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Sequel to the critically-acclaimed "The Hunter's Moon"
This second book in a series "shimmering with magic, myth, and romance" ("Booklist"), follows sixteen-year-old Laurel as she tries to understand the cause of her twin sister's mysterious death. Honor believed in Faerie, a parallel land of mischievous immortals. Laurel doesn't. That is, until the fairies come and ask her to take up her sister's failed quest to find the Summer King, a lord who can light the midsummer fire that keeps the two worlds, human and Faerie, cleaved. Laurel must decide to help those whose cause killed her sister, and, in the process, come to believe that there is still magic and love in the world.
Lush descriptions of Ireland and Celtic lore make this a satisfying read for travelers to other lands, real and mythic.

344 pages, Hardcover

First published June 30, 1999

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About the author

O.R. Melling

23 books464 followers
Born in Ireland, raised and educated in Toronto, Canada along with my seven sisters and two brothers, now living back in Ireland again. I have a beautiful daughter, Findabhair, doing her M.A. in Marine Biology and a beautiful cat, Emma, who would love to eat the fish Finn (great name for a marine biologist, eh?) wants to protect. My favourite author of all time is CS Lewis. I've read everything he ever wrote including non-fiction and adult fiction, but the Chronicles of Narnia are the best of all.

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5 stars
1,252 (40%)
4 stars
1,037 (33%)
3 stars
637 (20%)
2 stars
118 (3%)
1 star
31 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 140 reviews
Profile Image for Betsy.
411 reviews20 followers
May 16, 2010
This was definitely not as good as The Hunter's Moon. The characters started out interesting, but never seemed to go anywhere. I definitely liked Gwen and Findabhair better than Laurel and Ian. While I liked hearing a little more about modern Ireland, I felt like this book spent way too much time in the real world (or in history...what was up with that?), than in Faerie. I really wanted to hear more about the sea fairies, and have more interaction with Midir and the fairies we met in the last book. The ending was confusing, and the time jumps didn't make any sense to me either. That being said, I loved the increased use of Gaelic. I didn't figure out until the end of The Hunter's Moon that there was a glossary (I know, stupid of me), and I enjoyed flipping back to learn how to pronounce the Gaelic in this book. I hope the next volume is better though.
Profile Image for Alegna.
70 reviews17 followers
October 21, 2012
The only reason why I read this book was because a friend of mine recommended it to me. His words were "I kept remembering you while reading this. You much read it!" And even though I don't like to read my books out of order, I decided to break that rule once more (making it twice now that I've read a series out of order) but it proved to be well worth it.

This book is amazing! Captivating, Mystical and Fantastical, this is truly a must read!!!

As you read along, you're learning about the world of Faerie and its many magical creatures. What I liked the most was how O.R. Melling also has you learn Irish aka Gaelic language, a language truly mystical and wonderful to learn. The only thing I regret is not hearing about this book before or reading it before. I now look forward to reading the first book as well as the following two books of this series.
Profile Image for Lexidreams.
96 reviews45 followers
July 13, 2015
On page 117
I am regretting buying this book. The main character is way too naive for my liking and I think it would've worked better if the author made it in a little bit of an Alice in Wonderland style and made her 7 or 8, which is so much more believable. The romantic aspect would only have to be slightly tweaked. Why do authors purposely make their characters stupid? Laurel is in no way a realistic 16 year old.

I haven't seen (or maybe I haven't looked hard enough) one bad review on Goodreads for this which surprises me. The writing is very simplistic and I keep imagining this as an advanced children's book that can be read aloud.

The descriptions of the Fay, Ireland, and nature are beautiful and there are enough of them to keep me thinking maybe it will get better a third of the book, in but the simplistic writing style puts a damper on my mood.

On page 133

I just can't ignore it. What's a better way to describe it other than childish? It's meant for a younger audience, there too many cliches... I am 16, my reading's a bit more advanced than my peers but I read a lot of YA fiction and there are so much better things. I feel as if this is the summary written by an eigth grade student of a book that could actually be good if you were reading it and not another school kid's work. It doesn't even really try to make you believe in the fairy world, after a few moments of doubt at the beginning it's all jolly hoe! Laurel doesn't even think to ask the barest of questions like; How exactly am I going to get my sister back? Won't that be a problem if you're trying to hide the existence of Faerie from people? What about the fact that her body is in a coffin? And you just know that the author purposely dumbed her down because if she actually asked these questions the whole premise of the book would probably collapse!

