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The Light-bearer’s Daughter

by O.R. Melling

The third in O. R. Melling’s Chronicles of Faerie series combines fast-paced adventure with an intricate fantasy structure. Set in Wicklow, Ireland, The Light-Bearer’s Daughter follows the quest of 11-year-old Dana, whose already fragile world is shaken when her Canadian father decides they will move to Toronto. Partly in protest, Dana wanders away from her father in the woods of Wicklow, where she encounters a fairy queen who offers her a deal. Dana will embark on a perilous mission in the faerie realm to wake the Summer King. If she succeeds, she will be granted her deepest wish, which is to be reunited with her lost mother and remain, with both parents, in Ireland.

Dana’s quest moves between the everyday and the mythical fantasy worlds, incorporating time travel and a panoply of Celtic folklore elements. O.R. Melling (the pen name of Irish-Canadian writer Geraldine Whelan) brings a research background in Celtic and medieval studies and a nimble imagination to bear on the strong sense of place and parallel structure in the novel. The tension between the two worlds of the setting nicely mirrors the heroine’s negotiations between childhood and adolescence, old and new homes, individual and common interests. As in the second Chronicle of Faerie, the fantasy realm helps to mitigate a sense of loss by teaching the heroine about patterns of eternal return and the eventual triumph of justice. There are a few underdeveloped ideas in the novel, such as the environmentalist and animal-rights ethic and the notion of the dream as a vehicle between worlds. But if the novel’s thematic agenda is slightly overladen, its pace remains unencumbered, racing along at a great clip and making this an entertaining read.


Reviewer: Bridget Donald

Publisher: Penguin Books Canada


Price: $17.99

Page Count: 180 pp

Format: Paper

ISBN: 0-141-00459-2

Released: Feb.

Issue Date: 2001-3


Age Range: ages 12-16