Children’s Corner: The Eye of the North by Sinéad O’Hart

Posted August 21, 2017 by Lillian in Children's Corner, Reviews / 1 Comment

School started back last week for little man. While I miss having him home, he is enjoying school and I’m enjoying my little bit of free time too 😉 We finished the summer by reading the rest of his online summer reading books AND a couple of Dr. Seuss books. Those he read by himself which was both a sad and proud moment for me. Sad because now he doesn’t want me to read to him and proud because he can do it on his own with a little help. He’s growing up way too fast!

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I received this book via Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.

Children’s Corner: The Eye of the North by Sinéad O’HartThe Eye of the North by Sinéad O'Hart
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on 2017-08-22
Length: 352 pages
Reviewing ARC from Publisher
Reading Challenges: 2017 New Release Challenge

When Emmeline's scientist parents mysteriously disappear, she finds herself heading for a safe house, where allies have pledged to protect her. But along the way, she is kidnapped by the villainous Doctor Siegfried Bauer, who is bound for the ice fields of Greenland. There he hopes to summon a mystical creature from the depths of the ancient glaciers, a creature said to be so powerful that whoever controls it can control the world.

Unfortunately, Bauer isn't the only one determined to unleash the creature. The North Witch has laid claim to the mythical beast, too, and Emmeline along with a scrappy stowaway named Thing may be the only one with the power to save the world as we know it. Can Emmeline face one of the greatest legends of all time and live to tell the tale?

The Eye of the North by Sinéad O'Hart is an exciting adventure about a girl as she looks for her parents. I’ve never been much of a middle-grade reader. Even when I was a middle-grader, I didn’t read these books. I don’t know why, but they never interested. However, The Eye of the North caught my attention immediately.

Emmeline is an interesting character. She’s a young girl who isn’t close to her parents, but loves them nonetheless. Their work keeps her in constant fear for her life. She’s been raised not to trust others and so she doesn’t, not even them. When they are kidnapped and presumed killed, she is sent away to France, but on the boat trip someone is trying to take her as well. I liked Emmeline. She’s resourceful, and for a girl who trusts no one she attracts many friends.

Thing (yes, that’s his name) is my favorite character and quickly grows on Emmeline as well. He is around her age, possibly older. He isn’t sure as he is an orphan/runaway, living off the streets and currently stowing away on the same boat as Emmeline. Thing sees her as a distraction and a way to pass the time on the boat, but when her life is in danger he quickly becomes her rescuer and partner in crime. He’s brave, rash, and a quick thinker, but also fiercely loyal which made me love him.

The plot of the story revolves around Emmeline’s parents’ secret work. What is it they really do and why have they been kidnapped? The more Em discovers, the more she realizes how little she really knew her parents. I enjoyed the twists and turns as Em discovers more and more. Then about a third of the way into the story her and Thing are separated and the story is told from both their perspectives, basically like two stories running parallel to each other. It made for an exciting read and some dramatic irony as the reader finds out things before the characters.

Overall I really enjoyed this book! While I liked Emmeline, I loved Thing. They make a great a team! But perhaps the reason I enjoyed this so much was the writing style. The author’s writing reminds me a lot of C.S Lewis’s writing in The Chronicles of Narnia. It was like the narrator who is outside of the story is talking to you about what the characters are experiencing, a little formal but intriguing. If you enjoy middle grade fantasy with a dash of steampunk, I highly recommend it.

About Sinéad O'Hart

Sinéad O'Hart was born on a long-ago Monday in one of the many corners of Ireland. She grew up - not very far up, to be honest - with one brother and two parents, in a small house full of books. She always wanted to be an author, but somehow managed to wander through a variety of careers (including butcher, bookseller, and university lecturer, among others) before finally listening to the small voice inside which whispered, rather irritably: 'would you ever just write, you dope?'

So, she did, and her first book, THE EYE OF THE NORTH, is forthcoming from Knopf Books for Young Readers in 2017 and Stripes Publishing/Little Tiger Books in 2018. Ideas are stacking neatly up in her brain for many more stories, which will hopefully find themselves bound between covers some day soon. When not writing she can be found trying to stop her baby from climbing the curtains, reading, or (unsuccessfully) attempting to sleep.

She lives with one husband and one energetic youngster in the midlands of Ireland, in a small house full of books.

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