Is she just too grief stricken to ask these questions? Something about her grief for her sister always rings false whenever it comes up. Laurel is simply not believable as a human being (maybe an alien?) and her dialogue with Ian is wince worthy. So cliched! It's all fine to read this stuff in books sometimes but actually try to imagine this stuff happening in real life.

""I feel like you're looking after me," she said, with a little laugh.
"Maybe you need some looking after."
She concentrated on her sandwich."

I think I read somewhere this book was lyrical... Beautiful enough descriptions of Ireland to make you feel as if you were there...

(That bit about the summary might have been a bit harsh but I am not used to the short sentenced style...)

I'll admit, this book perked up at the end but I look at the books I've given 2 stars and I'm not really sorry to say this doesn't rank with them. Hopefully The Light Bearer's Daughter will not make this author a total bust for me.

1.5 *s
Profile Image for Lia Marcoux.
687 reviews7 followers
April 30, 2013
This book is definitely flawed. The pacing is weird; every chapter has one "main event" and ends on a cliffhanger, but almost without exception, the "main event" would make a better cliffhanger. O.R. Melling also spends a LOT of time describing visual details while skipping over important emotional revelations in a single paragraph. She also fails to inhabit the character. The main character, Laurie, formerly athletic, has spent a year in grief and seclusion doing basically nothing, but when it comes time to scale a cliff face there's not even a throwaway "This was harder than she remembered!". The story is basically cosmetic. Written with more enthusiasm than skill.
Profile Image for Jeanne.
74 reviews39 followers
October 26, 2008
An excellent follow-up to The Hunter's Moon (The Chronicles of Faerie: Book One). Melling's storytelling continues to delight with her knowledge of the Irish landscape and legends. This time she works in my most favorite Irish heroine of all time, Grace O'Malley. There are interesting plot twists along the way and, as fitting in all fairy stories, a happy ending. I quite enjoy Melling's story telling.
1 review
August 29, 2015
I really liked this book because of how it was based on Irish folktales. I don't know much about Ireland except for leprechauns so it was very interesting
Profile Image for Vanessa.
22 reviews2 followers
December 27, 2018
I just finished this book and have to say how much it took my breath away. I feel like I’ve just returned from another world myself. O.R Melling has a gift for transporting you into her imagination with such intricate details and a vivid imagination mixed with real world locations in Ireland. I’ve been to Ireland recently but started reading this series before I left. I’ve always loved stories of Faerie and Ireland is bursting with them. This one in particular has a lot of battle and war between worlds and action that keeps the pages turning in suspense. I loved it and now onto the next. Light bearers daughter can only mean the daughter of Laurel and Ian and I’m so excited!!
Profile Image for Mom by the Books.
200 reviews2 followers
May 10, 2022
It's got to be a 5 star.

Though structurally, a lot of this book is quite similar to the first one, they're sufficiently different as well. If the first book is the precocious, bright eyed preteen, this book is the angsty, complex teenager. It follows the same outline, you could say, but the meat of the story is different.

So not only did this improve on the first book in the series, it also had so many things I just love: a sister storyline, a grumpy × grumpy romance, rifts in space-time, moral complexity.

I just adored this installment and can't wait to see what the next book has in store.
Profile Image for Holly Fields.
50 reviews
December 31, 2022
A great, magical tale to end the year with! I wasn’t sure what to expect after reading the first book in this series, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this one. It seemed more mature than the first book, with the protagonist facing more harsh and realistic challenges. I enjoyed the love interest between Laurel and Ian, and enjoyed reading about their struggles/victories. This interpretation of Faerie is absolutely adorable and I wouldn’t mind get swept up in it myself one day.
Profile Image for Ashli Edwards.
Author 3 books6 followers
July 25, 2018
This book is possibly my all-time favorite. This could be because it's subject is related to twins, which being a twin myself, I related to it fully. But aside from that, it is well written and devels deep into fantasy (which I love), while still being relatable. It deals in pain, loss, adventure, and love. It is a fast-paced read. And I very highly recommend it!
Profile Image for P.M..
1,230 reviews
July 8, 2021
It was better than its predecessor. However, I did not like Laurel, the main character. She was constantly weak or faint or exhausted or depressed. I did like the golden eagle Laheen. As always, I like stories about Irish folklore and word pictures of Olde Ireland. I will read the last book in the trilogy to wrap up the series.
Profile Image for Korrin.
58 reviews
June 27, 2019
I read this book because I read the first one many years ago. I enjoyed this second edition to the series. I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in faerie's or fantasy. Reading this book was an adventure worth going on.

