Reviews of The Harvest Tide Project
Shortlisted, along with The Gods And Their Machines, for the Reading Association of Ireland Award. The first time that an author has had two novels on the same shortlist.
‘An immensely accomplished and completely original fast-paced action fantasy. This is a story you hope will never end.’
Pat Boran and Siobhan Parkinson, on RTE website for the Children’s Book Festival 2004.
‘This is fantasy for fun… One of the things I love most about the book is that McGann has a wonderful eye for utterly weird, mad characters, whether we mean human ones or animals… Brilliant stuff!’
Robert Dunbar, Rattlebag, RTE Radio 1 (Also listed in The Irish Times as one of his Top Thirty Children’s Books of 2004).
‘Oisin McGann has produced a comic fantasy with a serious underlying message… [he] has a real comic flair, which, combined with a topical theme should prove appealing to younger readers, both boys and girls…. a challenging and enjoyable read.’
Jane O’Hanlon, Inis magazine.
‘Original, exciting and richly imaginative, a refreshing departure from the beaten track of mainstream fantasy’.
‘McGann’s novel has serious points to make… But such points are made within a narrative so entertaining – if perhaps a little hectic – that they are never gratuitously didactic… [It] comprises an action-packed series of entrapments and escapes, successes and setbacks, and is populated by a seemingly endless cast of divertingly weird creatures – human and otherwise. [Young readers] will respond warmly to this extremely inventive and good-humoured novel.’
Books For Keeps
‘A comic fantasy with a serious underlying message… the pace never slackens… should prove a challenging and enjoyable read.’
Inis, the Children’s Books Ireland magazine
‘I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s one of those rare gems that are perfect for every age group.’
‘McGann breathes life into his characters in a manner reminiscent of the great Tolkien….. [His] tale, spun with creativity and imagination, is both original and breathtaking. McGann’s second novel of the Archisan Tales, Under Fragile Stone, will be eagerly-awaited by fans of the genre.’
‘I would definitely recommend this book to other readers, as it is a spectacular tale, full of adventure and magic. Because of its fast-moving plot and straightforward style, I think this book is suitable for 10 to 15 year olds.’
Teenage reviewer, Evening Echo
‘The shape-changing capabilities of the two children involved in a fight to overthrow a despot give them endless possibilities in the way of escaping from any number of predicaments which come their way.’
‘How To Make An SF Critic Very Happy’
‘I blogged Oisin McGann's first book, The Gods and Their Machines back in January and it was a rare moment of almost unalloyed praise. My only caveat was that the allegorical aspect of the book (children from either side of the divide) was hard to overlook. I have no such reservations with The Harvest Tide Project. ‘The whole shapeshifting thing is a tour de force. Sherri Tepper was the last person to make this seem like a real bodily function, something to be practiced, something that is both an ability but also a variable talent. McGann's shapeshifters have maleable bodies, but they can't actually control the movement. For that they need tools. ‘Perspective is done well: McGann switches from character to character and with each he keeps hold of a firm sense of their personality and species. Lorkin muses on the brittleness of humans. ‘There are some very funny touches, a court case that is meant to be fixed against the defendant but which collapses because the judge keeps fining the witnesses for their bad grammar (1130--corruption canceling out corruption).
‘McGann doesn't explore all the questions he poses, but each one is a planted seed, some political and some scientific. Most of the "downloads" are posed in a "we should ask questions about this" kind of way. The entire trajectory of the novel is about what happens when Shessil stops asking questions about plants and asks questions first about politics, and then about plants and politics.
‘I really want you all to go buy this novel.’
Farah Mendohlsen, Intergalactic Playground
‘McGann has created a believable, if extraordinary, world. He does not waste time on detailed history or explanations, carrying the reader along through the strength of his own enthusiasm and conviction. The plot is complicated and breathless in its pace, and McGann bounces the reader from one character to another, juggling multiple viewpoints like a professional street entertainer. This does not make for easy reading, but McGann’s fertile imagination provides plenty of entertainment. Characterisation is light – Taya and Lorkrin are recognisable teenagers and their antics inject an element of humour as they fall into one scrape after another, but the attention is held as much by the non-stop action as we are moved smartly from one scenario to another with catastrophe never far away. The underlying theme is ecological – a very topical subject and one that sits well within science fiction. Here McGann presents his readers with the possible consequences of tampering with nature, in particular, the genetic modification of plants. Writing within the genre of science fiction, he does not depart from its traditions – an imperialistic, technological power threatens to overpower smaller races standing in its way; the battle is the traditional one of David and Goliath and one that will be familiar – and reassuring to young readers. Though this may not be original, it is the storytelling that keeps the interest. This is a novel for very confident readers in YS3 - or top KS2 at the very least – who are interested in science fiction as exemplified by Star Wars, Dr Who, Orson Scot Card and Heinlein.’
Ferelith Hordon, Write Away