I received an eARC of Oak and Mistletoe by J.Z.N. McCauley to review!
Title: Oak and Mistletoe.
Author: J.Z.N. McCauley.
Publisher: White Moon Press.
Available at: Amazon
Release Date: 11th October 2016.
Star Rating: ★★★☆☆
“A Druid Curse, A Prophesied Love, A Consuming Vengeance…
Catherine Green, along with her twin sister and older brother, travels to Ireland on a college graduation trip. Her vacation takes a permanent turn when she lands her dream job at an art and history museum on her beloved Emerald Isle. She meets a handsome stranger named Bowen, an expert of sorts on local ancient studies. Though their first meetings are turbulent at best, Catherine finds herself drawn to him.
Unaware that she is the key to breaking a hidden curse, Catherine unleashes the evil madman Conall and his druid followers, imprisoned since ancient times. Tragedy and loss ensue, sprouting within Catherine the deep seeds of rage that thrust her onto the damaging path of vengeance. Confused by the enigma that is Bowen, his mixed signals, and her own feelings, she is swept away with him on an unexpected journey surrounded by myth and long-forgotten knowledge. In order to stop the evil plans of Conall and his reunified army, Catherine must entwine her fate with peril. Her survival is trivial to her as long as Conall dies. She’ll do whatever it takes.”
I really enjoyed this book! I loved the ideas of druids and ancient ruins mixing with the modern day; the concept of ancient druids being alive until the 21st century is one that I really enjoyed reading.
McCauley’s writing is fluid and incredibly easy to read. At the beginning I thought it might be better in first person but after finishing it I realise how much more was explored from it being in third person. While third person writing can often mean we don’t connect with the characters and their emotions as much, McCauley managed to bring us close to every character and understand them completely.
The reason I brought it down to a 3 out of 5 star rating is because it was incredibly cliché; I feel like every single trope was present, the mysterious man, the fatal warnings with no explanation etc etc., which is why I feel it is more appropriate for younger audiences. However, I know a lot of people enjoy this in a book and so Oak and Mistletoe will be perfect for them!
Anyway, back to what I enjoyed. This story is incredibly fast paced with one problem after another so there was never a dull moment!
In terms of characters, I absolutely loved Catherine. I felt like she was sharp, sarcastic and incredibly down to earth despite everything that was going on. Unlike other characters in fantasy books, Catherine questions things that seem completely unrealistic rather than just going along with it 😂. I wasn’t entirely sure about Bowen though, it was him as a person rather than the writing of the character though. He kept lying and I wanted to scream, when does lying ever get you anywhere ughhhh.
My favourite thing about this book is the fact that the romance, while being essential to the plot, it isn’t the focus of the story!!!!!!! Hooray!!! The relationship between the two characters was kept the back-burner until nearer the end but there was still enough for it to be an interesting element of the book. It’s hard to explain but you’ll understand more when you read it!
To conclude this review, I really enjoyed this book but parts of me felt like it was for a younger audience. McCauley has created a fantastic story in a beautiful setting so go and download it on the 11th of October!