BOOK 1: The Phantom of Faerie Mountain

5.0 out of 5 stars Faeries, Glowing Dogs, & A Prophecy.

Reviewed in the United States on August 29, 2019

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

This story is perfect for middle-grade readers. Definitely ages 8 to 10 or 11. With this age group in mind, I’d say the story and the world are well developed. The author sticks to names, places, and characters that add to the overall sense of time and place without overwhelming the reader. Younger readers will be able to easily keep track of the names of places and characters. I also believe younger readers be hooked and mesmerized by the fantasy adventure mystery. From the first chapter, I was definitely hooked!

Some reviews state that one of the characters wasn’t developed enough. I’d agree with this assessment if this story was written for an older audience, but I believe all of the characters were well developed for this age group. The stakes are high enough for all of the main characters, including the seemingly stock villains in this story, to create the necessary tension within the plot. In addition, the author provides sufficient backstory for the reader to understand what is motivating the main characters.

This author also excels at subtly dropping clues, then letting the readers lose themselves in the story until all those little clues come together at just the right moment.

5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn’t put it down

Reviewed in the United States on December 6, 2018

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

I was in the middle of two other novels at the time I saw this and picked it up. The nod to Scottish mythical lore caught my attention right away as I’ve recently been doing research on the subject for my own purposes. How pleased was I upon discovering the authors historic accuracy? Very. Clearly the author researched thoroughly before before beginning this tale.

I personally felt the character Abby Fletcher was very well developed, the plot, intense, to the point of being captivated from the moment I started reading. I had no choice but to set my other two novels aside and read this to the end. It was a quick read, mostly due to how well it was written and the fast pace. This time-traveling fantasy had me wishing I were back in 14th Century Scotland right along with Abby and the dog-like telepathic Cu Sith. It’s the perfect story for my daughter (age 11) who is just now getting into this type of story. My hats off to this author and her imaginative mind. I was so engrossed, I literally couldn’t put it down.

5.0 out of 5 stars A world well worth visiting.

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 13 March 2018

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

I always get a kick out of reading about everyday characters in out-of-the-ordinary situations. You get to see how the character reacts and grows as the story goes on. And Abby, the lead character, has a lot of growing to do in this, the first of a trilogy. She finds herself far from the home she knows, in more ways than one…

The story gets into high gear pretty quickly as our hero Abby receives a message from a strange
creature in the fog. This is a big plus for me, as I’m not a fan of pages and pages of exposition. I
like a story to start with the action, and that’s how Phantom draws us in.

The Scottish setting isn’t merely here for a different flavour, it’s integral to the plot and I really
enjoyed digging into the mythology of the creatures and faeries. Much like the Percy Jackson books
thrive on the legends of Greek mythology, this book gains a distinct personality from its setting.
Dialogue is natural – including the Scottish character Rory, who is easy to read, and shouldn’t be a
problem for younger readers. The relationship between the two leads develops and a steady, believable rate too.

Also, the novel isn’t overly long, and there’s enough here to make me look forward to the next in the series. Oh, and it’s not often you get a telepathic dog, so that’s an automatic extra mark.

With fantasy, time-travel, and magic, there’s plenty here for readers to enjoy. Recommended for readers between 10-14 in particular, although like any good fantasy story people of all ages can enjoy it.

A world well worth visiting.

BOOK 2: The Secret of Berry Brae Circle

5.0 out of 5 stars Book two is every bit as good as the first!

Reviewed in the United States on March 18, 2017

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

Follow Abby Fletcher and her Medieval side kick (boyfriend?) Rory as they continue their adventure in the second story of the trilogy. The Secret of Berry Brae Circle is every bit as good as the first. You get sucked in right away and the story never lets you go. You will meet some interesting characters and creatures as Abby tries to find the Book of Shay which will gain the release of her kidnapped father. There are twists and turns and talking animals on every page. It can be read by itself, but to get everything out of the story, I highly recommend reading the first, also, The Phantom of Faerie Mountain. The ending tantalizes you just enough for you to wait anxiously for the next installment. I will definitely follow this series to its end!

5.0 out of 5 stars Magic, adventure, and heartwarming friendship

Reviewed in the United States on October 2, 2019

Format: Paperback

The Secret of Berry Brae Circle is a fantastic sequel to McIntyre’s first book. The characters, Abby and Rory continue their adventure and friendship along a fun, fantastical adventure. What I really like, is that while this book is full of magic and action, there’s also an innocence to it. It never goes into subjects too dark, which I think many YA books on the market do these days. Sometimes, you just want to read something that’s a bit lighter, more fun. Therefore, this book is perfect for those 12 and up.

