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The Gold-Son

Review

The Gold-Son

By page 7 of THE GOLD-SON, two choices have already come to dominate 16-year-old Tommin's existence: discover a cure for his raging kleptomania --- and soon --- or plummet into the moral underbelly of thieving, pick-pocketing and burglary. But when Tommin's caught slavering over burgled jewelry, his choice seems to be decided for him. Facing a decades-long prison sentence, Tommin no longer dreams of conquering his mania for gold and clambering back onto the moral high road.

So when unctuous stranger Lorcan Reilly promises Tommin renewed freedom in exchange for the boy's assistance and unquestioning obedience on an upcoming journey, Tommin doesn't dare turn down the bargain.

"THE GOLD-SON immerse[s] you in all the tender, bumbling eagerness of young love....Noble develop[s] the Leprechaun's cavern from the obligatory villainous lair to a world rich in Leprechaun ideology, intrigue, and....vivid touches of imagination...."

Alright, we might as well get the tough love over with. Unnecessary words can crowd THE GOLD-SON's prose, and cumbersome explanations sometimes bog down the dialogue. And while Eve does bear a few dubious vices, this gorgeous, heroic, crime-fighting secret agent of leading lady will always verge on Mary Sue-dom. Moreover, as the novel's primary antagonist, Lorcan deserves a more complex rendering than he receives. Sure, I take as much joy in pure, uncurbed villainy's undoing as the next guy, but a few redeeming moments would have developed Lorcan beyond the world's most joyous piñata --- and enhanced the novel as a whole.

But THE GOLD-SON does immerse you in all the tender, bumbling eagerness of young love. And as the novel progresses, Noble does develop the Leprechaun's cavern from the obligatory villainous lair to a world rich in Leprechaun ideology, intrigue, and— of course— vivid touches of imagination (swarms of green-eyed Faerie felines, anyone?). Throw in a glorious jumble of suspense and surprises, reveals and reversals, and THE GOLD-SON might very well light your fingers on fire— they'll be flying through the pages fast enough.

From Tommin's, page-7 rumination on his "hunger [for gold]... the dark worm demanding to be fed treasure by his hand, gnawing at his resolve to be good,” THE GOLD-SON never shies away from moral symbolism --- and scorekeeping. Though some YA readers might cringe at the merest suggestion of the straight and narrow (why do you think we avoid our parents?), Tommin's saga of conscience does lend THE GOLD-SON all the timelessness of a parable and all the universal relevance of moral shortcoming.

So to anyone who's ever longed for Aesop (yes, that Aesop) to reincarnate as a Leprechaun --- it might take a few millennia. But in the meantime, Noble's tender, touching, time-traveling parable has got to be the next best thing.

Reviewed by Alison Stewart on August 29, 2017

The Gold-Son
by Carrie Anne Noble