Fantastic Review for Into the Grey: The Philadelphia Inquirer

Into the Grey USAInto the Grey review, Philadelphia Inquirer, Sun Oct 05 2014

Lots of YA writers are trying their hand at supernatural fiction these days. You should see the bookshelves here at The Inquirer: Practically every other book has some wannabe-spooky, Twilight-looking image on its cover.

But not every author gets it right. You need something more convincing than a too-pale boyfriend to craft a good horror story – and Irish fantasy author Celine Kiernan has totally nailed it with Into the Grey, a complex, harrowing story of history, hauntings, and long-ago losses.

The Finnertys, an ordinary, boisterous family of twin brothers Dom and Pat, baby sister Dee, and their parents and grandma, set off from Dublin to their annual summer getaway by the beach. Kiernan has an evocative turn of phrase that feels distinctly Irish: The family’s holiday drive is “vivid with fresh grass, diesel fumes, and the crusty-bright smell of the sea.”

Upon arrival, Pat thinks the cozy house seems shabby, dark, and stale; he knows something is wrong. Kiernan soon shows us what it is; A goblin of kind is haunting Dom, and Pat is the only one who knows it. We share his mounting horror as he watches his brother go where the ghoul leads him, helpless to do anything about it.

The whole book is powerful, but there’s one scene depicting the family in the kitchen – Pat trying to keep from becoming hysterical as things with Dom grow ever weirder – that is as unsettling as one of Poe’s ghastlier moments.

If you’re in the mood for a scare this autumn, Kiernan’s beautiful novel comes highly recommended. Just read it in the daylight maybe, and don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Posted in Allen and unwin, Brilliance Audio, Candlewick, CBI Book of The Year 2012, CBI Childrens' Choice Award 2012, O'Brien Press, Taken Away/Into The Grey, Walker Books | Leave a comment

Terrific BCCB Review for Into the Grey

Into the Grey USA Another wonderful review for Into the Grey. This time from The Bulletin of the Centre for Children’s Books (October edition) Thrilled to be getting such great support from the teachers and librarians and children’s book community of the US (NOTE: there are some spoilers in the review below) :

Kiernan, Celine Into the Grey.

Candlewick, 2014 290p Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-7636-7061-0 $16.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-7636-7409-0 $16.99 R Gr. 8-12

After a fire burns down their home, Irish fifteen-year-old twin brothers Pat and Dom and their family move into the coastal cottage where they’d previously spent summers. Narrator Pat, Dom, and their baby sister Dee all begin to have nightmares: Pat’s take him to the trenches in World War I, where he dreams his own death, but Dom’s nights are worse: he’s not dreaming but being haunted by a ghostly boy, who in a panic slips into Dom’s body. Now a horrified Pat must try to get his brother back and also deal with the distressed soul of young Francis, who is unable to make sense of the world he sees and is desperately searching for his own lost brother. Irish author Kiernan has a taut and atmospheric style, vividly capturing the Ireland of the early 1970s and its earlier twentieth-century shadows. Like Roddy Doyle’s A Greyhound of a Girl (BCCB 6/12), this offers a keen poignancy in its revisiting the years of the now old and the long-dead: an old World War I veteran whose suicide attempt Pat and Dom foil, Pat’s dementia-impaired grandmother, and not one but two ghosts converge in a shared past and an array of tragic losses. Also like that book, however, it keeps the young people at the fore, since this is very much Pat’s story of brothers being cruelly, perhaps irrevocably torn apart. The two generations, the young and the old, share the knowledge of what’s happening, and the book mines considerable anxious tension from their attempts to negotiate seemingly everyday situations without betraying the truth to Pat and Dom’s unknowing parents. American readers may not be familiar with the Irish Republican tensions and the period’s cultural landmarks, but they’ll be right at home with eerie, heartbreaking ghosts and a boy’s implacable loyalty to his beloved brother. DS

Posted in Allen and unwin, Brilliance Audio, Candlewick, CBI Book of The Year 2012, CBI Childrens' Choice Award 2012, O'Brien Press, Taken Away/Into The Grey, Walker Books | Leave a comment

Beyond the Stars Charity Anthology, Launch & Preorder

Beyond the Stars I’m proud to announce that we’ll be launching this lovely short story anthology on the 2nd of October in Easons on Dublin’s O’Connell St. Come and join us! All proceeds go to Fighting Words, the children’s writing center in Dublin.

International readers can preorder at all the usual online sites, and all the short stories are also available digitally for only 99p (or a little over 1 USD)

Anybody interested in preordering my short story The Last Cat, can do so HERE. All proceeds go to the Fighting Words Literacy project. (Blurb of The Last Cat: As snow falls on silent soldiers waiting either side of a bleak battlefield, a single black cat crosses no-mans-land, hoping against hope that one person will notice him before it is too late.)

To quote the wonderful Roddy Doyle below:

Beyond the Stars: Twelve Tales of Adventure, Magic and Wonder. You’ll be hearing a lot about this book as it’s a labour of love and was a true team effort. All proceeds in aid of Fighting Words. Stories by Roddy Doyle, John Boyne, Marita Conlon McKenna, Judi Curtin, Eoin Colfer, Celine Kiernan, Siobhán Parkinson, Derek Landy, Gordon Snell, Michael Scott, Oisín McGann; illustrations by Steve Simpson, Paul Howard, Chris Judge, Tatanya Feeny, Olywn Whelan, Niamh Sharkey, Alan Clarke, Michael Emberley, Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick, Chris Haughton and Oisin McGann.

