Review: The Arrow by Maureen O’Leary

The Arrow by Maureen O'LearyBased on an old Gaelic myth, The Arrow is about Fynn Kildare, one of two daughters of Saint Brigid, a “Divine” goddess with miraculous powers of healing. As a teenager, Fynn lived with her family on a centuries-old fortress of Brigid’s Keep, out in the ocean, off the coast of the town of St. Cocha, using her healing magic on the sick and weary who were able to travel to them. When a patient turned out to be a trap set by a witch, Fynn realized and – too late to draw back – becomes infected with a demon virus that wracks her body for weeks. Recovering, and considering herself unsafe in Brigid’s Keep, she ran away, into the world of the mortals, vowing to hide her magic.

When she breaks the vow, close to a decade later, to save a dying college girl, the troubles of the Divines come roaring back into her life and the witch Hecate’s plan for world domination slips over into her life. Romance, conspiracy, and the supernatural collide when Fynn’s fate as the Arrow unfolds before her eyes.

Everything in The Arrow is spectacular from the smallest detail to the simplest ideas and even the shorter chapters are rich and satisfying. There’s the perfect balance of the small and the bombastic that gives the right breathing room for the next big leap and it gives the urban-fantasy mix the right grounding it needs to work in a believable way. Every detail seems like it comes straight from Fynn’s own thoughts and feelings.

The book is extremely fun with a great young-adult lead that doesn’t let herself down. Fynn is a fresh new female face for a protagonist and her developing adulthood and goddess-hood are a great source of conflict, which she handles savagely sometimes, but she is still very relateable. The YA trap of a romance pulling the girl down and a love triangle as a major point is turned on its head as the “love triangle” is mostly unwanted by Fynn, who finds things more important than a relationship at times, like family and duty, and her romantic interests are realistic without being pessimistic.

It’s a promising turn and the book delivers more than might be expected from what might seem on the surface to be another “young woman in the supernatural” set-up, when in reality it’s a much deeper book with a lot to it. The setting seems well-developed and rounded out in the book. Fynn and the other demons and Divines are have their quirks that make them more human in a way and in some ways a lot less human and peculiar. This all seems perfectly idealized internally, but not everything about the setting is really delved into too much, and seems a bit like they might be waiting for another book to scratch deeper than the surface.

Fynn’s story has a gratifying end but what there is to come for the Kildares seems enthralling, and the secrets of Brigid vast and ripe for the telling.


The Arrow (Children of Brigid Trilogy Book #1)


Review Overview