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review 2019-03-28 01:40
A Young Irish Police Officer Takes on Leprechauns and other sorts of faerie folk.
Ronan Boyle and the Bridge of Riddles (Ronan Boyle #1) - John Hendrix,Thomas Lennon

I didn't tell Captain Fearnly that I was joining the garda as part of a plot to exonerate my parents and find a four-thousand-year-old mummy -- and there is no place to enter this type of thing in the online application, so I just kept it to myself.

Last year, when Thomas Lennon was a guest on Kevin Pollak's Chat Show #371, they spent some time talking about this book. I knew I had to give it a shot almost immediately. When I got home and found it on Goodreads, I was a little disappointed to find out it was for the MG crowd -- I didn't get that impression at all from his description (I may have missed something while driving). Still, I put it on the "To Read" list and kept an eye out for its publication. It still sounded like a good time.


And boy, oh, boy it was.


Ronan Boyle is a young man who watched his parents get arrested (in the middle of a family game night) and put into prison. They're academics, and were found guilty of selling antiquities that belonged to the Irish government. As noted above, Ronan joined the Irish police as an intern, primarily as a way to . Until one night when he was recruited to help dealing with a leprechaun (he was the only one the right size to get where the leprechaun was keeping something). He did well enough with that assignment that he was immediately recruited for Garda Special Unit of Tir Na Nog -- the supernatural division.


We follow Ronan through his training -- imagine Hogwarts summarized in a hundred pages or so (although this is a shorter course of training) -- what he and his fellow cadets (including a girl who thought she was a log for most of her life, and a medium-sized bear that may or may not have been a fellow cadet) go through is unlike any training program you've seen or read about. Yet it's familiar enough that it feels comfortable. Then we see Ronan and his compatriots begin their garda careers in earnest.


Meanwhile, Ronan makes a little progress with the investigation to clear his parents. He also makes friends -- from multiple species -- and decides that he really likes berets. He's a very unlikely hero -- not terribly coordinated, skinny, as physically un-intimidating as you can possibly imagine with poor eyesight. He also has a strange obsession with Dame Judi Dench (not that Dench isn't worth obsessing over, it's just not someone many teen boys fixate on)


All in all, an entertaining story steeped in Irish lore, myth and culture -- all very well-researched and lovingly told. I'd probably recommend it just on these grounds.
But it's the way that Lennon tells this story that seals the deal. His voice is chatty, whimsical and infectious. The imagery, language, and overall feel is hilarious. Yes, I'd recommend the book just on the characters/plot. But I'd also recommend it for voice and style alone. For example:

It was a mysterious garda officer named Pat Finch, whose ghoulish face is so crisscrossed with bright red veins that it looks like a map of hell drawn by a monk in a medieval lunatic asylum. Pat Finch looks like what a heart attack would look like if it could walk around eating fish-and-chips and saying terrible things about Roscommon Football Club's starting lineup.


"There's a leprechaun navy?"


"Yes. Probably the least reliable fighting force in the known world," replied the captain. "The leprechaun navy is basically a heavily armed musical-theater troupe with two boats."


If you know Thomas Lennon as a performer, you'll be able to "hear" significant portions in his voice. I think I saw that he does the audiobook,which is good -- because otherwise you'd have to find someone who can do a decent impression of him to really pull of the cadence and rhythms of the text.


Oh, you must read the footnotes. All of them. They're the best use of fictional footnotes since Lutz' The Spellman Files or Bazell's Beat the Reaper -- except these are MG appropriate.


Hendrix' illustrations fit the mood perfectly. Intricate, goofy, and skillful. They're not essential, but they add a very welcome touch to the text.


This is ideal for MG readers who like early Riordan, but wouldn't mind a bit more silliness and an Irish focus. Or for those who liked Derek Landy's Skulduggery Pleasant books. If you don't know what I'm talking about, ignore that (or go read them after you read this). It's just a fun, goofy read with a touch of adventure. Perfect for MG readers or adults who don't mind reading MG if it's well-done. This is. At the end of the day, you need to pick up a copy just so you can read the back cover blurbs by Weird Al and Patton Oswalt, really. Of course, then you'll want to read the thing based on what they say. So just save yourself the effort and get it.


