My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Disclosure: I received a review copy of Misaligned: The Celtic Connection from the author.
I love reading YA and middle grade fiction and Misaligned: The Celtic Connection has a strong opening that immediately got my attention. I really loved the main character of Penny. She’s smart and funny, as well as being “misaligned”, essentially someone who has access to other dimensions. The plot is an interesting one, and I liked the way the author used physics to explain how Penny and her mentor/teacher, Mr Myrdin, are able to see into other worlds. I also really enjoyed the use of Welsh mythology throughout the novel.
The novel has a lot of faults, however. At times the author has let the material take over. While some sections race along, others are bogged down in unnecessary detail. The structure of the novel doesn’t work either, with the lead character Penny going missing for a large chunk around 3/4 of the way through the novel. The tone of the novel veers from almost childish to quite adult themes and the friendship/possible romance between Penny and her best friend Duncan is not particularly well handled. The introduction of police to deal with a character who is trying to do Penny harm later in the novel doesn’t work at all, and the novel’s final resolution is a little silly.
Despite all these faults, I quite enjoyed Misaligned. The characters of Penny and Mr Poe, the Master/raven are well drawn, interesting and fun. I also liked Simon, Penny’s black cat who is more than just her companion/familiar. As a Cait-Sith, Simon too has special powers that allow him to protect Penny from the mounting dangers around her. The interactions between each of these characters worked really well, and is one of the novel’s best aspects.
Overall, Misaligned is a fun read. I skipped over the tedious sections and enjoyed the fun of the ride, and learned a little about Welsh mythology along the way. If you enjoy middle grade/young adult fantasy that’s a little different, it’s worth a read.