Dynasty O’Shea

Dynasty O'Shea: The Throne of Gammalon book cover
Image from Clarissa Cartharn; used by permission

Title: Dyansty O’Shea: The Throne of Gammalon

Author: Clarissa Cartharn

Genre: Fantasy

The kingdom of Gammalon is under siege by the evil Lord Dravidor. Jack O’Shea, the crown prince of Gammalon, takes refuge far from the conflict. Stuck there for eighteen years, he has never mentioned his heritage to his children. So when he is recalled to Gammalon, he doesn’t expect his children to follow him. The young O’Sheas enter a world unlike they’ve ever known – where magic and power prevail over all, and where they must seek the alliance of the mythical shadow warriors of the Tsez Xian to win the war.

I picked up Dynasty O’Shea on the premise – normal kids finding out their dad is crown prince of a magical kingdom. It had the traditional fantasy war-against-the-evil-guy plot, but I thought it might have some unique twists.

Dynasty O’Shea had an ensemble cast. Six O’Sheas (Jack and Rachel, the parents, and the kids, Alex, Ally, David, and Bronwyn), a handful of centaurs, some Tsez Xian people, Gammalonian soldiers, Dravidor’s soldiers… I didn’t hate any of them, but they weren’t all the greatest characters. Especially in the beginning, their antagonistic and general don’t-like-you relationships grated on my nerves.

I’m still not sure who the main character (or characters) was. At first, I thought it was David, but then it might have been Jack or Rachel. Then Ally and Bronwyn had their own adventures, but I wasn’t sure which one of them was the main character. Pretty much the only character I’m sure wasn’t a main one was Alex.

The plot was well done. Besides the main defeat-Dravador-and-take-back-the-throne plot, there was also some incidents with witches, the kids piecing together their parents’ history, trying not to get killed before they can get to the Gammalonian army, and some relationship issues that needed worked out. It was excellent, and kept my interest.

My hugest problem with this book was the writing. There were a handful of major punctuation errors – mostly missing essential commas – and repetition. Some sentences had “quietly” as the first word and “without a sound” at the end, for example. A few of the basic grammar and style rules were not followed.

Dynasty O’Shea is a hard book to review. The foundations for a good story are there. It was a good idea, good plot, good changes in family dynamics. The potential is there. But I’m honestly not sure the author was ready to write this story. A few more years of writing practice and a strong copyeditor could have catapulted this book from “well, it has potential,” to “wow, this is great.”

I received a free review copy of Dynasty O’Shea: The Throne of Gammalon from the author. Her generosity in no way influenced, or sought to influence, this review.


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