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Finn's Choice (The Adventures of Finn…
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Finn's Choice (The Adventures of Finn MacCullen)

by Darby Karchut

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Finn’s Choice by Darby Karchut
Book #4: The Adventures of Finn MacCullen
Source: ARC from author
My Rating: 6 stars (and I use a 5-star system!)
My Review:

I don’t even know where to start with this read that doesn’t involve loads of bad words and hand waving . . . . . I will try and contain myself since I do want Amazon to publish this review 

The Scáthach, an ancient being with tremendous power who generally takes whatever and whomever she desires. Gideon’s Spear, aka Finn MacCullen is who the Scáthach wants and she will not be denied. Finn’s blood is powerful and precious and with the skills learned at the Scáthach’s side, she would be virtually indestructible.

What the old ones like the Scáthach often no longer understand is human emotion and attachment. Finn is young and has suffered terrible losses in his life as well as bigotry because of his half-blood status. For the first time in his young life, Finn feels wanted, cared for, and settled by Gideon Lir’s side. To be sure, Gideon is a tough teacher but his toughness is tempered with real affection for Finn. To leave Gideon’s home, to abandon his training and his friends is absolutely unthinkable. It is precisely that way of thinking that now has Finn and Gideon on the edge of their respective seats in anticipation of the trials the Scáthach intends to put Finn through in exchange for his freedom.

Though Finn only has a few months of training, he has a wealth of practical experience but nothing could have prepared Finn for the demands of the Scáthach. To strengthen her hand, the Scáthach has invoked the right to assign the most ancient of trials, the control of the elements. For his first trial, Finn must demonstrate control over fire. Uh, what?? Fire! Finn has to control fire and he has absolutely no idea how to do that outside of using a lighter. Thankfully, Gideon has a large network of friends and frenemies and with just over a week to get ready, time is of the essence. To make matters far more stressful, Finn and Gideon have to be ridiculously careful that the Scáthach not know they have enlisted help.

As you might well expect, things just don’t go smoothly or as planned for Finn and Gideon. Even with the help of trusted (and one not so trusted) friends, the trials are a nightmare that eventually leads the group to Ireland and on the trail of ancient legend that is pretty much a last-ditch effort at saving Finn from the Scáthach’s grasp. Nothing, no matter how wretched and awful that has come before could have prepared Finn for what happens in Ireland. Everything and everyone Finn loves is threatened, the Scáthach is ruthless in her pursuit, and if Finn and his friends don’t find the legendary burnt bones, all will absolutely be lost.

The Bottom Line: I truly wish I had the words to adequately describe how much I have loved not only this book but this series. If I were describing this book and the series to friends or strangers, there would absolutely be wildly waving hands, naughty words, and we’re-fairly-certain-she’s-bat-shit-crazy enthusiasm. Karchut has built a world that is steeped in legend and myth, friendship and loyalty, care and concern, and action and adventure. Each element is woven into the story and acted out by the various players rather than being bluntly written. Karchut’s descriptions, her characters, and her worlds are kind and welcoming, drawing the reader in from the very first page and having to forcibly kick us out at the end because we just can’t bear to let go. With that being said, I’m glad this series is ending where it does, at its peak and not five (or more) books from now with a stale and played out cast of characters and horribly contrived plots, schemes, and machinations. Karchut, like any elegant and graceful woman, knows when it’s time to leave the party. Though I am sad to see such wonderful and impactful characters walk out of my life, I know they, like all good friends are only a thought away and can be pulled from my shelf and revisited at any time. I bid you adieu, Finn MacCullen and wish you all the best in your next adventure . . . . ( )
  arthistorychick | Oct 12, 2016 |
Tell me this isn’t the end. What will I do without Finn and Gideon, the boys that have taught me so much about bravery, friendship, family, and love? I’ve held my breath as they faced danger and even death from the Amandan, yucky creatures that are their enemies. For three years I‘ve followed apprentice Finnegan MacCullen and his mentor Gideon Lir, Knight of the Tuatha De Danaan, through their journey to make Finn a knight. They worked together, fought together, laughed together, and cried together.

In FINN’S CHOICE, THE FINAL BOOK IN THE ADVENTURES OF FINN MACCULLEN, by Award-winning Author Darby Karchut, a goddess threatens to separate apprentice and mentor. Gideon makes Finn a promise, however. But will he be able to keep it?

This novel is a lovely wrap up to the series. Even though he’s half human and half Fey, Finn’s pretty much like most boys of thirteen. He’s a bit “cheeky” (Gideon’s words.) He’s also a loyal friend and would give his life to save others. And girls confuse him. I love the relationship between Finn and Gideon. It’s more than mentor and apprentice; it’s like father and son. They have their disagreements, sure, but still honor and respect each other.

Darby Karchut writes such realistic scenes that they pull the reader into the story so deeply the reader becomes a part of the action, or conversation, along with the characters.
The novel also contains a pleasant surprise. Griffin, a Terrae Angeli from The Griffin Series, plays an important role in the story. Meeting Griffin and his mentor Basil, again, brought back old memories of their story. So you know what I’ll be doing this summer? Rereading the Griffin series, along with the Finn MacCullen books. What a way to spent hot summer evenings. If you haven’t read them, you ought to.

Once again, Darby Karchut has created a story that’s magical, and real-life, and also shows the importance of making the right choice to reach a goal. I recommend FINN’S CHOICE for MG readers and also for older readers who enjoy a great novel. FINN’S CHOICE would make a great addition to school libraries and classrooms, as well as your own library. This is not the end, for the characters live on in my thoughts. I think they will in yours, as well. ( )
  beverlyjean | Sep 20, 2016 |
Just when Finn in settling in as Gideon's apprentice after the events told in the previous book, his security could be ripped away from him by the Scathach, a Celtic goddess known for training warriors, who wants to make Finn her next student. If he can't complete four almost impossible tasks, he will have to leave Gideon and go with her.

Finn and Gideon need to gather their friends and allies to win the right for him to stay with Gideon. Mac Roth and his apprentice Lochlan are quick to offer help as are Kel O'Shea and her apprentice Tara. They even get help from a witch named Iona of the Hills and a couple of Terrae Angeli - Basil and Griffin. (Yes, the same Griffin from Karchut's YA series.)

This story which concludes the Adventures of Finn McCullen has fewer battles with the goblin-like creatures that they usually fight. This story is more about teamwork and working together to outsmart a goddess. The book also spends a lot of time on Finn and Gideon's relationship as they get closer and closer and more like father and son than master and student. I liked the way the three apprentices act like real middle school age kids with teasing and jealousies and friendship.

This is a great middle grade adventure series with a lot of heart. ( )
  kmartin802 | Aug 8, 2016 |
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