The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson. Book Review

THE WREN HUNT by Mary Watson
Bloomsbury, p/b, 416pp, £7.99
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins

It is the day after Christmas and all is quiet along the main street. The wren hunt, that old St Stephen’s Day tradition, should be a happy occasion… but not in Kilshamble. Her name curses her to play the part of the wren. They will chase her, whether she runs or not. They will find her, whether she hides or not. Yet something is different this year. This year, it does not feel like a game anymore.

Wren is an augur; she sees things and they happen. The evening news proves the accuracy of one of her recent visions. But now she has had a blood vision. Will that one prove true?

On the sixth day of the new moon, six draoithe will gather for the answer to a question. Who will be sent to live in hiding among the judges? It will be dangerous, but is the only way to get what they need.

The Wren Hunt takes place in a small Irish village and is steeped with traditional elements of Irish folklore and fantasy. The story is played out from Wren’s point of view as she begins to uncover more of the truth about her background, her family and their enemies.

A competent debut, Watson’s tale flows with fluidity and ease through a narrative that provides some well-crafted moments of tension and reveals a depth to the story which the opening does not hint at, and this will sit well among the current YA market. Perhaps a deeper exploration of the key antagonists’ motives and back stories would have rounded them off, but the main and expected elements of the genre are there in abundance.