Night’s Child: A new ending for Sweep

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews Cate Tiernan Sweep Moira's Story 15Night’s Child by Cate Tiernan

After the colossal disappointment of the last book in the Sweep series Full Circle, I was both relieved and wary that another conclusion had been written. Night’s Child is set several years after the events of Full Circle with Morgan and Hunter as twenty-something year olds. Proposing marriage, Hunter plans to settle down and run New Charter (the new alternative to the Council) from home. He has only one last journey to make, and it is here that disaster strikes. The ferry he is traveling on sinks, and no trace is found of Hunter, dead or alive.

The story picks up again fifteen years later: Morgan had married a man named Colm and they had a daughter named Moira. Unfortunately Colm was killed in a car accident and now Morgan and Moira live together in Ireland, members of the Belwicket coven. Despite this tragedy, the two of them are happy enough — despite the rivalry between Belwicket and another coven led by Lilith Delaney that is rumoured to dabble in black magic.

But then things begin to happen: Morgan finds dark magic littered around her front garden, and objects on the ground that remind her of Hunter. When Moira begins dating Ian Delaney, Lilith’s son, Morgan is terrified the past is repeating itself in terms of her history with Selene and Cal. Afraid for her daughter, Morgan begins an investigation to find who is behind these attacks — could it be to do with her father’s family? Are Lilith and Ian really dangerous? Is it possible that Hunter is still alive? Is another dark wave looming?

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsAt times, especially near the beginning, the writing is slow and sluggish with detailed descriptions of Moira’s witchcraft classes and Morgan’s healing rites. Often Tiernan repeats or contradicts herself several times in the text, for instance, Morgan thinks: “To end a relationship with her soulmate was fighting destiny.” On the very next page we are told: “With the way things were, they had to pursue their separate destinies.” Er — is it just me, or did Tiernan just tell us that soulmates shared the same destinies? There are several more inconsistencies like this throughout the story.

Furthermore, Cate Tiernan’s grasp of Irish dialect is painful to behold: “Away with ya” and “what a beautiful day, nae?” appear clumsy and inaccurate. Although the main culprit behind the attacks is an innovative idea, Tiernan drives home the possibility of Ian being evil so many times that it becomes fairly certain he isn’t.

Readers may be vastly disappointed at the lack of characters appearing from previous books. Bree, Robbie, Raven, Alyce, Alwyn, Mary K. and Morgan’s parents are all given brief updates on where they are and what they’re doing, but the rest of the Kithic coven are completely forgotten. Alisa is mentioned, but no information is given on what she’s now up to, which is really quite unforgivable considering Tiernan devoted an entire book to her in the series. Killian turns up briefly and out of the blue, and then just as inexplicably disappears. Daniel Niall is mentioned several times, but no information is given on either him or his other son Linden. Dagda is dead. Only Sky is given a useful and interesting place within the context of the story.

Yet despite all this, Night’s Child was the conclusion to this series that I was hoping for. Morgan is a reasonable portrayal of the teenager we knew in the series, and Moira is a likable, spunky young heroine who reacts realistically enough to the situation unfolding around her. There are some nice new characters, such as Morgan’s mother-in-law Katrina, and toward the end the plot unfolds quickly and excitingly. This should definitely be the end of the Sweep series, as Cate Tiernan only just gets away with recycling several old ideas (i.e., a replay of the Selena/Cal storyline, another dark wave, another threat from Morgan’s family) and it wraps up nearly every loose end from the other books. Despite its faults, I was satisfied with this ending.


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REBECCA FISHER, with us since January 2008, earned a Masters degree in literature at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Her thesis included a comparison of how C.S. Lewis and Philip Pullman each use the idea of mankind’s Fall from Grace to structure the worldviews presented in their fantasy series. Rebecca is a firm believer that fantasy books written for children can be just as meaningful, well-written and enjoyable as those for adults, and in some cases, even more so. Rebecca lives in New Zealand. She is the winner of the 2015 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best SFF Fan Writer.

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