Content Warning
Profile Image for Shannon Aardsma.
Author 1 book5 followers
January 31, 2021
Though not quite as active as the first book in my opinion, I still really enjoyed The Summer King. The characters were unique and interesting, and the relationship between two in particular was fun to follow. I also really loved the battle in this book, far more than the battle in the first book.
136 reviews1 follower
April 6, 2022
An amazing novel intertwined with complex and beautiful Irish mythology, language, and history. Just in-depth enough that I knew I wasn't quite understanding it all - which I loved.
Profile Image for Leonie.
271 reviews7 followers
November 24, 2013
"Die Nacht der Elfenkönige" ist O.R. Mellings zweites Buch.

Das Cover ist bläulich gehalten und zeigt ein Mädchen das schläft. Es ist nun nicht unglaublich auffällig oder faszinierend schön.

Die Protagonistin Laurel ist eine wahre sympathie Figur. Sie ist ehrlich und ehrgeizig. Familie - und vor allem ihre Schwester Honor - bedeuten ihr viel. Sie ist sehr mutig und tapfer und geht ihren Weg - welcher auch steinig sein kann. Sie geht Gefahren ein und vergisst hier und da die Mahnungen um ihr Ziel zu erreichen. Sie ist gelegentlich ein Dickkopf und versucht auch mal mit dem Kopf durch die Wand zu laufen. Gelegentlich ist Laurel hin und her gerissen, sie versucht immer die Starke zu sein.

Der wohl wichtigste Nebencharakter ist Ian. Er ist Laurels bekannter der ihr immer wieder über den Weg läuft. Er ist ein Draufgänger und macht nur das was ihm passt. Es ist ihm egal was andere über ihn denken, und das zeigt er auch. Er versucht sein Ziel zu erreichen und nutzt hierfür verschiedene Mittel und Wege. Nach außen ist er meistens der Rebell doch gegenüber Laurel zeigt er auch mal eine ganz andere Seite.
Dann ist da noch Grace - die Königin der See. Sie begleitet Laurel teilweise und steht ihr bei ihren Aufgaben zur Seite. Sie ist robust und wirkt eher männlich als weiblich. Sie hat einen scharfen Ton. Sie ist eine gute Gefährtin und hilft wo immer sie kann.
Ihre liebevollen Großeltern springen nur kurz ins Bild. Sie sind sehr liebevoll und kümmern sich rührend um Laurel.
Hier und da huscht auch einmal ein magisches Wesen in den Mittelpunkt.

O.R. Mellings Schreibstil ist sehr träumerisch. Sie schreibt sehr verspielt und romantisch. Beschreibt Details, so dass der Leser sich alles sehr gut vorstellen kann. Ihre Worte sind fesselnd und bilden ein wunderbares Ganzes.

