Review Detail

funny middle grade fantasy
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
4.0
RONAN BOYLE AND THE SWAMP OF CERTAIN DEATH is a comedic middle grade fantasy that features a young boy on a dangerous quest. Ronan has joined the secret Garda (with a very expensive uniform) in Tir Na Nog, the land of magical creatures. He is on a journey to find his Captain Siobhan de Velera, who has been taken by the Bog Man. The adventure will take him through perilous situations, such as the Free Men (formerly Santa's elves) who have gone a bit haywire and now eat anything that moves, including potentially Ronan. Although Ronan may not seem to be well-equipped, he manages, along with the people/creatures he works with along the way, to always make his way out of tricky situations.

What I loved: This is a very funny book and will definitely make the middle grade crowd laugh. The magical creatures add some extra fun to the book. My favorite parts were the footnotes that add some extra humor throughout. The book is filled with action/adventure (and always a touch of humor) that are sure to keep a reader's attention. The illustrations are really detailed and fabulous, adding a nice touch to the story that will help readers to imagine some scenarios and creatures. I wish there were more of them, but the story works without it, of course, and makes this better for older chapter book readers in the middle grade group.

What left me wanting more: As a small note, some of the jokes seem written for adults and may go over readers' heads. For instance, there are some jokes about VHS tapes, and I am not sure if middle grade readers will know what those are or understand the jokes. On the flip side, this does give adults something to enjoy if they read it aloud a few chapters at a time with their middle grade reader.

Final verdict: Cleverly comedic, this middle grade fantasy is great for readers who love magical creatures and laughter.
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