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There were times while reading this book that I shook my head at the characterization. The depth I'm used to in character-driven stories wasn't there, and sometimes the words and actions of the somewhat shallow main characters did not ring true. I see it as a plot-driven story, in which the characters are manipulated to keep to a predetermined outline by the author. At least that's my guess to explain all the uncharacteristic behaviors, especially of the main character, Jamie. I had less trouble with his friend, Ramsay, and I especially liked the old man, Thaddeus, back in New York. The inhabitants of Altair seemed as flat and dismal as their cold world.
And yet, its interesting twists and suspense kept me reading to the satisfying end--and ending that left just enough questions to make me want to read the sequel.
Reviewed in the United States on November 27, 2009
This is a pretty common book. Boy has sad life. Boy travels to different world. Boy's life gets better and yet more hectic, boy meets girl and then they save the alternate universe. Ya know. Typical.
Nothing special about this book really, except that it was very modern- there were references to Shrek 3 etc. I don't think that's a good plan. When things are that modern, in a few years it will have become obscure. So read it fast! *wink*
It's not a bad book. It's well written; has a semi-interesting story; and is great when you don't really have anything else to read. It's also got some depressing stuff about cancer and divorce but that's not too bad.
"Lighthouse" is the story of a young Irish boy named Jamie whose life was shattered at 12 when he found out he had cancer and would have to have his arm removed to keep the disease from spreading. His father left them about the same time. He and his Mom are ekeing out a poor existence in New York City when they get the word that they've inherited an Island in Ireland, Muck Island, which is an old family estate. On that island is a lighthouse, where Jamie and his new Irish friend Ramsay discover a device which takes them to another planet where they use their skills at science to help save the world.
I'm an adult reader who's recently come to discover young adult fiction after Holly Black, Rachel Caine, and O. R. Melling. While "Lighthouse Land" has an interesting concept, I think it's probably for the younger readers of YA novels in 6-7th grades, and it certainly is not a book I'd suggest for a reluctant reader.
The two most serious faults I find with "Lighthouse" are pacing and characterization. The story proceeds slowly and when you finally get to the climax the action speeds up almost to breakneck pace.
Jamie's an unforgettable character. Descriptions of his life in a single-parent household in NYC are heart wrenching. He's a kid who's been knocked down a lot but still comes up fighting--for himself and for others. Ramsay's a great "Sir Galahad" to accompany Jamie's youthful "Arthur." Sadly the rest of the cast just doesn't resonate much at all.
5.0 out of 5 starsHas its flaws, but definitely readable
Reviewed in the United States on January 18, 2012
This is one of those books that you read that reads kinda like a movie or something. It's got action, space-travel, romance, and a tenacious villain, among other things. It has its flaws (like the characters using Greek fire, which has apparently not actually been successfully replicated) and it seems a little sentimental when it comes to the main characters and their "our fathers abandoned us and we're all alone in this world" approach to things. Still, even with all of the characters finding themselves, I thought it was pretty good. This is my second time reading this series; I kinda wish I could foist it on my friends, but nay, I can only make obscure references like, "He's dead old, like twenty-eight, and he's not famous yet, so he can't be that grand." Read it. All of it.
5.0 out of 5 starsWell written, very exciting, well developed book!
Reviewed in the United States on March 17, 2008
So many fantasy/adventure books these days focus more on the drama and less on the characters. As a result, many books feel shallow and thin.
Adrian McKinty has done an excellent job of character development. Each character is well fleshed out, with the lead character having the most depth. Just as in life, sometimes I disliked the characters and sometimes (and more often than not) I rooted for them. Too many books make their heroes perfect and that's just not realistic.
I'm looking forward to reading the next two in the series. I hope the series wraps up well, since the end is where most books just flat out fail.
I have managed to read only about 2/3 of it and I can not make myself to finish it. While the premise is interesting and the magic world has some originalg details (ice ships!), the action drags. The main characters manage to be boring despite some obvious effort on the writer's part (mute one handed boy can talk and has both hands in the magic world). It is not that fantasy is not my cup of tea, I have read many fantasy books and enjoy immensely some of them. Sadly this is not the case here.