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The Fire Opal

3.25  ·  Rating Details ·  430 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
There was a time when Maeve O'Tullagh led a simple life; a time when she and her mother, Nuala, collected kelp on the foreshore near their cottage in Ard Macha; a time when she played among the Celtic ruins with her older brothers and daydreamed about the legendary Holy Isles, an enchanted land ruled in a past age by a beautiful goddess.
But after Maeve's sister, Ishleen,
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 14th 2012 by Bluefire (first published January 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sophie Carter
My English class is forced to go up to the ill stocked library once every three weeks, and we are also forced to find and check out a book from the terrible selection. This book was one of them. I picked up this book because it takes place in Ireland. As I began reading, my first impression was that this was a nice, cutesy historical fiction. It starts off with the narrator, Maeve O'Tullagh, finding a strange orange stone on the beach. It then flashes forward into a cute, enjoyable prose about M ...more
Aug 17, 2009 Yan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jake Rideout
Dec 24, 2009 Jake Rideout rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I come from a big Irish family, and I grew up hearing tales about selkies, the sidh, the tuatha de Danaan, Finn MacCool, and all the other myths. This book was written in the vein, with all the old lore worked into a pretty fantastical plot. Maeve O'Tullagh encounters a mysterious woman one day, and the woman gives her two small bottles to protect her mother and herself. However, soon after giving birth to Maeve's sister Ishleen, Maeve's mother falls into a strange sleep that she cannot be woken ...more
Sarah Maddaford
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kimberly Gould
For a while the distinct difference between the first and second halves of this book bothered me, until I read this line: It made me sad to think that the female and male world in this house were so divided. That was the difference between the halves exactly! It made it less of a weakness in form and more a demonstration of theme. It made the break make sense, although I still wish they'd been a bit more smoothly integrated.
May 15, 2011 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Maeve O'Tullagh is a young woman growing up in a seaside village in 16th century Ireland.

Her world seems fairly dichotomous. There is the world of men: fiercely Catholic, grounded in reality and consumed with the fight for independence. And there is the world of women: eccentric, descendants of ancient goddesses that used to rule the country and consumed with things that cannot be seen.

Shortly after giving birth to her younger sister, Maeve's mother falls into a catatonic state. This turn of e
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Ashley B for

Maeve O'Tullagh is a teen living in Ard Macha with her family: Mam, Da, Donal, Fingal, and Ishleen. When still very young, Ishleen suddenly dies, depressing Maeve's mother and father. Once becoming pregnant again, Mam insists that she is pregnant with Ishleen, and she won't let the idea go. A woman at the sea gives Maeve a talisman to protect her mother. But when Mam removes it on the night of the baby's birth, she seems lost and catatonic. Maeve believes
Feb 08, 2010 Katelyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
As an Irish girl I will admit to being somewhat biased coming into this book. With scenery like the brilliant Irish landscapes, laid out for readers to picture while experiencing the journey that was The Fire Opal, what can you expect? I was already half in love with the story before finishing the first chapter.

McBride gives her readers magic, mythology/folklore and realism all wrapped up neatly in her debut YA novel. She has made the cross from writing adult fiction to YA fantasy quite seamless
Kim Johnson
Feb 14, 2012 Kim Johnson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: could-not-finish
Ok so when I said I read this, I meant that I tried to read "The Fire Opal." I wanted to like this book. I really did. But after reading the first one hundred pages and skimming a little after that, I finally had to put the book down.
The main character- I forgot her name already- was just a little too boring. I felt like I was reading a book about a simpleton who wasn't all there. Not very engaging, I thought.
And then there was supposed to be this hot villian that wanted to marry her? Let's ju
Feb 26, 2015 Diane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
This was a BOM selection for one of my groups. The story is set in late 16th century Ireland and centers on Maeve, a young Irish girl.

"The Fire Opal" is a mixed bag. It's as if McBride could not decide what type of novel she wanted to write. The first half is a slow-moving, mostly historical novel with some hints of fantasy, and the second half is a fast-moving mix of Irish myth and adventure. I sort of enjoyed the first part, but the second part was confusing and tedious. None of the character
Rina Reviews
Just not my thing. Too much imagination not enough development. The Fire Opal was a beautiful prose but in aiming for young adult audiences it failed miserably. It was well written but unsuited for the YA genre in terms of plot and style. The characters while rich in backstory lacked personality and depth giving readers no way to sympathize with them. Maeve's age was the only young adult element. Although she was actually around 20 years she made strange naive choices. Tom was unexplainably evil ...more
Page (One Book At A Time)
I haven't read many books set in Ireland. But, what I have read seems to have it's own mystical quality. There's something about Ireland that makes it different and I don't think it's just the legends and myths that have been passed down for centuries. This book is no exception. I think the place and some of the events that are in the background of the story are real. But, it never feels real if that makes sense. It's almost as if the entire story takes place in a fog. It's beautifully written.

Aug 01, 2011 Ruth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Personally, I thought this book was overall just plain awful.I thought the characters were dull and forgettable, the main character, Mauve, cared more about a possibly dead Spaniard than the actual story,and Tom, the main villain,showed some promise at the beginning, but by the end he was just plain annoying. I thought the plot itself was lame and didn't keep readers engaged the way it should. This book was to rush at all the important parts and lingered to long on the boring insignificant parts ...more
Ange (Libby Blog) Schmelzer
Maeve is a fiery and spirited young girl who watches as both her mother and then her sister become shells of their former selves. Will she be next? Has she really become mad as her father and brothers believe? Or are the things she's hearing on the wind and in her mind real?
This an amazing 1st Young Adult novel for McBride! WOW! The Irish seaside is described in incredible detail to the point that you can also hear the sea and smell the air blowing in. The only issue I had was the ending which
Part of Adventures in Reading post on Bewitched Bookworms.
I read five books. In five days. This was one of them. =)

Set against the backdrop of the English invading Ireland, Maeve must fend off the advance of a villainous suitor while saving the souls of her mother and sister, all the while searching for her true love.

