ARC Review: THE LOST GIRL KING by Catherine Doyle (Middle Grade Monday)

I received an eARC from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Title in white on blurred yellow and purple image
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: MG
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: Standalone


Amy and Liam Bell have been packed off to stay at Gran’s house in the wilds of Connemara for the summer. Out for a walk on the first morning of their holiday, they trace the flight of a hawk to a nearby waterfall – only to watch the bird disappear through it. Intrigued, the children follow and soon realise they’ve discovered the entrance to Tír na nÓg, the legendary land of eternal youth.

But they’ve been tricked. Almost immediately Liam is captured by a troop of headless horsemen who take him to Tarlock, the ruling sorcerer of Tír na nÓg, who is seeking the bones of a human child for a sinister new spell.

Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


THE LOST GIRL KING is a tale of two siblings determined to protect each other in a magical realm where the evil mage wants to use them to secure his immortality.

Gutsy Amy is the main protagonist of the book, taking up most of the page time. She is adventuring with heroes and rallying the kingdom to work together to save her brother, a very classic fantasy plot line that the book follows with gusto. She pretty much talks her way through everything – and then getting saved from battles when she can’t talk her way out of things, because she hasn’t quite learned how to think before talking! She’s constantly running into danger even if the adults trying to stop her have a good point (and they have their work cut out trying to keep an eye on her!) It ends up working out in her favour though, through sheer stubbornness more than anything!

Liam, by contrast, spends most of the book in the castle, a prisoner. He uncovers the Mage’s plans, which involved a curse on the sun to stop him aging. He also meets the eponymous girl king, who is the anchor to the curse and the key to it all…

The book has such imaginative world, which draws on Irish mythology around Tír na nÓg. The magical realm has been corrupted by the curse on the sun so is rotting. However, at the same time, it’s also beautiful and full of potential that helps you understand why it needs to be saved.

The book is a standalone that all wraps up nicely. It would be nice to have another story in this world but with the villain defeated and things restored, I’m not sure what that would be. Still, I look forward to whatever Catherine Doyle writes next.

Read my reviews of other books by Catherine Doyle:

Middle Grade:

Storm Keeper:


Young Adult with Katherine Webber:

Twin Crowns:


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