The series that began with Matt Griffin’s impressive and imaginative debut Cage of Roots continues in Storm Weaver. Its four young protagonists, Ayla, Finn, Sean and Benvy, are still trapped underground in the goblin tunnels, separated from the ordinary human world and with no apparent way home. Ayla has discovered that as a direct descendant of the queen of the underworld Maeve she has special powers, though Maeve exhibits no affection but on the contrary is determined to consume Ayla and take those powers for herself. Finn, Sean and Benvy have no one to turn to for help, no resources to support them other than their own courage and determination, fuelled by loyalty and friendship. It’s exciting and exhilarating stuff, both the dangers of the underworld and the trials the children face equally well described. Readers are properly aware of the importance of their human qualities in the battle against Maeve and her cohorts, and there’s a real sense of the nature and physicality of the world in which they find themselves.
While there are lots of fantasy adventures that pit young children against monsters from other worlds, few have the integrity of this story, which draws deeply and very successfully from Irish myth and legend. The emergence of our four young people as heroes is stirring stuff and there’s a real sense of danger throughout, the possibility that one of them will die in this battle is ever present.
This is an original, enthralling fantasy adventure. The author’s eerie black and white illustrations add to the mood.