The Silver Road by Sinéad O’Hart

The Silver Road by Sinéad O’Hart – at a glance

The School Reading Lists’ five word review: Ireland, myth, magic, bravery, friendship.
Children’s book title: The Silver Road.
Children’s author: Sinéad O’Hart.
Children’s illustrator: Manuel Šumberac.
Genre: Fantasy.
Published by: Piccadilly Press.
ISBN: 9781800785090.
Recommended for children aged: 9-13 year-olds.
First published: Paperback September 2023.
This children’s book is ideal for: KS2 & KS3 fantasy fans.

The Silver Road by Sinéad O’Hart

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Our review:

The witches and giants have been enemies for centuries. While the modern world has moved on and consigned the tales to legends, the witch Cethlenn has been guarding a powerful stone that can be used to bring back her deadly husband Balor, the god of chaos and destruction.

In the heat of battle, Sioc the ice giant steals the stone with the aim of finding a brave and worthy guardian – someone who still believes in the old magic of Ireland and will use the stone’s power for good.

Seandraíocht! he called as he flew, using the old name for the Old Magic. Wake, and guide me!

Rose doesn’t fit in at Carriganawn Grammar School – as the bully Emer and her cronies remind her on a daily basis. Unlike most of her well-off classmates, Rose lives on a council estate and she’d rather read fantasy novels than discuss the latest holiday fashions.

The Silver Road by Sinéad O’Hart

When a freak summer hailstorm creates a giant made out of ice in her back garden, Rose is sure she must be dreaming. Yet something compels her to accept the mysterious glowing stone that Sioc hands her before he is consumed by the darkness.

Rose’s life gets even stranger when she discovers that the elderly shopkeepers she’s taken to spending time with have magic of their own. Nellie and Gracie tell Rose about the legend of the Silver Road, the network of magic that runs throughout Ireland.

“The stone must be guarded for it will be needed, as it was once before, to fell an ancient enemy.”

Armed with drops of courage and accompanied by a not-quite cat, Rose must keep the stone safe in order to protect the Silver Road and with it, all the magic in the world.

The Silver Road is an absorbing tale of myth and ancient magic. The twisting plot is reminiscent of oral storytelling traditions and classic fantasy tales such as The Wizard of Earthsea. The link between old magic and current climate concerns gives a unique twist and the finale is gripping and cinematic in scope.

The Silver Road by Sinéad O’Hart

As the author notes in the introduction: ‘Whenever a story is retold it takes a new shape’. The Irish mythology that the book draws upon may be less familiar to readers than other tales and legends and the explanations at the end of the book of key characters and Irish phrases provide useful context.

The Silver Road is an immersive read that will appeal to fans of Catherine Doyle and the Percy Jackson books.

Many thanks to Piccadilly Press for the review copy.

If you like The Silver Road by Sinéad O’Hart you might also like: our reviews of Corey’s Rock by Sita Brahmachari, Stone by Finbar Hawkins, Mia and the Traitor of Nubis by Janelle McCurdy, Adia Kelbara and the Circle of Shamans by Isi Hendrix and Circus Maximus: Rider of the Storm by Annelise Gray,

Browse our list of books for year 6

About Melanie Dillon

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Melanie has a Master’s degree in Information and Library Management; a Post Graduate Certificate in Children’s Literature focusing on the Reading Agency’s Reading Well scheme & LGBT YA fiction, and extensive experience working in school and public libraries. Linkedin | Reviews by Melanie Dillon