FICTION
Ronan Boyle and the Bridge of Riddles
304p. (Ronan Boyle: Bk. 1). Abrams/Amulet. Mar. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781419734915.
COPY ISBN
Gr 4–7—At the age of 14, Ronan Boyle is the youngest recruit to the Garda Special Unit of Tir Na Nog, the Irish law enforcement agency tasked with investigating crimes involving the wee folk. While Ronan enrolls in the Garda as a means of finding evidence to free his parents, museum curators framed for the theft of an artifact, he learns that chasing after law-breaking faeries and other magical beings is not for the faint-at-heart. Ronan's training includes shillelagh class and weaponized poetry, as well as tin whistling for beginners; he needs all these skills and more when he and his captain set out to catch some leprechaun wine thieves. After encountering a dizzying array of faeries, and with the aid of a smarter-than-average Irish wolfhound police dog, the criminals are apprehended and Ronan returns to the human world with a lead on his parents' case. In the author's forward, Lennon states this book is his "love letter to Douglas Adams," and his efforts to emulate Adams' linguistic zaniness are evident throughout the book. However, Adams' genius is a challenging muse to follow, and this story reads like frenetic slapstick. Additionally, Lennon relies on the stereotypical trope of the Irish fondness for alcohol, and an overabundance of footnotes slows the pacing.
VERDICT While the premise of the series is enticing, this first entry has trouble finding its voice. Hand readers Eoin Colfer's "Artemis Fowl" series instead.

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