The Fire Opal by Regina McBride follows the life of Maeve O'Tullagh, who seems to take after her mother, Nuala, in hearing voices in the secluded Ard Macha, Ireland. When Maeve's sister Isheleen is born, Maeve is overjoyed. It took a while because she had to be reincarnated twice. However, Ishleen and her mother fall under a strange spell that renders them unconscious. Maeve suspects that the handsome yet dark-spirited Tom Cavan has had something to do with this. She discovers that he's made a pact with an ancient goddess to gain control of Ireland. Also, he wants to marry her and finds it hilarious to see her angry after seeing him chuck baby seagulls off a cliff. The goddess lives on a slightly weird ice barge and keeps girls as slaves. Those girls must care for their mothers, who have been frozen by the spiteful goddess. In the midst of all this, Queen Elizabeth of England is fighting the Spanish Armada, but not by herself.
I really didn't like The Fire Opal. The plot didn't seem very original, or just entirely too bizarre. It might have worked with better explanations. For example, the entire idea of cursed goddesses wasn't very well explained and so left the reader hanging. I had absolutely no idea what the goddess was doing on a stationary ice barge in the middle of the ocean, of course guarded by fierce mermaids. Maeve was slightly strange and underdeveloped. While it was nice that she rescued a Spanish soldier, he disappeared and nothing more was heard of him. Also, I wasn't sure how she discovered all these conspiracies or why she kept seeing the nice ancient goddess. Overall, The Fire Opal was pretty terrible. It had some decent ideas, like covering Irish disputes with Queen Elizabeth, but lacked something extra, like depth.
Reviewer City, State and Country: Charleston, SC USA