The Wild Irish Sea
The Wild Irish Sea is a bit of a conundrum. The story is very boring, which is strange, because it has all the elements to be vastly interesting: Beautiful Ireland, a little bit of magic, an Irish hero with a tragic past, and even strangely helpful wild animals. But the utter lack of driving force behind the plot and minimal character development make this book a plodding journey to nowhere.
American Amber O’Neil has always had a mental connection with her twin brother, Parker. One day she suddenly gets an image of Parker fighting for his life, and she immediately rushes to Malin Head, Ireland, where she last felt him alive. When the locals direct her to Kevin Hennessey for help, she arrives at his doorstep and promptly faints from fatigue. Against his better judgment, he takes care of her for the night, and agrees to help her find her brother. When they begin investigating in town, Amber starts feeling pieces of information from Parker, and she eventually collects enough clues to find him unconscious in a shack near the dunes, saved by children who saw him in the water with seals and thought he was Prince of the Selkies. After they bring Parker back to Kevin’s place, Parker revives long enough to tell Amber that he just had a vision that the children who saved him are now in danger. Amber rushes off to save them, and to solve the mystery of these attacks once and for all.
The characters are vague. Everyone is generic in personality, and the relationship between Amber and Kevin happens ,i>so early that I found it completely unbelievable. Then, of course, there’s the inevitable “I must drive her away because I’m unworthy of being loved” hassle, which resolves itself rather easily for the amount of guilt Kevin supposedly carries over a tragedy in his past.
Also, because their ancestors came from Ireland, Amber and Parker’s telepathic abilities are magnified in Malin Head. That means that they can potentially read anyone’s mind, not just each other’s – and they have little power over it. I became irritated by their abilities, Amber’s in particular, because she wields it with almost no personal boundaries. When she finds she can go into Kevin’s mind and forge a link with him, she does it purposely all the time. Of course she asks him maybe once if he’ll give her permission, but after that she inserts herself in his mind frequently, or sends out ribbons of reassurance or love to him. She loves sending out these ribbons to everyone.
The plot is weird, in that nobody has any clue why they’re being attacked, and they never stop to ponder it. They just get attacked, mentally communicate where they are, get saved, and continue on. Early in the book, some smugglers are mentioned to have a route near the area, and the juxtaposition of such a prosaic villain with Selkie princes and telepathy is an awkward one.
The lackluster plot and characters made The Wild Irish Sea less than a memorable read for me, but the writing is very solid, if a bit heavy. I would be willing to try the author again, perhaps with a less precious supernatural element.