The ending sets up at least one sequel and you can bet that I'll be waiting for it.


2019 Library Love Challenge

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2019/03/27/ronan-boyle-and-the-bridge-of-riddles-by-thomas-lennon-john-hendrix-a-young-irish-police-officer-takes-on-leprechauns-and-other-sorts-of-faerie-folk
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review 2018-10-07 21:30
The Ballad of Kite Man
Batman Vol. 4: The War of Jokes and Riddles (Rebirth) - David Finch,Tom King

Tom King writes superhero stories about psychological trauma, not just as a plot element but as a raison d'etra. In books like Vision and Mister Miracle the psychological trauma is the engine of the plot. In his new series Heroes in Crisis an attempt to recover from trauma leads to far greater trauma. Batman: the War of Jokes and Riddles reveals a story from Batman's second year as a hero. The Joker and the Riddler go to war, not for control of Gotham City, but over who gets to kill Batman. Every name villain in Gotham gets roped into the fight on one side or the other, hundreds of civilians are killed in the crossfire, and Batman is forced to compromise his core values to try an end the war. Despite the death toll, in places it reads like an homage to the old Batman TV series from 1966, with Batman trading punches with bad guys with "POW" sound effects. In the end Batman is so traumatized he feels like his whole incorruptible persona is a sham.


Oh, and it is the origin story of Kite Man.

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review 2016-07-27 03:26
A different sort of fae/shifter story. Wished it was longer
Faerie Riddles (2016 Daily Dose - A Walk on the Wild Side Book 10) - Cassia Rose

Three Hearts--If you love puzzles, fantasy based stories that features all sorts of magic and finishing the story without feeling you fully know the answer, let me introduce you to "Faerie Riddles" by Cassia Rose.

Alastar is a human researcher who studies all information he can get his hands on about magical creatures, namely the fae and changelings beyond the Great Iron Wall. The Wall separates the magical creatures and humans as fae are deathly allergic to iron. Changelings are as well. Changelings are special as they share a soul with an animal. (This is where the shifter requirement kicks in) Changelings choose their animal when they are ready to reach maturity.

Alastar gets to leave the Wall to study the magical beings every moon and he befriends Gadhar, a changeling who is a mule-sized dog and loves to tease Alastar with riddles. They travel through an enchanted forest, where they travel for days to changeling settlements.

As a first time author, I think Cassia Rose did a good job on setting a basis for the world created. However, it was too condensed to achieve the magic I think this story could've been. The writing style isn't my favorite and doesn't normally work for me. But I can see it being a better fit for readers who don't mind less romantic, high fantasy - there is only fade to black and mere kisses.

The romantic elements lacked chemistry for me. Not due to the fade to black scenes but Alastar didn't really seem to crush on Gadhar until late. I mean if you're gaga over a guy, wouldn't there be some hint closer to when you finally get to seem him after a month (or however long the moon cycle is in this world)? Gadhar read lackluster too in the romance department. I think the story would have worked without the romance as the main problem of the tale is short length.

Sometimes it can work, but there were changes that happened too quickly to rush through tacked on feelings. The setting however is the best part, though it too could have been stellar with about 5-10K of story, less time with riddles more time developing the main characters. I finished this with more questions than answers and it ended weird.

Definitely read worthy but not suggested for every reader.

Loved the cover, it was very fitting of "Faerie Riddles."

Find the unicorns reviews here for #ShifterSundayFunday!

A copy provided for an honest review.

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review 2016-05-20 14:24
Silliest Riddles ★★★★☆
Bennett Cerf's Silliest Pop-Up Riddles - Bennett Cerf

One of the earliest books I can remember, the condition of my copy is a testament to how loved it was. Amazingly, all the pop-ups still work. The riddles are so terrible they would have enraged Blaine the Mono into self-destruction. Where does a lamb go when he needs a haircut? To the baa-baa shop!

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text 2016-03-09 12:12
Saint Aldhelm’s Riddles
Saint Aldhelm's 'Riddles' - Saint Aldhelm,A.M. Juster

Test yourself with these ten riddles from the seventh-century, part of Saint Aldhelm’s Riddles, translated by A.M. Juster and published by the University of Toronto Press.

Source: www.medievalists.net/2016/03/06/can-you-solve-these-medieval-riddles
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