Hi, all, it’s Sher today with a book review for the blog tour of The Traitor’s Trap by Brendan Murphy, book 2 of Sebastian and the Hibernauts. First, the banner and blurb:
It’s tough being a thirteen-year old schoolboy, especially when you’re a coward and the big brother who stuck up for you is dead. Oh, and you’ve been thrust into a magical realm you’re expected to save single-handedly. Sebastian Duffy has to learn an awful lot of skills in a hurry if he is to defeat Phobitor by stealing the Spear of Lugh from the peace-loving Tuath. He’s been given some help of course–a mercurial sorceress, an orphaned druidess, a taciturn warrior, a snuff-sniffing leprechaun and a lovelorn poet– an outfit known as the Hibernauts, but can he really overcome a psychopathic, warmongering god when half the realm is bent on his destruction? If he is to have the remotest chance he will have to do deal with aiia, cluricaun, brigands, woodwose, undead warriors, speckled bats, spies, hunkypunks, traitors, skeletons and battle-swine first. And are those Tuath really so peaceable? If only he could find his courage.
Praise for The Traitor’s Trap
An imaginative epic…an intricate and fully realised fantasy world with a big cast of likeable characters that are charming, well drawn and endearing, with wonderfully apt names. The depth and breadth of the author’s high-voltage imagination, and the richness of the world created is very impressive.
~Sam Mills, author of Blackout, The Boys Who Saved the World, and The Quiddity of Will Self
I cannot say just how much I have enjoyed this book … a very accomplished writer with a wonderfully rich imagination and an incredibly inventive mind. Readers will come to love the many wonderful creations in this novel, it is jam-packed with the most wonderful and inventive characters; new, exciting and beautifully realized. ~Cherry Mosteshar, author of Unveiled: One Woman’s Nightmare in Iran
The world (realm) introduced in Beyond the Gloaming, book 1 of Sebastian and the Hibernauts, remains impressive in its creativity. In The Traitor’s Trap, action, danger, and mystery abound, all essential to books for middle-graders. Yet in spite of starring a thirteen-year-old boy, book 2 seems more directed at adults and older teens. The machinations of the gods should satisfy any adult’s thirst for solving puzzles. Whatever you thought you knew (about certain characters, creatures, and events) will change. In fact, the plot is so convoluted it may confuse tweens and younger teens. Not to say they shouldn’t read it, just that parents should read first (or read along) and be ready to discuss and explain. That includes language. Hard to admit for an editor who reads Stephen R. Donaldson, but some of the words were unfamiliar.
As book 2 in a series, The Traitor’s Trap is best read soon after book 1. Otherwise, read the character directory in back to refresh your memory about the large cast of characters. I didn’t realize it was there and felt lost in the first part of the book. Good thing the plot kept me interested until the most important characters reestablished their roles if not their physical appearances. Those remain lost in my memory except for Conall’s ginger hair and Druddy’s breed (deerhound) because I relearned those far into the book. I wish there’d been more clues to appearance, roles, and relationships sprinkled in the beginning.
The Traitor’s Trap takes Sebastian on a difficult quest to obtain a terrible weapon, yet his hardest task is learning the truth about who wants the best for the realm and its people. In some crises, his discoveries and choices concerning motives of others become his downfall. In others, his own choices lead to everyone’s downfall – or salvation. Even with all the complications of tales for adults, The Traitor’s Trap is still a coming of age story. Bottom line: when internal conflict and the consequences of a character’s choices dwarf the battles raging outside, I’ve found a writer worthy of my time.
Content warning for violence. Parents should read book 1 and decide whether their children can handle it or the creatures at least as scary as ring wraiths. All I can say is that at age nine, I would have hidden under my bed, terrified, like I did reading The Fellowship of the Ring, and I would have fought if someone tried to take either book away. Editing was better than in most indie books, yet not to trade standards. I was provided a free copy in exchange for an honest review: 4 of 5 stars.
Brendan Murphy was raised in Sheffield, England, with dreams of becoming a writer, and has written every day since he was nine years old. After reading medicine in London and psychiatry in Manchester, he moved to Australia in 1999. He is an Associate Professor at Monash University and has written widely on youth mental health. His nonfiction work on the development of football in Victorian society, From Sheffield with Love, was published in 2007. He is contracted to Assent Publishing for his six-book fantasy series, Sebastian and the Hibernauts. The first adventure, Beyond the Gloaming was published in 2014 and the sequel, The Traitor’s Trap, in 2015. He is a columnist for Aontacht magazine. He lives with his wife, Katrina, and their children, Sebastian and Violette, in a sprawling property built for the composer, Dorian Le Gallienne. They share their garden with a mob of kangaroos, a wombat, two possums, any number of creepy crawlies, and some very feisty kookaburras.
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