As witches scheme to break her family apart, a young mixed-race Irish girl must rescue her father and risk losing her mother.
Pearl “Mup” Taylor first spies the raggedy witches the night that Aunty dies. Long ago, Aunty brought Mup’s white-presenting mother across the border into the mundane world to protect her from her mother—Aunty’s sister—the queen of the Glittering Land. But when Aunty dies, witches kidnap Mup’s human, Nigerian-Irish father as he’s on his way back from a North Sea oil rig in order to lure the queen’s heir, Mup’s mother, back across the border. Danger lurks everywhere as Mup, her mother, little brother, and Aunty’s ghost stage a rescue mission—and as the power of magic steadily calls to her mother, Mup fears she will lose her entire family in the Glittering Land. Kiernan has crafted something at once familiar and delightfully surprising with this fantasy quest. Like biting into an unassuming brownie to discover it has a heart of Nutella, Mup’s narrative has all the hallmarks of a traditional misadventure with the fairy folk, but the unusual deployment of the “chosen one” trope, a plot-driving interweave of magic and family tension, and ineffably Irish elements of worldbuilding and characterization deliver readers an unexpected twist of richness.
It’s fortunate a trilogy is planned, for readers will surely demand more of Mup. (Fantasy. 8-12)