Die Story von "Die Nacht der Elfenkönige" spielt in Irland, und somit ist dieser Roman auch der erste für mich der dort spielt. Sie beschreibt alles sehr genau, was es dem Leser ermöglicht sich alles sehr genau vorzustellen - und wer eine vage Ahnung von Irland hat, weiß wie traumhaft sich alles anhört.
Der Inhalt der Story mit ihrem klar definierten Ziel hat mir auch sehr gut gefallen.
Die Charaktere haben mir ausgesprochen gut gefallen - auch wenn Laurel an der ein oder anderen Stelle echt verwirrend ist.
Die Entwicklung der Beziehung zwischen Laurel und Ian ist auch teilweise sehr verwirrend. Mal ist es so und dann springt Laurel wieder um und es ist wieder anders - sehr verwirrend. Natürlich ist das im wahren Leben auch mal so, aber nicht so häufig.
Auch hier und da treten Passagen auf, die den Leser etwas verwirren.
O.R. Melling versteht sich sehr gut darauf die Leser in die Welt des Buches zu ziehen. Es kommt einem fast so vor als wäre sie selbst schon im Elfenland gewesen, so trifft es eine Aussage auf dem Buchrücken doch ganz gut.
Die Charaktere sind alle sehr verschieden und haben ihre eigenen Charakterzüge und doch passen sie alle wunderbar zusammen, ich konnte mit ihnen sehr gut warm werden und mich in sie hinein versetzen.
Und natürlich mangelt es dem Buch auch nicht an Witz, vorwiegend herrscht aber eine romantische, verträumte Stimmung.
Was aber nicht bedeutet das es nicht spannend ist, denn das ist es definitiv.

"Sie haben es auf mich abgesehen", schrie der Gnom. "Ich bin weg! Vergiss, was ich gesagt habe. Stell den ganzen Weg über Fragen!"
Zitat S. 115

Interessant fand ich auch den andauernd Einbau von irischen Worten, Sätzen und Begriffen

Das Ende war gut in sich abgeschlossen. Es lässt einige Fragen offen, unter anderem wie es weiter geht.


Alles in allem hat mir das Buch wirklich gut gefallen. Es ist sehr romantisch und verträumt, beinhaltet Spannung und hat tolle Charaktere und die Handlung der Story ist auch gut strukturiert gewesen.
Lediglich das Cover konnte mich überhaupt nicht ansprechen. Hier und da ist es etwas verwirrend.
Profile Image for Brittani (Game, Read, Teach).
289 reviews17 followers
May 10, 2012
You can find more reviews, along with this one on my blog Hope, Faith & Books

I did enjoy the book. As with The Hunter's Moon (the first book in the series), I really enjoyed the Irish language and culture and we got to learn even more about that in this book. So in this book Laurel travels back to Ireland where a year before her sister Honor died. I found it really sad that all throughout the book Laurel was shadows by her sisters death. She did everything she did for her sister. She came back to Ireland to get answers about Honors death. She wanted to know why her sister was on the mountain in the first place. But to get answers to that question and others she has to pretend to believe in the faeries like her sister did. Along the way she finds out her sister may still be able to live in faerie but she has to free the summer king to light the midsummer fire to be able to free Honor from the place she's in to be able to live in faerie.

Laurel really struggled throughout the book. She had to pretend to believe in faeries to help set Honor free to live in faerie but throughout the book she struggles with believing. She would meet a faerie and learn something but then meet another who said the other wasn't telling the truth. It was really hard for her to know who to trust on top of her wavering belief in faeries. She found someone to help though. Her childhood friend from Ireland named Ian. She was not sure if she could trust him at first but eventually he earned her trust and helped her. I can understand her not wanting to trust people. With all that had happened and not even being told the truth half the time I can understand why she wasn't sure of who to trust. In the end though Laurel succeeds with freeing the summer king even and getting the fire lit even though it came with some major struggles. She never gave up though. I got to give her that. She was a fighter, and it was all for her sister.

With this book I have the same complaint as with the previous. I felt there should have been more character development. We only really learn about Laurel and a little about Ian. That was about it. I would have loved to get to know more about the other characters. Overall though I'd say the book was still good and I'd recommend it if you enjoyed the first one.
Profile Image for American Mensa.
943 reviews45 followers
November 25, 2015
“The Summer King” is a captivating novel by O.R. Melling. Melling has written an enchanting fantasy full of mythical creatures that will have you on the edge of your seat clambering for more. The main character, Laurel Blackburn, has traveled back to Ireland in search of answers. Her twin and best friend, Honor, died mysteriously last year during their trip to Ireland. Laurel thinks there is something more sinister behind the death of her twin. So, Laurel searches in Honor’s journal to find clues about what may have happened to her sister. Although Laurel and Honor were twins, their views of life were very different. Honor had loved to read and believed in fairies while Laurel loved sports and never thought fairies were real. Laurel learns to change her point of view about fairies when she is told there is a way to save her sister. She soon finds herself wrapped up in an epic quest to find the Summer King and save the land of Faerie, a land full of puzzling mysteries, whimsical creatures, and dark secrets. Despite all of this, Laurel still holds one last hope to save her sister. Will Laurel succeed?

