Publishers Weekly Review
McKinty, previously known for adult crime novels, brings an attuned ear for dialogue and a taut pacing to his first YA outing, the launch title in the Lighthouse Trilogy. Thirteen-year-old Jamie O'Neill lost his arm in cancer surgery a year ago, and has not spoken a word since. During that time, his father also left the family to marry again and settle in Seattle. Jamie's life of near-poverty with his single mother changes dramatically with the arrival of a letter, informing his mother that she has inherited a lighthouse estate in Ireland, and the 10-acre island on which it rests. By the second chapter, Jamie and his mother are living in their new home, and have learned that Jamie will become a laird (or lord) on his 18th birthday. In a hidden chamber within the lighthouse, Jamie discovers a strange device that teleports him and his new friend Ramsay to Aldan, a city "ninety-six light-years" away. There a girl named Wishaway informs him he is the prophesied savior come to rescue her people from the invading iceships of Alkhava. But the attack is already underway, and the residents of Aldan are taken captive to be sold as slaves. Jamie leads a resourceful counterattack, and while the action will keep the pages turning, it is the dialogue between Jamie and Ramsay, replete with pop-culture references, that makes this such an enjoyable trip. An intelligent, open-ended mythology allows for additions to the series, but this volume solidly stands on its own. Ages 11-15. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Booklist Review
An inheritance changes the fortunes of 13-year-old Jamie and his mother in the first installment of an sf trilogy by crime novelist McKinty. They move from Harlem to a lighthouse in Ireland, where Jamie is Laird of Muck Island. Having recently lost an arm to bone cancer, Jamie has become selectively mute, but a new friend, Ramsay, and a computer tablet that speaks for him boost Jamie's confidence. An artifact found in the lighthouse teleports the boys to and from a distant planet, where they help the Aldanese people fend off invaders. Jaime's arm becomes whole there, and he finds his voice again. The boys' friendship and banter is delightful, although the world building and some of the alien characters, including the love interest, a girl named Wishaway, need more substance. There's also plenty of action, as well as the potential of Irish legends playing into the sequels. Jamie's struggles with self-worth and his difficulty deciding whether to stay or to go home may remind readers of books in Mary Hoffman's Stravaganza series. --Cindy Dobrez Copyright 2006 Booklist