettering by Patrick Knowles Designed by Sarah Baldwyn

The Lost Tide Warriors picks up in the winter 6 months after The Stormkeeper’s Island following the events where Morrigan is awakening and we see her followers are being called to the island in threatening manners and accompanied by frankly disgusting portents of doom.

Fionn is struggling, he’s the new Stormkeeper but he doesn’t seem to have any powers over the elements even using the candles, whilst his sister Tara torments him with her prowess with pilfered candles. It gets even worse when his own mother suggests they train other islanders to use the candles and it works, and excruciatingly even Bartleby is better than him with candle magic.

As time draws nearer to the Winter solstice Ivan returns and demands the islanders hand over Fionn so he can raise Morrigan with spilled Stormkeeper blood. A legend of a shell that can call the deadly merrows to aid the islanders is all that stands between them and destruction.

But time is short, both until the solstice and until his grandfather’s candle runs out.

The Stormkeeper Of Arranmore: to wield the elements in Dagda’s name. aka Me. See Also: Useless.

Doyle has spun a spectacular yarn here with a twist on the ‘Chosen One’ narrative where Fionn isn’t mastering the skills and isn’t a natural after a small wobble. He’s been trying for months and failing and with his sister’s success he is struggling terribly with imposter syndrome throughout the entire book.

But this makes it so much more interesting to read. So often we have ‘Chosen One’ narratives where the prophesy is revealed and after a little wobbler about being incapable they acquire Ultimate Cosmic powers and use them with ease.

This is not the case though here, Fionn is tortured by his inabilities by the fact he is dependent on others who are supposed to rely on him to protect the island. He grumps and grouches his way through the days incandescent at his impotence and incredulous at the constancy of belief in him by others. Whilst without spoilers it’s fair to say things begin to change and emotions open doors as we get to the end of the novel it’s fair to say Lost Tide Warriors is more of an Empire Strikes Back than A New Hope type story if you know your Star Wars.

“Arranmore people are loyal Fionn.” She went on. ‘They will help if you ask them to. No matter the odds. No matter the consequences. You don’t have to carry this burden all by yourself.”

I also adore the fact that Doyle further turns tropes on their head regarding the heirs of Dagda, the interesting question posed by the pretext that only blood descendants of the original families (and thus Dagda) can wield the magic, a mystery and challenge to this is well and truly raised by one plot twist.

This book is filled with soul searching, desperation and heartbreak and is a tear jerker at times enough to make this grown woman well up and get very emotional 😭. However it is also full of hope and belief and courage in the spite of terrible danger and almost certain failure a community brought together and fighting together side by side rather than casting the fates on one which gives this book such a wonderful strength and depth that is beautiful to see.

I cannot wait to see how my heart and soul will be tugged and swelled in the next instalment of this wonderful story.

The Lost Tide Warriors by Catherine Doyle is published by Bloomsbury.

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