I love the part where Laurel speaks to legendary creatures such as Laheen, the King of the Birds, or when she outsmarts Granuaile, the Pirate Queen, who helps Laurel in her mission. I highly recommend this book because it is a real page-turner. With suspense in every page and twists in every chapter, this book will rise to be one of your favorite books of all times. This is an enthralling Irish tale that you do not want to miss.

Join Laurel in her quest to save the land of Faerie, find the Summer King, and save her sister in the book “The Summer King” by O.R. Melling.
Review by Roksanna K., age 11, Broward Mensa
Profile Image for Summer.
55 reviews1 follower
September 7, 2009
For fairy fantasy you really can't get much better than O.R. Melling.

Laurel (a name I'll give a kid someday) and Honor (which is a pretty awesome name too) are twins, so when Honor dies on a trip to Ireland she feels a complete shell of herself old self with Honor. She fealt when her sister died. It doesn't help with all the guilt she has for being on a date with bad boy Ian that day either when she fealt like she should have been with her sister when she fell of a cliff. So a year later when she goes back to Ireland and meets a Cluricaun who tells her she can get her sister out of the cracks between the land of Fearie and her own, she takes the chance. It's also a coincidence that she runs in to Ian at her grandparents cabin while on this quest to save the Summer King who she really knows nothing about. Ian ran away you see. whatever. Find out yourself.

I really love the romance in this book. Seriously. We learn a whole lot more about why Ian is Ian. The twist is pretty big with him to. And we see that he geniunely likes Laurel which is cool. He doesn't need to much convincing like she does. That's a whole lot of the conflict. Later in the book it's hard to even look at him for her so it's really good.

Melling incorperates a lot of Irish language and history. She throws in poets and tons of stuff that I dig like that.

The world is lush and beautiful. She paints it like a master.

The writing is lovely.

I really like this book and I constantly go back to it for a good jolt of romance. So if your a guy, not a romantic, and generally don't like fearies then read this book. What?! Yes, read it, You may find out that you actually like this stuff!
Profile Image for Lauren.
378 reviews14 followers
February 2, 2014
Let me just say that I absolutely loved the first book in this series, & part of me really enjoyed this one - but it also fell kind of short for me.

O.R. Melling is definitely an amazing writer - I love the way she writes. Her books are vivid and magical, filled with fairies and legends and mystery. Melling gives such wonderful descriptions of the landscape and culture that it instantly draws you in. Every time i read them i wish I were in Ireland...

However, I read this book expecting the majority - if not all of it - to be based in Faerie. In this book the characters weren't in Faerie at all & that was a major disappointment for me. I really wanted to learn more about the sea fairies, and have more time with Midir and the fairies we met back in Hunter's Moon...

Also, I felt like the characters were very distant and underdeveloped. I just couldn't connect with Laurel. The same with Ian - so much so that I was hardly impacted by the big revelation at the end. I wasn't invested in the characters or their story at all...

Still, I actually liked the character of Grace O'Malley. She was a fascinating historical character who ruled the Irish coast as a pirate queen for like 50 years or some such.

Im just not sure how I feel about this book. Im giving it 3 Stars because as I said, I really like O.R. Melling's writing. Even though this story didn't do it for me, the writing was still beautiful.
Profile Image for Nanci.
221 reviews4 followers
January 14, 2008
School Library Journal says: "Gr 8 Up A story that is lyrical and mesmerizing in subject and scope. In the year since her twin sister's death, practical and pragmatic Laurel has had dreams filled with fairies, giant birds, and questions about a king. While back in Ireland at her grandparents' home for Honor's memorial service, Laurel encounters a messenger from the Fairie realm who tells her that to save Honor, she must find the Summer King to light the Midsummer Fire. Hoping to bring her sister back, Laurel forces herself to share Honor's belief in Fairie and enlists the help of Ian, the village bad boy. Their relationship is complicated by the fact that she was on a date with him the day Honor died by falling off a cliff wall into the ocean. While trying to complete their task in the allotted time, they encounter a cluricaun who may or may not be telling them all he knows, ravens trying to stop them from freeing the Summer King, and unexpected things about Ian's true nature. Melling has taken Irish folklore and made it not only accessible, but also alive to readers unfamiliar with the stories. Through Laurel, an athlete who never had time for the fantasies that Honor loved so much, the tales are introduced seamlessly. Laurel's anger and indecision about being with Ian and his volatile anger bring these characters to life. An essential purchase for fantasy collections in which Tamora Pierce is popular."

