The Chronicles of Dan Lee O’Brien is a collection of 11 short stories of varying lengths, by David Jordan following the exploits of the protagonist, Dan Lee O’Brien, as Irish reality and Irish mythology are intertwined.
To give you more flavour, here is the book’s description, as found on Amazon:
‘These stories place Irish mythology into a modern context by following the adventures of the anti-hero, Dan Lee O’Brien, a pipe smoking, trench coat wearing, bike riding magician and investigator of the supernatural. An older, more laid back John Constantine, Dan Lee is the man for all things strange and Otherworldly.’
The themes of magic and fantasy are clearly underpinned in each story, and the reoccurring appearances of Dan Lee helped to establish a chronology – albeit a non-linear one. My favourite story was called The Evil Eye, and it reminded me of the story of Cyclops, from Greek mythology, and worked in some sarcastic humour, which I like to see.
For some reason, I never managed to get into books about mythology – I enjoyed the film adaptations, but even the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan failed to captivate me.
However, The Chronicles of Dan Lee O’Brien allowed Jordan to display some original ideas on a topic I’ve never come across before. If you are an avid fan of mythology, Irish history and the fantasy genre, I think you will really like the scenarios Jordan has created in each story. However, there did seem to be a strong expectation throughout the book that the reader would be familiar with these things. If, like me, you’re not, then you will find the purpose and importance of each character and setting difficult to understand.
I also thought that a lot of the stories seemed to favour dialogue over narration. I didn’t particularly enjoy this choice, as I felt it removed the opportunity to describe the characters and surroundings in better detail.
Plus, a lot of the sentences were quite short and simple – quite a contrast for someone who loves Classic novels with sentences that last forever 😉
Unfortunately, this gave the narrator and speakers quite a blunt, negative tone, which I’m sure wasn’t intentional!
Overall, I think Jordan needs to work on his style and descriptive technique, but his core ideas are intriguing. But hey, this is his first book and it’s an impressive achievement – regardless of the improvements I think need to be made. Sadly, I don’t quite think this specific genre was my cup of tea but I am in no doubt that if you’re a fan of all things mythological, you will find this book fascinating!
Star Rating: 3/5 Stars