The Puzzle Ring is the new young adult fantasy novel from Australian author Kate Forsyth. Kate has a well established set of credentials, already very successful with things like the Witches Of Eileanan series and the Chain Of Charms series for young adults.
The Puzzle Ring tells the story of Hannah, a twelve year old girl whose father disappeared when she was a baby in Scotland and whose mother took her away to grow up in Australia. A mysterious letter arrives one day that takes Hannah and her mother back to Scotland and into an adventure rich in faerie lore and magic.
Forsyth has managed that rare success with this book in making it not only a great read for young adults, but a highly entertaining one for the grown ups too. I’m certainly not a teenage girl, and I loved this book. Being a fan of Otherworld myths and being ancestrally tied to Scotland myself, there was added poignancy here for me. But anyone would be hard pressed not to be transported by this story.
Kate cleverly weaves the adventures of her young heroine into the genuine history of Mary, Queen of Scots, and she doesn’t pull her punches with the fey nastiness of faeries. Her descriptions evoke a thoroughly convincing Scotland, both in the modern day and the 16th century, where a large part of the story is told. Her characters are clear and well developed and the quest is complex and completely engaging.
It’s an easy read, the language very accessible for young readers without talking down to them. But it’s also richly written, an essential thing to get young readers not only enjoying the story being told, but enjoying the process of reading too. The chapters are relatively short, making this excellent bedtime-story fare for younger kids, with a chapter a night giving them a few weeks of magic every bedtime.
Kate’s thorough research of the Scottish faerie mythology shines through in every aspect of this book. The magic and the Otherworld are convincing in every respect. If you love a good fantasy, this is a great read. If you’re a fan of faerie mythology, this is an essential read.
This review is posted as part of Kate’s Blog Book Tour. I’ve also had a chat with Kate about The Puzzle Ring, so click here to read the interview and find out how you can win a copy of the book.