Review: Bending the Boyne by J.S. Dunn
Publisher: Seriously Good Books
Age recommendation: Young adult, Adult
It is 2200 BCE in ancient Ireland. The Starwatchers are a peace-loving native tribe living in Eire. Just like their ancestors, they study the heavens and determine the paths of the courses. They carve the routes of the stars on Boyne mounds and observe constellations, equinoxes and other special heaven occurrences. Their peaceful world is rocked when Invaders arrive on their island bringing with them their foreign, disruptive culture and way of life. These Invaders use bronze knives and are threateningly searching for something they claim the Starwatchers are concealing.
Boann is a young astronomer. Life for her hasn’t been good of late, but things turn worse when the Invaders arrive. Together with her friend Cian, she must help preserve the Boyne mounds and save her people. In doing so, duty and love clashes. The Invaders will do everything they can to get what they want. Boann and Cian are now playing a dangerous game with the future of their people at stake.
Review (contains spoilers)
When I first skimmed through Bending the Boyne, I wasn’t impressed by what I read. There seemed to be many facts about astronomy and I assumed that reading the novel would be a slow and daunting task. I was wrong about that. The story is entertaining to say the least. True, there were many facts about the study of astronomy and Irish mythology during the Bronze Age, but the characters based on mythology and their lives make an intriguing study.
I learned so many interesting facts about Bronze Age astronomy and life in Ireland during 2200 BCE. The book cover of Bending the Boyne depicts the entrance stone of Newgrange with its megalithic art. The story expounds on the idea and belief that the art is symbols used by astronomers of ancient Ireland to mark the course of the heavens. Throughout the book, we read about star-watching sessions held during equinoxes and other special times of the year. If these sessions and stargazing did indeed occur then, Bronze Age people must be wiser than we think they are.
As I mentioned earlier, the characters and their life stories are captivating. There is a doomed love story, a tyrannic and greedy character, civilizations, exploration, uncouthness, and brutality. All this woven together along with the historical facts produce a novel fans of Bronze Age life and Irish mythology cannot ignore. While some might find the historical information boring, I was enthralled by it. There were some parts where I wondered if it was a fruit of the author’s imagination or a fact, but for most of the book, the line between fact and fiction is quite clear.
I only have two complains about Bending the Boyne. Firstly, the phrase “your man” was used way too frequently. Most times, I had no idea who “your man” was referring to. Was it referring to the character thinking those words or was it referring to some other character? Secondly, the last part of the last chapter in the novel was terribly ambiguous. How can Boann be “badly wounded” when she wasn’t involved in the battle? What had transpired to cause her to be “badly wounded”? I dislike it when such questions are left in the air at the end of the novel, especially when it involves a main character and protagonist.
J.S. Dunn is an attorney with a master’s degree in psychology. She has been residing in Ireland for the past decade. She developed an interest in early Bronze Age culture and marine trade along the Atlantic coasts of Spain, France, Wales, and Ireland. Bending the Boyne, her debut novel published in March 2011, is the result of her interests. The novel is also available in Kindle and Nook. Visit her website at www.jsdunnbooks.com.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”