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The Black North

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  53 ratings  ·  13 reviews
The Divided Isle, once a place of peace and tranquillity, has been ravaged by war. Twins Oona and Morris live with their grandmother in a stone cottage in the quiet southern county of Drumbroken, but the threat of the Invaders of the Black North - the ravaged northern part of the island - is coming ever closer. When Morris, fighting against the Invaders, is kidnapped by on ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published June 5th 2014 by Hot Key Books
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Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  53 ratings  ·  13 reviews

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Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I didn't really enjoy Tall Tales from Pitch End, but I'd already bought this so I started it anyway, expecting to abandon it after 50 pages. And it did take me a little while to get into it, but pretty soon I was halfway through it in one day. This is the kind of book that can change the world. It such a great story and has a really important message but not in a boring, preachy way. It should be required reading. ...more
A very interesting fantasy book that anyone who has spare time should pick up for a great read. Character development and plot are absolutely amazing. I did not finish it in one read but instead, over the course of a few months.

Then why a four star rating? You may ask.

Because of the slow start. The story begins at a crawl, the beginning made more agonizing by the foreign style of writing. Sentences which would make an English teacher burst a blood vessel and longer descriptions than the curlicu
May 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dropped-dnf
Always seemed to lose out to a more interesting read; I'm a big library user and as other books became due I'd switch and come back and just never quite got into it. I imagine it starts to get more engaging just a little further along, so my "dnf" status isn't a genuine dislike just not remaining on the "tbr" pile! ...more
Mar 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: dropped-l
Hello Mackenzie
Abi Elphinstone
Dec 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
When Moontrug saw this book cover she knew it was exactly the kind of story she’d love: two silhouetted children on a path of moonlight leading to a remote castle, surrounded by magical creatures. And within pages of reading, Moontrug was completely enthralled by the story…

Storm clouds are gathering on the Divided Isle. Oona Kavanagh’s home has escaped the worst of the ravages of war, but now the Invaders from the ruined Black North are threatening. When Oona’s twin brother, Morris, is kidnapped
Stephen C
Jun 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Lets all just take a few seconds, maybe a minute even to appreciate this fantastic cover! Just look at it...Its like art. I want it as a print to put on my wall! You could see it on a tote bag! I know people say you shouldn't judge a book by a cover, but I feel like I picked up this sixth sense that I can know I'm going to like a book from its cover (its how I found so many amazing books by myself as a child), and this was one of those times. It makes me think of The Snow Queen, and feels dark a ...more
Jun 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, fantasy
Reviewed for Confessions From Romaholics

The Black North is the first book of this author I have read and I look forward to reading more from him. This book is very different from previous fantasies I have read recently because of two things. The writing style and vivid imagination of the author that cross boundaries and makes your imagination be stretched to comprehend and understand the plot that the author created. There are many layers to this world and this what makes the book for what it is
Emily Rider
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This author's writing style is original, and the story is interesting, exciting, with a good balance of happy mixed with sad. There's a clear message that sadness and tragedy will happen in life, without weighing down the positive message. I loved reading this to my daughter, who is six. I've read another book recently (one by a currently famous actress) who tried to convey a similar message but felt a need to go out of her way to scare children to do so. Nigel McDowell shows that important mess ...more
Mar 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was great. Interesting narrative style, cool female protagonist, no romance, exciting plot, a smattering of tragedy, a philosophical message... it's only losing a star because (a) I'm stingy with my 5-star ratings and (b) I found it a bit confusing at times, which was probably just me. Definitely recommended. ...more
Mar 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Read this while travelling, heartwarming and exciting.
Vincent Ripley
Jun 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Book review will be first published on ...more
Frances Wilde
Jun 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Really impressed by this book. The pace was perfect, I loved all the creatures and creations- the whole world was fantastic but imaginable. Very Irish.
Stuti Bagchi
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Yvonne Watkins
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Nov 15, 2014
Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez
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Haley Wade
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Nov 05, 2017
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Apr 06, 2014
rated it it was ok
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From Nigel McDowell's blog (

I grew up in County Fermanagh, rural Northern Ireland, and as a child spent most of my time battling boredom, looking for adventure - crawling through ditches, climbing trees, devising games to play with my brother and sister, and reading. My favourite book as a child was The Witches by Roald Dahl.

After graduating with a degree i

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