Reviews for ‘Under Fragile Stone’
‘It is a world filled with strange, unexpected twists and characters who can morph at will. From first to last it is marked by an awesome fertility of invention and by a richness of language.’ Inis Magazine: Shortlist for the Bisto Award 2006
‘It is a wonderful fantasy novel, full of mystery and adventure…. Marvellous inventiveness and originality… The book is teeming with a fascinating array of weird and amazing characters and creatures…. Characters are developed with great skill, and the author shows a very keen ear for dialogue, finding an authentic voice for his characters… Suspense is maintained throughout the book right through to the very end…. This book will appeal to children between the ages of 10 and 14 and will leave them searching the bookshelves for more tales of Archisan.’
John Hartnett, Inis Magazine
‘McGann has a rare, fluid writing style and has created a highly detailed and solid milieu populated by superbly delineated characters. Fantasy fiction has had a resurgence in recent years and this robustly plotted novel will deservedly delight aficionados of the genre.’
Recommended Reading Guide for Children’s Book Festival 2005.
‘Very strong on invention of character, and fast-moving, frightening adventure.’
‘Quirky… Inventive and exciting.’
‘…there’s a collection of wondrous creatures that London Zoo would cast an envious glance at, a set of rogues who veer towards the pantomime and two engaging central characters on a voyage of discovery that pre-teen and early teen readers will empathise with… It all leaves you marvelling at the invention of Oisin McGann.’
‘Oisin McGann once more takes us on a mind-blowing journey through the unique landscape of his imagination, a world where society has degenerated into tribal units of arcane habits and customs, where the ancient gods have once more manifested themselves, a world where Taya and Lorkin of the shape-changing Myunan tribe are desperately trying to rescue their parents
trapped in a collapsed iron mine under the sacred mountain, Abasaleth.
‘The pace of the narrative is superb, developing on many levels and involving many strands of action that at all times meld together and allow readers to imagine their own landscapes and images, feeding off many of their own cultural memories.
‘The book is full of intriguing new characters such as Rug, the cloaked and hooded stranger who will not show his face, Harsk, the exorcist whose belief in his god, Brask, who triggers off the disaster on Mount Absaleth, the terrifying Seneschal creatures, who live underground, and their blind brigade, the ladies with the lanterns. Or are they really human women? Questions to ask, questions to be answered as we move from one brilliant set-piece to another.
‘The book intrigues from beginning to end. It is one of the best books of the year, a real page turner. Readers into long narratives will be enchanted and engrossed by each of its 384 pages.’
Tony Hickey The Village (November 24th, 2005). http://www.villagemagazine.ie/article.asp?aid=786&iid=72&sud=48
‘…Enough zip and warmth in its characterisation to lift it above the "Zzar raised his war-blade" school of fantasy writing… The shapechanging brother and sister are pleasingly astringent, there are some chillingly zany monsters and the fight sequences are gritty and competent.’
Tim Martin, The Independent
‘The second in The Archisan Tales (the first, The Harvest Tide Project, was reviewed here in September of last year) continues the saga of the two Myunan children, Lorkrin and Taya Archisan, who seem to be forever seeking out trouble but who somehow manage to
help save the day in a series of astounding adventures. The creatures in McGann's book almost defy description, but the author manages to conjure up the most wonderful images. The world of Lorkrin and Taya seems to be populated by a series of weird and wonderful creatures, but the various tribes bear an intriguing resemblance to recognisable ethnic groups, particularly the Reisenicks.
‘Once again the author has managed to write on two levels, with an abundance of adventure and a child's view of the adult world but also incorporating humour that will appeal to the older reader.
‘There is an underlying lesson that one must respect both man and nature and good eventually prevails, though not without a sacrifice. Earthquakes, ground that behaves like the sea and swallows people and vehicles, and an amazing array of terrifying creatures all combine to provide an exciting and satisfying story.’
Jay Dooling. http://irishairescurrentevents.blogspot.com/2005/11/bookview-ireland.html
‘Under Fragile Stone is the second book of the Archisan Tales and is altogether more dark and dangerous than the first…. From the very first pages I was held firmly under the spell; I read it with huge enjoyment, and after the final chapter I was even tempted to begin it all over again…. For those that appreciate the fantastic, this book has it all: nail-biting tension stirred in with plenty of humour.’
Books Ireland, May 2006
‘Once again McGann proves himself adept at creating an alternative world teeming with strange races all with their own place in the ecological system. As in the previous novel in the Archisan series, The Harvest Tide Project, the underlying theme is ecological. Here it is the importance of maintaining a balance; of respecting the natural world and its resources. The Noranians are intent on mining the iron rich ore of Mount Absaleth. This mountain is sacred to the Myunans in particular, and is believed to house a spirit – certainly, the miners are convinced it is haunted as they face set-back after set-back. In attempting to exorcise this spirit – Orgarth – the Noranians upset the balance of nature; the mountain becomes unstable trapping a group of miners together with the parents of Taya and Lorkrin. The scene is set for a race against time. Throw in the xenophobic Reisenicks, and their chieftain, Ludditch who is determined to turn this instability to his own advantage and the scene is set for another dense, non-stop adventure in which McGann once again juggles with multiple view points and several story strands – readers need to keep their wits about them, for the action moves backwards and forwards relentlessly, relying on dialogue and situation rather than description to set the scene. This makes for lively storytelling that requires confident readers – and readers, in particular who enjoy science fiction. This is not a fantasy world – there are no dragons or wizards; magic has no place. This is a world where technology and its use raise the questions and where races may be extraordinary by human standards but exemplify principles of evolution to cope with their own environment.’
Ferelith Hordon, Write Away
‘A sequel to The Harvest Tide Project it stands effortlessly alone… This is proper, secondary world science fiction in the tradition of Jack Vance. While the characters are fun, increasingly it is the planet that is the hero.’
Farah Mendlesohn, http://farah-sf.blogspot.com/2007/07/churning-of-land-oisin-mcgann-under.html
‘This second volume of the complex and entertaining Archison Tales tells of how two shape-changing teenagers seek to rescue their parents who are trapped under a haunted mountain. In a world filled with strange, unexpected twists and characters who can morph at will. From first to last it is marked by an awesome fertility of invention and by a richness of language.’
Childrens Books Ireland Website