O.R. Melling,
The Light-Bearer's Daughter
(Penguin, 2001; Amulet, 2007)

The Light-Bearer's Daughter is the third book in O.R. Melling's enchanting series, The Chronicles of Faerie. Like its predecessors this volume stands alone, despite a few major and minor appearances by characters from the previous books.

Dana Faolan is 11 years old. Her musician/ecologist father, Gabriel, is a Canadian transplanted to County Wicklow, Ireland. Her mother vanished years ago under mysterious circumstances. Now a job offer is pulling Gabriel back to his homeland, and Dana will try anything to stay in her own country, where she holds onto the hope of finding her mother someday.

So Dana accepts a mission from the Queen of Faerie to carry a message to the slumbering Mountain King in Wicklow. The mission has as its reward the granting of a wish, so Dana believes her problems will be solved. Nothing is ever as easy as it seems, however, and not everyone in the faerie realms wants that message delivered.

Like the first two books in the series, The Light-Bearer's Daughter offers a young but strong female protagonist. The age is the only hitch in the story; Dana often speaks and acts a little too maturely for an 11-year-old. (The lead characters in the other books were older teens.) The story seems less dangerous than the previous tales, and it carries with it an obvious pro-environment moral. It also carries plenty of the magic and mystery of Ireland's other world, and readers should be well pleased with the result.

I certainly hope Melling continues writing in this vein. She is a skilled wordsmith and has tapped into a rich vein of modern Irish lore.

[ by Tom Knapp ]
Rambles: 17 November 2001

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