Review Blog

Apr 28 2017

Darkmouth by Shane Hegarty

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Harper Collins, 2017. ISBN 9780007545612
(Age:11+) Highly recommended. Darkmouth is the first book in a fantasy adventure series of the same name. Boys and girls of all ages will be instantly hooked on the reluctant anti-hero and his rite of passage to become the 43rd Legend Hunter of Darkmouth. Finn is dreading his "Completion" deadline on his 13th birthday, when he takes over from his dad - Hugo the Great - perhaps the most successful Legend hunter of them all. Finn's predicament is demonstrated by his inability to defeat a Minotaur in the opening chapters, despite having him in his Desiccator's sights. Of course, Dad comes to his rescue yet again.
The seaside town has more than its fair share of monsters entering Darkmouth via an increasing number of portals. There seems to be an invasion afoot just as Hugo is offered a place on the esteemed Council of Twelve. Friendless, as his father's inept successor, Finn begins to rise to his destiny with the arrival of Emmie - daughter of Steve, an equally inexperienced Legend Hunter.
Broonie, the messenger of the evil Gantura, is reanimated by Finn to deliver a prophesy of the rise of an army of Legends and the fall of the last Legend Hunter's child. Gantrua is the leader of the Fomorians of Irish myth - hideous giants who inhabit the 'Infested Side'. How will Finn, aided by Emmie, defend Darkmouth without his father?
Shane Hegarty is an Irish journalist of some note yet the novel borders on high fantasy. Though we have many ordinary reference points in the town, the "Infested Side", where the Legends live, would sate the imaginations of fans of Ransom Riggs, Rick Riordan or Terry Pratchett.
James de la Rue's sparse illustrations are perfect aids to our imagination, but the premise and the character development makes the battle between man and monsters deliciously dynamic. Hailed by Eoin Colfer as "the next big thing," the film rights were sold in 2015 for a six figure sum. But first boys and girls, you need to devour this series in print to appreciate the origins of this epic of cinematic proportions. Official trailer. There is a prequel to the series here.
Deborah Robins

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