Mollie loves her baby brother Thomas – he’s adorable and sweet – but no one can say that for fear that the Kinde Folke will take him away. When Mollie borrows his iron locket and accidentally praises him, though, she finds him gone and an ugly changeling baby in his place. After months of suffering, Mollie decides to venture into the Dark Lands to get Thomas back, whatever the cost.
I love books that are themed around Celtic folklore, and Guest is no exception. Unlike a lot of changeling stories I’ve read before, the story focused on different types of fairies rather than just darker versions of the ones we’re used to. I was especially thrilled when a pooka appeared in the story – I can think of only one other book that references them outside of the original folklore. Even though this is a children’s book, the author doesn’t downplay the fairies’ dangerous and tricky nature.
However, I found that the unfortunate side effect of emphasizing the fairies’ trickery so heavily was a lot of repetition. Mollie constantly makes the same mistakes when dealing with the fairies. The main character is a child, so at first this repetition was believable. Eventually, though, these instances lacked suspense because I essentially knew what was going to happen. The ending also felt far too convenient. I think this book is certainly a good introduction to Celtic folklore for young audiences who might not be ready for reads that are too dark or high-intensity.
Yours in love and literature,
Content warning(s): minor violence
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