This was an interesting book, which had a lot of confusing parts and was a little too magical for a historical book, but the characters were well made and it was good overall.
The people were realistic and the attitudes of the youngsters were very detailed. But I thought there were maybe too many characters, which made it a bit hard to follow. It was also a little improbable that people from different countries would be half brothers who found each other in the middle of a battle, facing each other.
I liked the way the novel was set 1000 years ago and it wasn’t really biased because you got to see both sides and meet people from both sides. That was good because you got to see everyone’s point of view of the battle, and not just one person’s. You saw they all had fear and anger and sadness and that they had all lost someone in their families.
The magic wasn’t exactly what I thought would be in a book based 1000 years ago. I mean they would have believed this stuff, but I didn’t expect it to be in a book, saying it was real. I know that they prayed to their gods for magical miracles to happen during battles so that they could win, or something good could happen, but it wasn’t very believable to read a character changing into an animal as if it was for real, in a book that was supposed to be realistic. If it wasn’t supposed to be realistic, then it was a very good book, and I’d give it 9/10. But I was expecting a realistic historical book, so as a rating, I would give this book 7/10.
By Odhrán, Age 12, Rang VI
This book was exciting, interesting and adventurous, even though there were lots of characters and sometimes it was hard to follow.
Sometimes it was hard to read because you might want to have one story of Arna and Elva fixed together and then there was the story of Skari and Dara and there were like three different stories and it could be hard to follow.
I liked Elva because she was friendly and she was suspicious of her sister. She loved her actually but she was suspicious of what she was doing. She was kind-hearted because when Arna arrived at the house first she hugged her because she thought she was sad looking.
I liked Dara too, because I like Brian Boru and Killaloe is only up the road so I sort of felt like I knew him.
I kind of liked the way when Dara walked into the grove that because he held the blade he felt like the trees were burning. It was kind of magical and I like magic things, even if they are a bit tragic.
I didn’t understand how Kormlada disappeared.
I didn’t like the bloodshed in the description of the Battle of Clontarf but it did seem quite real (I don’t like blood in battles). But I liked the banners that they held up.
When Skari dived into the water I thought that was nice.
I think people who read books about battles and who like history might like this book.
By Saoirse, Age 8, Rang III