Book Review – The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson

The Wren Hunt, you might have heard of it? Or the Wren Boys? If you’re from outside of Ireland you probably won’t have – and even if you’re living in Ireland, the chances are slim… They’re boy’s who hunt the wren the day after Christmas. Nowadays the wren boys chant and sing and parade through towns on St Stephen’s Day, a fun, if old-fashioned tradition. But for the characters of Mary Watson’s The Wren Hunt there is much more to the tradition than meets the eye.

Every St Stephen’s day Wren is tortured, because of her name and more importantly because she’s an augur. And the boys who torment her are judges. They hunt her for the sport, or so they think. Really, they are drawn to hunting her because of her magic. Wren has a secret – a big one – and it’s up to her to keep it a secret. The only way she can save her family and her people is if she turns spy among the boys who treat her like their personal plaything. If she doesn’t, her world as she knows it will never be the same. Bu the longer Wren uses her magic in secret, the looser her grip on reality becomes.

It’s rare that a story about Irish magic doesn’t involve mythology that is ancient or fairies who are benevolent. The Wren Hunt takes a sinister song and weaves a complex mythos all of its own. The characters are relatable and the Ireland feels familiar rather than a poorly drawn copy. If unusual fantasy with determined heroines is your thing  then you’ll enjoy the unique perspective of The Wren Hunt. Mary Watson will have you racing through the woods all night long.

Author: Méabh McDonnell

As editor of Cinders magazine books, television, comic books and the lack of representation for women in movies that I otherwise enjoy are most of what I talk about. Aside from reading I write, mostly about driving from Galway to Ennis. You can find more of my musings over on Twitter @redridinghood19. Check out Cinders magazine at www.cindersmagazine.com

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