The Golden Acorn by Catherine Cooper

Summary: For many years the portal to the magical land of Annwn has remained shut, trapping some of its peoples in the English countryside.  However, only their world contains the substances they need to sustain their lives.  Now the dryads have begun to die, leaving the trees empty shells.  A prophecy foretells that a brave boy will save them all, but the chosen one must first learn to believe in himself.  The first in the Adventures of Jack Brenin.

Review: The Golden Acorn has a fantastic premise, promising that magic exists all around us, but it ultimately does not distinguish itself among the many wonderful fantasy books available. Cooper fails to create a world either compelling or believable as the origins, natures, and powers of the various mythological creatures remain largely unexplained.  The protagonist, however, walks into this world all too readily, barely questioning the phenomena he witnesses, though no evidence exists that he has an active imagination or a propensity to believe in the fantastic.  The characters he encounters there have little depth, the ones on his side all exhibiting the same childlike simplicity and trust, never truly quarreling with each other and always ready to apologize if they inadvertently offended.  The lack of real danger or disagreement leaves the story without suspense, and the reader has little reason to return for the sequel.  The numerous typos further detract from the story.  (I read the e-book version, however, so perhaps these were fixed in the hard copy.)  Cooper does, however, show promise as an author, exhibiting a fertile imagination and the ability to create likable characters.  I would gladly pick up a future book by her in hopes that she refined her writing.

Published: 2009

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