As Abby and Rory (with the help of a magical dog) try to save Abby’s kidnapped father, the adventures, suspense, and twists and turns, will keep you flipping the pages to find out what happens next. The author has really crafted an imaginative world, which I think all readers will enjoy. The magic introduced is original and fun, and the dynamic between the characters is realistic yet entertaining throughout. (Personally, I really like the dog.) So much good in this book, it’s easy to see why the series has received awards.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves fantastical tales, but especially those looking for clean YA suitable for the younger range. Also, love the Scottish setting. Now, on to the next book!

5.0 out of 5 stars Another slam dunk . . . . I want more!

Reviewed in the United States on March 16, 2017

Format: Kindle Edition

Once again, E M McIntyre charms us with this smart, charming, treat of a story. (There’s a reason she’s winning accolades, friends — she knows how to spin the yarn!) The Secret of Berry Brae Circle is a direct sequel to the author’s (award winning) The Phantom of Faerie Mountain. Abby returns from her adventure (with her trusty magical/telepathic/genius/faithful dog, Finlay) to discover that her Father’s been kidnapped, with the mystical Book of Shay as the ransom, and off we go! Hard choices will need to be made, choices that will test all of Abby’s courage and determination . . . . Scottish lore, magical beasts, mystical realms, mysterious tomes, and a touch of romance — what’s not to love! (Word of advice: You should most definitely read Faerie Mountain first!) This is a great book, by a superb tale spinner! I want more!

BOOK 3: The Talisman of Darktree Hollow

5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic finale to The Red King Trilogy!

Reviewed in the United States on October 1, 2018

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

I received a free copy of this book and after reading it, bought the book and opted to post a review.

The trio of Abby, Rory, and Finlay continue to evolve in this book, and we find out even more about the part each one has to play in the renewal of the Shay. Their roles are connected to how they are evolving as characters so, if you read the book and don’t see the connections, read it again because you’ll be sorry if you don’t. This aspect of the plot kept me riveted as I tried to figure out which direction the characters would take. We’re also introduced to several other interesting supporting characters who are part of the Shay and they are just as interesting as the main characters.

I enjoyed the adventure aspect of the plot because McIntyre is a great world-builder. As the trio journeyed to complete their quests, they traveled through complex landscapes filled with flora and fauna for the characters to interact with. Don’t expect pages upon pages of elaborately detailed descriptions of the world that abruptly pause the story; McIntyre masterfully inserts these wonderful details as the characters interact with the world.

Death and sacrifice were discussed in the book, and I thought how McIntyre discussed them was appropriate for her younger audience. I also liked the overarching discussion about the symbiotic relationship between humans and our environment because it was an integral part of the characters and the storyline.

I am sorry to see that this is the final installment of “The Red King,” but the ending was a natural part of the storyline progression. I am happy to recommend this and the rest of the series to both young adults and older readers alike. I hope that McIntyre continues to write as I am anxious to see more from her in the future.

5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Part

Reviewed in the United States on November 6, 2018

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

This was an action-packed installment, filled with magic, stunning reveals, and my favorite part of any story, the deepening of characters. In addition to the familiar faces, there were several new characters who were equally fascinating and added to the rich Shay tapestry. I really loved some of the special communicating gifts, because they are a super fun element. At the end of the trilogy I have really come to feel like Abby, Rory, and Finlay are friends. While this felt like such a natural and beautiful end, I’m so sad it’s over. I do hope we see more in this world. This series is suitable for young readers and yet is also engaging and complex enough to entertain older fantasy fans like myself. I can easily recommend it for fans of fantasy of all ages.

4.0 out of 5 stars A great escapist read

Reviewed in the United States on February 17, 2019

Format: Kindle Edition

I’ve really enjoyed the whole of the Red King Trilogy and thought the third book was definitely the best. Erin McIntyre has created a fabulously complex fantasy world that you can’t help but get drawn into as a reader. It’s atmospheric, colourful and has an amazing cast of characters- both human and otherwise! I was really happy with the resolution of Abby’s story- the arc of the trilogy was wrapped up beautifully, while leaving the door slightly ajar for more adventures…
A series that both teens and imaginative adults will really enjoy.

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