Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Texting the Underworld

Texting the Underworld
by Ellen Booraem
Dial, 2013.  319 pgs. Fantasy

     Conor O'Neill is a chicken lips about spiders, and is not that fond of other alarms and excursions either. His little sister Glennie, on the other hand, is "a soul-sucking demon warrior."  But it is Conor the Wimp, not Glennie the Bold, who winds up with a banshee in his room. Ashling, as she is known, has come to wail over a death in the O'Neill family, but she doesn't know who it will be and Conor spends much of the rest of the story trying to save maybe his grandfather, maybe his sister, maybe himself. Along the way, Conor dreams of a former life, when his name was Declan and Ashling was his one true love. His grandfather wants to be the one to go, but there is no way to make sure it will be he . . . or is there. When Grump, Conor, Glennie, and Ashling go to the land of the dead to confront The Lady, things take an unexpected turn, and Conor gets a chance to save someone, but with a catch. Booraem's funny fantasy has a serious undercurrent.  What can be the right thing to do in impossible circumstances?  Can one be redeemed by making a sacrifice now to pay for a sorrow in the past?  Texting the Underworld is a complex fantasy, with lots of rules and characters to keep track of, but readers will be rewarded in the end with a satisfying resolution and perhaps a new view of the world.

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