I liked it, nearly loved it, yet I was constantly confused and overwhelmed. And I must admit the ending left me wanting. I feel like there s
Good god. I'm never reading this ever again. I tried to read it, I really did, but I barely made it through the first three chapters and decided it wasn't worth it. The pace was too slow, and I didn't feel like I was part of the story. The narrating seemed so detached and distant, and the book is just a piece of descriptive writing. What happened to the excitement, to being alive and real???!!! NO! Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Really disappointing. I looked at the synopsis and was like wow the cover is ...more
Jul 22, 2011 Brittany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-challenge
I picked this up at my library based primarily on the cover. I also liked the cover blurb referencing old Irish Mythology. I was pleasantly surprised that this book was amazing. I don't normally like YA books, primarily because they all seem to have very similar plots. This book definitely has a very original plot and has very good mystery and action aspects. The only reason I gave this a 4 out of 5 instead of a 5 out of 5 was the ending. It left me wanting more. I want to know if she ever finds ...more
Aug 15, 2010 Keri rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
As a huge fan of Regina McBride I waited a long time for this book to come out only to be disappointed. “The Fire Opal”, being her first young adult novel, did not possess the same lore as her earlier novels. As I read the book I kept hoping that it would get better and, for me, it never really did. The writing seemed too forced as I felt she tried to imitate the magical or fantasy fiction that seems to be so popular among today’s authors. However, I will continue to be a fan of Ms. McBride’s an ...more
Theodosia of the Fathomless Hall
Atmosphere: 5/10 Not so good-was not immersed.

Characters:6/10 Maeve is probably the bravest heroine I've come across.

Plot: Meh 4/10 Mainly on account of the writing style.

Writing: Okay, but not good.

Cover: What made me check this book out, 7/10

Overall I would not recommend this novel, warning: this comes from a stand alone novel, snob and this probably would be enjoyable to many a reader but not to me.
Feb 28, 2016 Stephanie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hardcopy, 2016
This book was okay but not as good as I had hoped for when I read the synopsis. It took a long time for anything really good to happen and when it did it felt rushed and I just was not that interested anymore. There were parts of this book that I did enjoy the setting was cool and rich in history and the characters were pretty good. I fond it hard to explain my thoughts so I will just say this was alright but not great.
Oct 02, 2010 Jemma_serre rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alma  Ramos-McDermott
When Maeve's mother and sister fall into an enchanted sleep, the only way to save them is for her to go on a long and dangerous journey to find the fabled Fire Opal and return it to its rightful owner. If she doesn’t succeed, hundreds of lives will be lost – including those of her mother and sister. Excellent read with great outlook on Celtic myths.
Jan 26, 2011 Michaela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 01, 2013 Chelsie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is a very good book once you get past the beginning. I read the first few chapter in the first couple of days, then I got bored with it and found a more interesting book. Today, I got bored and with nothing else to do, finished reading the book. That's when I couldn't put the book down. But I was a little upset with the ending though.
Beth O'Connell
Jul 28, 2010 Beth O'Connell rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The writing's not bad, but it's full of horrible details. The Celtic setting is twisted into something totally different. Reminds me of the octopus guy in Pirates of the Caribbean. I almost didn't finish reading this one.
Dec 22, 2010 Terry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ancient Celtic myth combined with suspense, shape-shifters, and a devious villain with secrets living right next door to Maeve O'Tullagh and her family on the hillside overlooking the sea at Ard Macha make for a shimmering Irish tale.
Mary Bronson
I thought this was a good book. This was very orginial book about Irland during the Elizabethan area. When England started to invade Ireland. This book got me courious about to see if anything from this book was true. I loved the plot and character of the story. I was hooked from page one.
Feb 18, 2012 Kelly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Quite possibly the strangest book that I have ever read. It reminded me of when my oldest daughter tells a story, and kind of assumes that you have any sort of frame of reference of what she is talking about, but is telling you things that are so vauge that you can't even follow.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 12, 2015 12:42PM  
  • The Forest of Adventures (Knight Trilogy, #1)
  • The Princess's Dragon
  • Dark of the Moon
  • Merlin's Harp (Merlin's Harp, #1)
  • Forbidden Sea (Forbidden Sea, #1)
  • The Summer of Shambles (Ondine #1)
  • Anxious Hearts
  • Folly
  • Wildwing
  • Warrior Princess (Warrior Princess, #1)
  • Gateway
  • Enchanted Ivy
  • Libyrinth (Libyrinth, #1)
  • The Crab (Legend of the Five Rings: Clan War 5)
  • Nightschool: The Weirn Books, Vol. 3
  • Green
  • The Swan Maiden
  • Everlasting (Everlasting, #1)
Regina McBride is the author of The Nature of Water and Air, The Land of Women, and The Marriage Bed. She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her poems have been widely published in literary journals and magazines, and her book of poetry, Yarrow Field, won an American Book Series Award.

She grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexi
More about Regina McBride...

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