#2 in the Fairie Chronicles
Profile Image for Victoria.
290 reviews18 followers
July 17, 2009
A much better book than "Hunter's Moon," this feels like Melling has finally hit a stride.

Laurel is wracked with guilt over the death of her sister, Honor. But when she discovers her sister's diary, with entries concerning faeries, she begins to wonder about the true circumstances of her death. And when a type of leprechaun approaches her with a quest only she can complete, skeptical Laurel realizes she will have to believe for her sister's sake. To save Honor, she must find the imprisoned Summer King, and lead him to relight the fire that protects both Faerie and Earth.

Accompanied by her rebellious ex-boyfriend Ian, who is hiding secrets of his own, Laurel traverses Ireland to find a mythical island, speak with an eagle king, sail with a female ghost pirate, and flee from a band of frightening raven shapeshifters.

Unlike the previous book, this one unrolls at a perfect pace. Laurel's slow exposure to the fantastic is realistic. Her journey is not rushed, and peppered with interesting action along the way. The many twists involving the "good" and "bad" guys kept me intrigued, as did the new Irish myths. And Laurel's shifting relationship with Ian was very well done; I got to know their personalities and feelings well and really appreciate the dynamic they had with each other.

I hope the third book in the series follows this trend!
Profile Image for Rebecca.
Author 13 books20 followers
July 10, 2015
This was a big improvement over the first book in the series, "the Hunter's Moon", but it still fell short of being enjoyable. The idea for the plot is good, modern teens run into some of Ireland's classic faeries from the old tales (not the Disney nonsense). The classic faeries are scary and unpredictable. Melling got the characterizations much better in this story with Laurel believable as a teen grieving for her dead twin, and Ian, the minister's son who's always been an outsider.

The problem is with the plot -- it winds up feeling like a bunch of stage directions that Melling shuffles her characters through. It might be that she just isn't good at pulling the reader into a point of view and making them care about the main characters or it might be that her world building is shaky. Maybe if I'd been an expert on all the Irish faerie tales, I would have enjoyed this more.

(On a side note, Rick Riordan has kept me entranced with his novels of modern teens hanging out with Greek and Egyptian gods and I am only moderately familiar with those stories.)

Meh. Not recommended.
Profile Image for Sylvia.
31 reviews
January 3, 2008
ahhhh... i loveeddd the 1st book, this book really tapped into fantasy. i felt transported to another world. at parts i was sort of confused at how this book connects to the 1st book. in the end of the book, the irony in how is ends is a bit overwhelming. but im not going to say anything, the phrase that best fit that situation the main character was in is appearances are decieving and keep ur friends close but enemies closer. at times i did not understand the book because there was irish and some phrases in irish as well as the customs. this book was touching, i feel that the protanist's bond with her twin sister is utter so strong. so when her sister passed away, she is so broken and lost with out her. reminds me of when my grandma passed away and my mom and aunts were really sad and would remember her and her moments, just like the protaganist remember her sister. the protaganist even when as fall as risking her life for her sister just to have her sister back. a really good book.
4 reviews
February 6, 2017
The Summer King is one of my favourite works by Melling, mostly due to prickly Laurel and sullen Ian. They are compellingly flawed characters, struggling to work out their personal demons and deal with the treachery of the dreams offered by Faerie.

I found the writing and pacing to be an improvement over The Hunter's Moon. It still had its' stilted moments and rushed transitions but the plot was more character driven rather than events. Faerie is still the impetus of the journey but not as centre-stage, mainly due to the skepticism of Laurel as she works through her grief and guilt over Honour. I also thought the action scenes and secondary characters were compelling, and found myself invested in their interactions more so than expected.
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