#Review - The Radiant Road by Katherine Catmull @FirstToRead @DuttonYR

The Radiant Road by Katherine Catmull
Penguin Group -Dutton Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 19, 2016
Date Read: December 27, 2015

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.

I have mixed feelings about this book.  Young adult fantasy with a fairies?  I was ready to love it and I thought it started out really strong but everything started to fizzle out for me as the book progressed.  I liked the overall story but I had a lot of trouble connecting with the writing style.  I really wanted to see where things were going in the story but I found that I kept checking how much I had left to read like I was eager for it to be over.

Clare and her father return to their home in Ireland after spending the past several years in the United States.  Clare was born in the house as were her ancestors on her mother's side of the family.  The house is unique with open windows, dirt floors, and a huge yew tree growing in the center of the home.  Clare's mother died before they left the country originally so it is just her and her father.  She soon starts to rediscover all of the things that her mother had taught her about the strange and finds herself pulled into the world of the fae.

I was really sucked into the story as Clare started to piece everything together but as the plot really got moving I found that the writing style overpowered the story.  There were some elements of the story that could have used a little more definition such as the totem and the balance between the human and fairy worlds.  I found that I was often reading passages a second time trying to figure out what I had missed.  I would have liked to dig a little deeper into the world of faerie to learn about their world and get to know some of the characters better.  Some very interesting characters were introduced but then were quickly gone such as the beast and the girl from the yew tree.

I did really like the underlying connection between Clare and the yew tree.  Clare did seem to accept her new reality very quickly and was more than willing to try to make things better.  I never developed any kind of connection with Clare and never felt truly invested in the story.  I was actually quite thrilled that this story did not have a focus on romance.  The conclusion to the story was well done and I felt like everything was really wrapped up quite nicely.

I would recommend this book to fantasy fans looking for a book written in more poetic style.  This is the first book by Katherine Catmull that I have had a chance to read but I would definitely be open to other works by this author.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Penguin Group - Dutton Books for Young Readers via First to Read for the purpose of providing an honest review.

About the Author

Photo: © Ken Webster
Katherine Catmull is an actor, freelance writer, voice-over artist, and sometimes playwright. Her first novel, Summer and Bird, was called “a stunning debut” that “thrills with complex storytelling” by Booklist. She lives in Austin, Texas.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter


  1. I may read this later on in the year. Writing a fantasy book in a style such as this takes guts. Reminds me of Hannah Moskowitz's A History of Glitter and Blood. The writing gave me a headache, but I did love it by the end. Great review!

    1. Thanks! I just kept getting lost in the writing but the idea behind the story was really good. I think that this book will work really well for some people but I had to read some passages several time.

  2. The blurb definitely grabs my attention but your comments about the writing style do not make want to read this. Also, the difficulty with connecting with Clare is definitely a negative. I don't read a whole lot of fantasy so I'm thinking I should probably pick a different book.

    1. The writing style just overpowered the story for me. It was such an interesting concept but it fell flat for me.

  3. Ahh, and I really had good expectations for the book. I am not really familiar with a poetic writing style and maybe I'll pick this book up just for exposure, but I really did enjoyed the blurb. Thanks for sharing! :D Love your review!

    1. Thanks! I think that some reviewers really loved it. You might love all the things in this book that bothered me so I say if it looks interesting - go for it.


Post a Comment