The Secret of Berry Brae Circle

The Secret of Berry Brae Circle

The Red King Trilogy Book 2

Young Adult - Fantasy - General
318 Pages
Reviewed on 03/17/2017
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Book Review

Reviewed by Marta Tandori for Readers' Favorite

The Secret of Berry Brae Circle is Book 2 in The Red King Trilogy by talented writer EM McIntyre. Written for the middle-grade/tween reader, it offers a winning combination of adventure and fantasy. Fourteen-year-old Abby Fletcher has returned home to present day Scotland with Rory, a fourteenth century Scotsman, where she’s happily reunited with her family. Everyone eagerly heads back to the family bookstore, Fletcher’s Finds, run by Abby’s father in the village of Kinloch-Rannoch, for a proper reunion and some sustenance, but their happiness is short-lived. Somewhat apprehensive about her father’s long absence on another one of his ‘crazy book hunts’, Abby checks the store’s computer and finds an ominous message in the spam folder, “Bring me the Book of Shay or the Librarian dies.” With the clock ticking and her father’s life held in the balance, Abby and Rory, along with her trusty, multi-talented Irish wolfhound, Finlay, go off in search of the Book of Shay.

There’s a wonderful lyrical quality to McIntyre’s prose that lends itself nicely to the Scottish lore which forms the backbone of The Secret of Berry Brae Circle. The dialogue is crisp with the perfect balance between everyday colloquial and the Scottish brogue which adds the right amount of authenticity and reminds the reader of both time and place. The elements of mystery, fantasy and adventure keep the story compelling and there are several neat twists that make things interesting and unpredictable. The characters of Abby and Rory also lend themselves nicely to the story. Abby is the perfect fourteen-year-old protagonist with just the right combination of vulnerability and spunk while Rory is both protector and charming ‘Medieval’ all rolled into one. And no discussion of this book would be complete without mentioning the notable talents of Finlay, Abby’s wolfhound, who is not only telepathic, but can also read! All in all, The Secret of Berry Brae Circle has just the right blend of mystery, adventure and fantasy that is sure to please – along with a few ‘aah’ moments thrown in for good measure. It’s imaginative story telling at its finest.

Gisela Dixon

The Secret of Berry Brae Circle by EM McIntyre is the second book in the Red King trilogy and contains plenty of excitement, adventure, and magic. For readers that have not read the first book in the series, this second book provides an introduction to young teenager Abby and her dog, Finlay, who has magic powers. We also meet Rory, Abby’s young friend and companion. In this book, Abby learns that her father has been kidnapped and the only way to rescue him is to find the Book of Shay. Thus begins another adventure full of fantasy, action, and adventure as Abby, along with her companions, sets out to free her dad and, in the process, learns new secrets about life and herself to better understand who she really is.

Although The Secret of Berry Brae Circle is a young adult fantasy with plenty of magic and adventure, it is also a story about growing up and coming into one’s own. As Abby faces dangers and challenges in her quest to find the Book of Shay, she is also at the same time becoming a young woman and faces challenges and new experiences of her own as well. Although this book can be read on its own, I think reading the first book will make this one more enjoyable. It would have been helpful to provide a brief synopsis of book 1 so that readers can pick up from there more easily. Regardless, I found the story and writing to be fun and entertaining and I would recommend this book.

Lisa McCombs

When Abby awakes to the realities of her father’s disappearance, her medieval companion, Rory, is by her side. Direct descendant of the Red King, Scotsman Rory has travelled to the present time in this exciting second installment of EM McIntyre’s The Red King Trilogy. As Rory, Abby, and Finlay (Abby’s magical dog) take on the daunting task of saving Abby’s father from the dangers of another time in history, an ancient mystery is solved. But it isn’t enough to reclaim the Book of Shay from the Wolf of Badenoch. This unlikely trio of adventurers discovers even more mystery surrounding Rory’s heritage and his importance during both his time in history and in Abby’s. While Abby and Rory team up together to solve the mystery with which they are faced, they also encounter the mysteries of young love.

The Secret Life of Barry Brae: Book 2 The Red King Trilogy by EM McIntyre is a delightfully narrated young adult fantasy that incorporates both the language of ancient Scotland and the slang of twenty-first century youth. Author EM McIntyre states, “Humble thanks for continuing to follow Abby’s adventure. I found great joy in creating the second installment of the Red King Trilogy and hope you look forward to the conclusion.” Having admittedly not read the first novel, this reviewer is delighted with the clarity of this continued story. Although I am certain Book 1 would answer many questions for me, I am delighted that my comprehension of this story is not challenged by lack of previous knowledge.