Upon receiving this book, and after reading the synopsis, this was the kind of book that sounded like something I would absolutely love: magic, family, and adventures. It seemed like the perfect read and I couldn’t wait to delve into it.Luke Mountfathom knows he is special. He is told so by everyone he knows. His parents are special too – they are the keepers of the House of Mountfathom, a magnificent stately home where the wrong door could take you to a far away land, and strange animals appear to stalk the grounds at midnight. The house is his home – but it is also the headquarters of the Driochta, a magic-weaving group of poets, artists, politicians, and activists charged with keeping the peace in Ireland. They have many powers, but Luke’s idyllic existence at Mountfathom cannot last.
When I first started reading this book, I was so confused. The writing style seemed very disjointed and it was very hard for me to follow the plot; there were also many characters introduced at a time which put me off. There just seemed to be something about this book that put me in a massive reading slump for a good couple of weeks, and if you follow me on Goodreads, you will know that I was tempted to DNF it. However, I powered on through, and I’m actually quite glad that I did.
“Be glad for what we have! We should never get used to being in the world – it is a gift, and we should be aware every moment of the uniqueness of our lives and the newness of now. For it is a only fleeting thing, this world.”
– Nigel McDowell, The House of Mountfathom
The plot didn’t pick up until about 62% of the way which isn’t good at all. That’s more than half the book where I felt bored. I think the book was building up towards the end fight scene that the Drichota have because as soon as the tension started building up, the book started to get so much better and I didn’t feel like it was a chore to read it. But, like I said, this didn’t happen until 62% (ish) of the way through.
I also didn’t feel very much for the characters. There just seemed to be no reader-character relationship that was being built. What surprised me, was when a character called Killian was introduced. He quickly became my favourite character because he seemed real. He didn’t put on any airs and graces and just said whatever was on his mind. Also… was it me, or did Killian and Luke seem like a couple? I just shipped them both so hard from the moment the met each other.
Another thing that I liked was that there were a handful of gorgeous illustrations at the beginning of each part of the book. I remember them catching my attention every time and I would be looking at them for about five minutes.
There also seems to be an air of politics and class systems that surround this book. We are given an insight into the upper-class lives of the Mountfathoms and how they get to live in luxury. But, when we are introduced to Killian – who is from an area in Ireland that is in poverty – we are introduced to another aspect of the world, and I am really glad that we were because I was getting pretty bored of reading about how good the lives of the Mountfathoms were. The story also got better at that 62% because of the politics that were introduced. We were made aware that the lower-class families of Ireland wanted a change and were sick of the class system and of living in poverty. I thought it was very interesting how McDowell incorporated that into a middle-grade novel.
Overall, I don’t think that this book is the greatest. I know that I’ve put it in the category of 2 stars, but it’s probably 2.5 stars, that ending just made me bump the rating a little bit. I’m not even sure if I recommend it or not – I mean, obviously, there are people out there who might love this book so hey, go ahead, give it a read and tell me what you think. Do you agree or disagree?
I would also like to take the time to say a farewell to the author: Nigel McDowell who passed away shortly after writing this book. I know that he was a much-loved author and I hope that he is in a better place.
Disclaimer: this book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review