The Summer King
Author: O.R. Melling
Publisher: Amulet Books
The Summer King is a haunting, absorbing and lavishly told tale set both in present day Ireland and the world of Fairy.
Laurel, an 18 year old girl who is grieving the death of her twin sister Honor, returns to Ireland and the scene of her twin’s death to try and find out who killed her sister. While the devastated family thinks it was an accident, Laurel, armed with her sister’s puzzling journals believes her sister was led into something unsavory. She finds odd references of little people, in particular one little man and other more disturbing entries. She’s also starting to be plagued with dreams.
Upon arrival in Ireland, Laurel finds her old boyfriend Ian Grey with whom she was with the day her sister died still nursing hurt that she had left him, blamed him for her not being there to save her sister. These young people have lots of angst and passion to work out and that alone could fill a book.
But wait. There’s the small matter of a cluricaun, something like a leprechaun but a little darker. This little guy reminds me of a small Bacchus, always toting around his poteen and pissing drunk when he’s not lying through his teeth. There are ravens that turn to warriors, scary sea fairies called the boctogai, a wild Irish pirate named Grace O’Malley, eagles that talk and worlds within worlds.
There is also the possibility that Laurel’s sister isn’t dead but sleeping somewhere in Fairy and if Laurel can complete the quest of freeing the Summer King, then her sister will be freed. The quest isn’t all that it seems though and neither is Ireland, the Summer King himself, Laurel’s grandparents or Ian who may just have the darkest secret of all.
I loved The Summer King and was completely swept away by it. I discovered that it is the sequel to Hunter’s Moon which I haven’t read (now I will). It stands as a single novel though. You really don’t need to read Hunter’s Moon although you, like me after reading this, will most probably want to read it and everything else Melling writes. The Summer King is romance, magic, mystery, betrayal, legend, lore, history and simply marvelous, engaging storytelling. It’s wonderful.