Posted in Beyond the Stars, Harper Collins | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Recommendations Please: Strong POC

Today I suggested to a friend that, rather than reread To Kill a Mockingbird, he’d read something where a POC saves the day. I then broadened it to books with strong, nuanced MCs with agency that are also POC, and put the word out for recommendations.

What follows is the list I received over twitter and FB. Please feel free to add to the list in the comments section, On FB or on Twitter. I’ll keep adding as they come in

(PLEASE NOTE, I haven’t read all these books. Any that I have will have an asterisk. I suspect there is a wide variety of age ranges here so please check books before buying for younger readers)

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie*

Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernières*

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz*

Wild Seed  by Octavia Butler

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing and its sequel, Kingdom of the Waves by MT Anderson

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by NK Jemsin*

Salt Road by Nalo Hopkinson

The Hap & Leonard series of crime novels (The Savage Season etc) by Joe R. Lansdale* (I’ve read and loved these books, but take note that the narrator is white. His friend Leonard, however, features prominently in the books, is gay, a black man, and a brilliant character.)

Edge Of Dark Water by Joe R Lansdale (see note above: white narrator, but apparently also features a prominent black MC. Both MCs are female.)

Un-Lun-Dun Un Lun Dun is a young adult fantasy novel by China Miévil

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms* and sequels, by N. K. Jemisin

 Black Ajax by George MacDonald Fraser* ( note, this is an historical novel based on the career of Tom Molineaux. It does not pull its punches about anyone or anything)

The Private Eye by Marcos Martin and writer Brian K. Vaughan (digital comic)

Any book by Malinda Lo

One Crazy Summer by Cinda Williams Garcia

The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

Greenglass House by Kate Milford

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker*

Ben Janvier mystery novels (A Free Man of Color etc)  by Barbara Hambly

Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor

The Eternal Sky Trilogy by Elizabeth Bear

Yashim the Eunuch mystery novels (The Janissary Tree etc) by Jason Godwin*

On a Red Station, Drifting by Aliette de Bodard

Earthsea (A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore, Tehanu) series by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Craft Sequence (Three Parts Dead, Two Serpents Rise, Full Fathom Five) by Max Gladstone

Scale-Bright by Benjanun Sriduangkaew

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

Anything YA or MG by Nancy Farmer

Anything by Rita-Williams Garcia

Brown Girl in the Ring and Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson

 Parable of the Sower, Patternmaster and Clay’s Ark by Octavia Butler

The Beet Queen by Louise Erdrich

Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis

Kindred by Octavia Butler

Wild Swans by Jung Chang*

My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk*

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz*

A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar

Killing Moon/Shadowed Sun duology by NK Jemisin

Isles of the Forsaken by Carolyn Ives Gilman

Air by Geoff Ryman

White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi

Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands by Mary Seacole*

The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint by Brady Udall*

The Life of Pi by Yann Martel*

Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera

Heart of Gold by Sharon Shinn

The Mary Quinn Mysteries by Y.S. Lee: Half Chinese girl working as a spy/detective in Victorian London

Silver Phoenix and Fury of the Phoenix by Cindy Pon

Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord (Based on a Senegalese folk tale)

The Rivers of London books by Ben Aaronovitch

Untold, etc. by Sarah Rees Brennan

The Red Princess Mysteries by Lisa See

Inspector Chen Mysteries by Qiu Xiaolong (Set in Shanghai in the 90’s)

Inspector Chen Mysteries by Liz Williams

Under Heaven and River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay

Posted in random doodlings, writing | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Into the Grey Audio Book

Into the Grey USAThis week sees the release of Into the Grey in the US and Canada. Sometime in the next week or so I’ll be doing an international giveaway of the glorious Candlewick Press hardback edition (see left – what a cover!)

Today, to celebrate its publication, I’ll just share a sample from the audio book, published by Brilliance Audio and narrated by the wonderful Gerard Doyle.


CLICK HERE to listen and enjoy!

Posted in Allen and unwin, Brilliance Audio, CBI Book of The Year 2012, CBI Childrens' Choice Award 2012, O'Brien Press, Taken Away/Into The Grey, Walker Books | 2 Comments

Gorgeous Tribute Poem for Moorehawke

I’m just crawling up from the editing mines, folks, and what do I find as I emerge blinking into the sunshine? The following lovely message (and poem) from a fan of Moorehawke. Some mornings it’s just great to be alive. Thanks Allie D P Morris for making my day!

Hi there, I just wanted to float you a quick note to say how much I’m enjoying re-reading The Moorehawke Trilogy for the fourth or fifth time. It does such a good job of sucking me in. Today I took ‘The Poison Throne’ to the movies, read through the previews, and when they turned the lights off for the feature I thought ‘damn’. Then I was like ‘why did I even leave the house?’. I wrote the attached poem after another time I re-read them, all in a row, if you’re interested. Anyway, thanks for filling up my bookshelf with stuff I love. Have a great week!


Posted in Allen and unwin, Moorehawke, O'Brien Press, Orbit | Leave a comment

Down the editing well…

dragon3 I’m down the rabbit hole again, folks. This time for edits, as the deadline for Resonance is looming fast.

It’s the last leg of what’s been a long process, but Resonance is a big book. There’s a lot of work remaining even at this stage. So you won’t be hearing from me for the next three or so weeks.

See you at the end of August, when I emerge mole-like and blinking into the sunshine, just in time to start revisions on Come See the Sky.

hugs, and stay safe and happy while I’m away!


Posted in Allen and unwin, Come See the Sky, O'Brien Press, Resonance, writing | Leave a comment