Finn the Half-Great Hardcover – 13 Oct 2009
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About the Author
Theo Caldwell is an internationally known investor, writer, and commentator. Born in Toronto, Theo is a citizen of Ireland, Canada, and the United States. Finn the half-Great is Theo's first novel and it is dedicated to his beloved dog, Harvey. Learn more about Finn at www.halfgreat.com.
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The publisher recommends the book for children aged 9 to 12 (grades 3 to 6). But the author keeps pelting the reader with unnecessary and pompous vocabulary. Ten year olds do not understand the meaning of bilious, shoal, piety, belie, victuals, uncouth, pang, confound, don, mundane, clout, cantankerous, malodorous, impertinent, hexagonal, nonplussed, simperer, bough and porcine. Embarrassingly, the author sometimes misapplies such words, betraying his ignorance of the word's semantic nuance or even its plain meaning.
On page 2, the author's hasty world-building drowns the reader in a tsunami of proper nouns with insufficient context: Gogmagog, Great Ones, Finn mac Cuhail, Cuhail mac Art, Muirne, Nuada, Albion, Fomorians, Frost Giants, Treryn, Eire, Fianna, Ymir.
The book portrays an unsympathetic protagonist, so you really don't care if he wins or fails, lives or dies. Early on, a human taunts the protagonist Finn with "Did your mummy give you that [lavender] scarf?" Finn responds by lifting the human in the air by the neck (like he's Darth Vader) and threatens to disembowel him with a sword. Finn later cuts his enemy Ymir into two or more pieces, leaving behind a "pool of venomous black blood".
The book obsesses over how the fantasy races of this world differ. The racialist descriptions disturbed me, hinting at undertones of white supremacism. The women act as one-dimensional stereotypes: frustrated and bossy, housewives and spinsters. Finn has this creepy and infantile coping mechanism: he vigorously sucks his thumb to awaken magic powers when he gets desperate. In a gross reliance on paternal phallicism, Finn uses his father's indestructible "red sword" to defeat his enemies.
There's no coherent plot worthy of a novel, more a collection of loosely-related short stories. Finn usually defeats powerful enemies without cleverness. The author bases story events on fastidious research of Celtic mythology, but he shapes the narrative pedantically and without soul.
FINN THE HALF-GREAT clearly aspires to emulate Tolkien's THE HOBBIT, but unfortunately its amateurism lacks the fantastical charm, linguistic craftsmanship, epic stakes, moral guidance or enduring pathos.
Legend has it that the mightiest giant was Gogmagog (biblical name) who was the strongest. Back in those days giants lived to eat and fight and usually met their end in battle and to them that was best. One day they discovered that it would be better to die of natural causeses. So thy stopped fighting until they died. They discovered that they could live forever. They were immortal. Life did get boring so they decided to sleep underground.
Finn Macuhail is the son of a mortal women and a male giant, His mother died in child birth and his father was a mighty warrior. His father, Cuhail, died in battle fighting against the Fomorian named Ymir (Norse name) Finn grows up with two aunts and an uncle until one day adventure calls him to go to war against Ymir. Now the frost giants have been lulling the regular giants to sleep with an elf’s music. The giants are about to be wiped out. So Finn gets together with Goll and an elf who makes music and they build a cause way to the island of the Frost Giants. Finn kills his father’s murderer.
Next he gets married to Onagha and lives on top of Knockmany. His next fight is with Cuhulain/ Cuhalin wants to to fight and he goes around knocking out the various giants to gain kingship. Onagha gets him in her house and feeds him bread laced with crushed rocks. He goes away with stomache aches A couple of other stories have him checking on his causeway and seeing it damaged. He also visits Leviathan ( biblical Name) who assures him that Jorgmandr (Norse name) is not threat to the Isle of Ireland.
All through out these little adventures there are humans who want to waste the giants. Lead by Dunbar and helped by Jack the Green they go about stealing rings of stones and killing giants. While Finn is out on an adventure they burn down his stronghold and kidnap his wife. So another quest begins where he meets a banshee, a necromancer, ghost of dead giants and what not. In the end everyone gets ready for a royal battle. I will not spoil the ending for you read it yourself.