To Ride A Puca by Heather McCorkle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I would like to thank author Heather McCorkle for providing me with a digital copy of this book to read and give an honest review. I have heard such great things about Heather's books, I jumped at the chance to read and review this one!
Blurb from Goodreads:
Invaders are coming to take what isn't theirs, again. Neala wants to stand and fight for her homeland, but as one of the last druids, she may be standing alone. Persecuted, hunted down, forced to live in obscurity, the druids have all but given up. Can the determination of a girl who has barely come into her power bring them together? Or, just when she finally finds her place among her kind, will they end up losing a homeland their very magic is tied to?
I will first off be honest and tell you that I did not read the blurb for this book, so I had no idea what it was about when I went into it. I had heard such great things about Heather's writing, I didn't feel the need to find out. Plus, I didn't want my reading experience to be skewed by anything I might have "assumed" through reading the blurb. I also did not read any reviews prior to this book, for the same reason as stated above.
First, I would like to comment on this awesome cover. I just love the face of the horse. At first I did not understand why the horse had to be the main focus for the cover. I thought, as I was reading, that perhaps the main character should have been placed on the cover. But once things were revealed to me, I began to understand why it was important to have this very cover! It really does fit the story perfectly once you have read it.
Second, can I just say that I love the names the author picked for the characters in this book. The book takes place in Ireland, so of course you figure there will be Irish names. However, I was not expecting older names, of course I did not know the time frame of the book, either. Once that was revealed, I was pleased to see that the author must have done her research to make sure the names were appropriate. The historical significance of the names really does give so much credit to the author.
Now, for the characters. What can I say about Neala? She is such a great character. So well developed. her arc is awesome. You really see her grow and come into herself during the book. She is not your typical teenager, filled with angst and annoyance. She is independent and almost always self-assured (which I really loved). She easily recognized right from wrong and didn't put herself into situations she thought would be too hard for her to handle. She shows her love for family. And, despite, not having any friends for most of her life, she is able to easily accept people when they finally show an interest in befriending her. She stands up and fights for what she believes in, even when she knows those around her might be unhappy with that decision. The one thing that bothered me about her was her quickness to fall for a guy. During the course of the book, I could not believe how many romantic interests she had.
What can I say about Bren. He is obviously sexy. He is confident, that is for sure. He knows what he wants and he pursues with such enthusiasm it is surprising he doesn't run right over everyone he thinks might be standing in his way! He does portray a typical teenage boy whose mind is filled with hormonal feelings and wonderings about the opposite sex. But he is also committed to his friends and loved ones, and would put his life right on the line for them when necessary.
Dubh, what a horse! Big and strong. Beautiful and graceful. And completely protective of Neala. I love how he is not afraid to "stick his nose" into situations, literally, when he knows that things might not be right. He is definitely Neala's guardian angel!
And what to say about Tyr, the sexy Dane. Well, just picturing him on his steed at the end made me want to cry for him. He is strong and lovable and makes certain that Neala knows he is unlike the other Danes from which he is descended.
And to all the other characters, which are too many for me to name and describe, well, let's just say Ms. McCorkle really knew what she was doing by introducing them to us. They become Neala's family, if they are not already, and they help take us on a magical and mystical journey through the history of these Druids.
All the characters are really well developed in this book. I could picture each and every one of them in my mind and felt a connection to all of them, good or evil. They lead you on an adventure that is unlike any other you have been on before.
I don't read much fantasy, but I really enjoyed the mythology associated with this book. It was a new and completely unusual world for me. I was drawn into the hills of Ireland and overtaken by it's people and their way of life. The world building was really well thought out and described. I also loved that even tho Heather has written other stories in this series, there is no reason to read them to understand this particular book.
I have to say that the multiple love interests of the main character got a little overwhelming and seemed a bit unrealistic. This was the only downfall I found with this book, and the reason why it did not get 5 stars from me.
The book was engaging and, for me, a page turner. I really got immersed in the reading and didn't want to put it down. If you like books along the line of Percy Jackson, Harry Potter and other mythical type novels, then you will love this novel. It's a dark and sexy historical novel that will keep you enthralled from beginning to end!
Bravo, Heather, for taking me on a journey I never knew existed!
4 out of 5 stars from me!
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