“Gold beckoned from nearby, singing his name and teasing him like a loose-moraled woman.”
Birthed beneath a magical tree under peculiar circumstances, 16-year-old white, Irish Tommin is an assistant shoemaker—and a pickpocket, with a daily urge to steal that consumes him. A mysterious man visits the shoe shop, accompanied by his niece, a shy, abused white girl named Eve. The stranger is actually a predatory leprechaun who kidnaps young humans and deems them his gold-children. Present at Tommin’s birth, Lorcan now claims Tommin, along with Eve, and takes them to the Neathlands, the underground world of the leprechauns. The two humans attend the Neathgillan Academy, where they acquire their leprechaun training. An unexpected troll attack interrupts the induction ceremony, separates Tommin and Eve, and sends Tommin into a gold-deficiency coma for 200 years. He wakes in the 21st century to discover that the leprechauns and faeries still orbit each other’s worlds and determines to take a second chance at the unfulfilled romance. Unfortunately Noble’s slow pacing in the first act doesn’t develop enough momentum or excitement to encourage readers to commit to the second part, where the story finally picks up and Tommin’s encounters with modern life generate excitement. The early attraction between Tommin and Eve is barely noticeable, leaving readers uninvested in the long-awaited reunion.
High marks on concept but low marks on execution. (Fantasy. 14-18)