Just as Che Golden suspected, I can hereby confirm that her book The Raven Queen is the best in her faerie trilogy, set in and around and under Blarney. The first two were very enjoyable, but this one has that little bit extra. I think what it is, is that Che and her heroine Maddy have worked towards a grand finale, and by now both know how to deliver.
It’s good to return to a setting you’re familiar with and people you’ve learned to love, seeing them grappling with a new challenge. In a first novel you don’t know what people can do. By the third book you do, and you can concentrate on wondering how they will do it, and not if.
Maddy was sent away to live with her ghastly aunt at the end of book two, and that’s where we find her in The Raven Queen. She’s miserable, and she’s still not as safe as her grandfather had intended when he banished her to live in a town, surrounded by iron. She’s visiting her batty Great-Aunt Kitty – who is not crazy at all, of course – and my one regret is that we don’t get to see more of Kitty.
Since there is no point in having a story where the heroine is safe behind iron fences, Maddy and her cousins Roisin and Danny soon end up somewhere totally unsafe. The faerie world isn’t the same it was before, however. Friend and foe are no longer friend and foe, and Maddy needs to work out who she can trust. (I say no one.)
The Winter Queen is starting a war, and that can’t end well. This time we get to meet the newly awakened Morrighan, boss of all faeries, and even she has her work cut out, dealing with the Kings and Queens who all want to take over from Queen Liadan.
I won’t say what happens. But it’s good that Maddy isn’t alone in being able to think on her feet, and I particularly like the fact that Danny is the one to do the girly stuff; like pack their food and feel sick.
Besides, there isn’t much you can’t achieve with Cheese & Onion crisps. And I feel I understand banshees so much better now.