Summon the Queen: The Revolutionary Series

Written by Jodi McIsaac
Review by Nicole Evelina

On a quest from the goddess Brigid, Nora O’Reilly and the legendary Fionn mac Cumhaill travel back in time to complete a seemingly impossible assignment: enlist the help of the famous female pirate Grace O’Malley to put an end to Queen Elizabeth I’s oppression of the Irish people. In the long run, this will help Northern Ireland and save the life of Nora’s brother. But, navigating 16th-century Irish politics and the intricacies of possibly changing the past are more difficult than either anticipates, and Grace is slipperier than a wet eel, leading the pair into enough adventure to last a lifetime.

This is the second book in a series, but that doesn’t detract from the reading experience. The idea behind the plot is interesting; the author obviously knows the time period. The attraction between Nora and Fionn is believable, and Grace (or Granuaile) is a well-drawn character. However, the many sidelines and interruptions Nora and Fionn face detract from their overall quest and the thrust of the story. Because Nora is from the 21st century, some of her modern language makes sense, especially when she’s talking to Fionn (who knows her true identity), but when she speaks to people in 1592, she doesn’t attempt to adjust her speech and often tries to convince them to do things that would seem radical in their time. I realize she was only trying to fulfil her mission, but these anachronisms took me out of the story and made me wonder why no one thought to question if she was mad. Overall, this is an okay book, but not one that needs to go to the top of your TBR list.