Review: John Lenahan’s Prince of Hazel and Oak

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The Prince of Hazel and Oak is the sequel to Shadowmagic. Conor’s return to Earth wasn’t as joyful as he expected. His home looks like a disaster movie set, his girlfriend isn’t interested in him anymore and besides, doesn’t measure up to his Tir Na Nogian girlfriend Essa and the Police have questions about his father that he can’t answer. So he does what most teenagers being held by the Police for a murder they didn’t commit would do, scream for Mummy.

Mummy, Deidre, happens to be a powerful Shadowmagic witch, and she brings along Aunt Naeve who is also a kick-ass witch. They do a fair impression of Arnie and trash the police station and rescue Conor. When they jump through a portal back into Tir Na Nog, they discover that Detective Brendan, the cop who had arrested Conor has followed them through. Conor’s dad is slowly dying from the reattachment of his rune-hand (yeah, you should probably read the first one first). Conor and his mum head over to the Hall of Knowledge, which is being rebuilt, to magically read the ruined books for a solution to save dad. On arrival, Conor finds Esse is still mad at him for going and that she is engaged to the banshee leader, the Turd-low . . . sorry, the Turlow.

Conor discovers a possible solution to save his dad and sets out on a mission to find the cure, the blood of a red eel? The journey, typically, visits all the lands that weren’t visited in the first book, including Pookaville and Brownie-castle. The rest you’ll have to read for yourself.

I liked the first book for its charm. This one, if anything, has even more charm. I got into the humor of the tale, which reminds of Terry Brook’s Roundear books. The writing is solid and the voice of the character grows on you. There are times when you want to scream at Conor when he misses clues, which are too obvious and could have done with more subtlety. In fact, if there is anything that is wrong with this book is that the plot is too predicatable, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the story. What was annoying is that Lenahan has managed to duplicate plot elements similar to ones I’d planned for my own sequel, but then, great minds do think alike.

If you like a little funny in your fantasy then join Lenahan’s club. I know I am.

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