The Radiant Road by Katherine Catmull

The Radiant Road by Katherine Catmull
On Sale Date: January 19, 2016
Juvenile Fiction \ Fantasy & Magic
Ages 12 And Up, Grades 7 And Up
Dutton Books for Young Readers
Source: ARC from publisher
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
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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.

Katherine Catmull's newest story The Radiant Road weaves a gorgeously rendered tale full of vivid and poetic writing about a modern fairy tale that takes place in Ireland. This story captivated me with its nearly mystic writing while a world of magic and the fairy kept me intrigued. A slower pace and meandering plot do make for a very patient read, though.

The Radiant Road's strength lies in is lyrical writing, transporting the reader to a realm of magic and myth. At times, I could not put this story down for the dreamlike quality you experience through the protagonist Clare, as she discovers her link to a long line of women and the fairy. 

The plot does meander at times, its dangers and villains are often  overshadowed by the protagonist Clare's introduction to the fairy, many of which are side quests, and thrilling though they are, detracted from the feel of urgency and danger. With Fairy flags, an enchanted Yew tree living inside her families cottage, and with the Irish legend of Balor threaded throughout, there's plenty of the mythic going around to captivate. Readers do need to be patient for the slow reveal, but are rewarded with a complete and satisfying ending.

The protagonist Clare Macleod is a relatable heroine, one that remains so even after she discovers her ability of "fairy-making" and the hidden realm of the Timeless. Readers can enjoy a YA heroine that suffers doubts just like most teens, yet is determined and loyal to her father, while she retains her love and connection to her deceased mother through writing and poetry. 

Finn, the mysterious boy from her childhood, brings to the story magic making, the fairy, and of course, some dreamlike romance to be swept up in. Despite his magic, Finn has to overcome obstacle and dangers as well. Some that threaten his very existence - so I really enjoyed that there was no easy way out, each quest is a challenge. Each obstacle had to be overcome for both Clare and Finn. 

I thought the romance that was building was a wonderful compliment to the story without overshadowing it. I do admit, I could have had a few more swoony moments, but it is sweet and romantic. 

I'm a fan of lush writing and fairy stories, so The Radiant Road worked wonderfully as my first introduction to author Katherine Catmull's evocative writing style. I'm looking forward to trying her first novel, Summer and Bird, as well.