“The Lighthouse Land” – Do Pop Cultural References Cheapen a Book?

Review : The Lighthouse Land by Adrian McKinty

Jamie O’Neill has gone through a battle with cancer which resulted in the loss of his arm. Because of this tragedy in his life he has chosen to no longer speak. His mother, Anna, as a single mother is at the end of her rope both financially and emotionally. Unexpectantly they receive a letter from a law firm in Ireland that they are the last of royal line and are to inherit a small island and lighthouse.

Both Jamie and Anna hope that a new place will be the answer to help them in their lives. Ramsay quickly befriends Jamie and instigates exploring the lighthouse. Jamie is in for a lot more than he ever could have guessed was possible.

Spoiler Alert!

He and Ramsay travel to another planet where they meet a young girl, Wishaway, who has been waiting for the return of the Lord Ui Neill to save her country from war as this noble family has done in the distant past.

Adult Point of View

I did not like the first chapter, the cadence seemed very stilted and did not grab me into wanting to read the series. Also, I do not like the pop culture references because it dates a book making it obsolete in just a few short years. For example if I say, “Her clothes looked like Cindy Lauper’s costumes”, no one younger than about 35 would even know who the reference is about. Perhaps some feel pop culture in a book makes it accessible for young adults, but I think it cheapens the experience of reading. This may seem like a contradiction, however, I don’t mind the broader historical references to things like WWII and the Greek civilization.

After stating those few negative comments I have to say I actually got sucked into the series and enjoyed it quite a bit. The explanations of science used in the book were technical enough to sound like “real” science, but still approachable for the unscientific reader. The first book, The Lighthouse Land, had some incredibly creative moments which I am not going to spoil for readers. I will say, watch out for the boats, I loved this idea! The next book, The Lighthouse War, was a logical continuation. I did not feel that it added a lot of depth to the series and, in fact, thought one of the characters deviated from their core personality.  The final installment, The Lighthouse Keepers, had some interesting plot twists and again some new flashes of great creative ideas. I am still deciding if the big whammy at the end was too over the top, even though it did fit within the premise of the author’s universe. I was pleasantly surprised by this series.

There was also a little bit of language and some killings. There was nothing overly sexual, which was nice, making this truly a book for young adults ages 12 and up. I would give it 2.75 stars out of 5 stars.

– the Mother

Readers who liked this series might enjoy Beyonders by Brandon Mull

My teen has not read this series yet, the cover didn’t catch her interest.


About Tales Untangled

I am a mother of four children and have a passion for reading. I love sharing my treasury of books with my kids. I also do experiments in cooking which includes such things as Indian Tandoori Chicken slow cooked in a tagine. Weekly I get together with friends and go to yoga for a bit of mommy time. Some may find me quirky, I prefer to think I am one of a kind.
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One Response to “The Lighthouse Land” – Do Pop Cultural References Cheapen a Book?

  1. Arielle says:

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