Beyond the Gloaming Book Cover Beyond the Gloaming
Sebastian and the Hibernauts
Brendan Murphy
Phantasm Books
August 20, 2014
Paperback, Kindle

It is Easter, 1973 and twelve year old Sebastian Duffy has some serious self-esteem issues. He is beaten by his parents, bullied at school, steals from his friends and still mourning the death of his brother. To cap it all, strange things have begun happening around him and he is finding it hard to distinguish dreams from reality. After a nightmarish assault, he wakes in the Gloaming, a shadow world inhabited by ghosts. There to greet him is Porrig, a creature from Hibercadia, a magical realm crafted from Celtic dreams. Inhabited by Fir Bolg, Tuath and Milesians, it has been overthrown by brother gods from another dreamworld. One brother, Phobitor, is a tyrant and even the Tuath, who took to their underground sidhe millennia ago, are concerned.

Sebastian discovers that he alone can save Hibercadia by finding an enchanted spear. Teaming up with the Hibernauts—a mercurial sorceress, an orphaned druidess, a taciturn warrior, a snuff-sniffing leprechaun and a lovelorn poet—he embarks on a fantastical quest, but can he succeed when he is yet to find his magical potential or even his courage, and half the realm is bent on his destruction?

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the author for free in exchange for an honest review, in no way my opinion about the book was affected by this. I judge the books only not the authors.

The Review 

This book was soo good! It reminded me of The Lord of the rings in a way and god knows I love those movies (I still have to read the books guilty…)

It was soo good that during the whole read I could picture every scene, every conversation as if it was happening right
before my eyes.

I loved the main character Sebastian, he is a bright kid full with life and desire to explore everything, regardless of the hardships he is facing on a daily basis. The whole world was amazing, Hibercadia is a such a magical place full with all kind of creatures some are scary some are not, I would definitely would love to visit it and meet Porrig and Addedilli and Finnog. And for how disturbing it might sounds I would love to see an aia even if from a far haha yep that might be quite disturbing if know what I am talking about, but hey I am not your normal person!

Back to the book now, the writing style was totally new to me so I needed some time to get into it, but once I did it took and I loved it. The only thing that made my read a little bit more painful at times was the usage of Irish dialect however I found out that if I say the phrase out loud it makes perfect sense in English so if you happen to have the same
issue try out my method 🙂

The characters were very well developed, each one of them with its own personality and distinct voice, the whole world was complex and detailed and the author did a great job in my opinion on describing everything with the right amount it was not too
much nor too little just enough for you to picture the scene or the room he is trying to deliver and I would immediately picture it as it is. The fact that the book is based on Irish folklore was really surprising to me absolutely in a good way I found it very intriguing and personalized. I appreciated that the topic of bulling and home abuse was mentioned and strongly highlighted as this is a reality that many people around the world are experiencing in silence afraid to act. Brendan really is a great author and I strongly do recommend you to check out this book, you would not be disappointed if you like me are into fantasy and middle grade books.

Simply great! I would not spoil anything because you need to read it for yourself.

And here is one of my favourite quotes of the book:

“Coping with the death of a brother and surviving a wretched life, you have shown the greatest valor. Furthermore, true courage often remains hidden, preserving its strength until the time is right…”

An interview with the author in the next post!


Brendan MurphyBrendan Murphy has scribbled something down every day since he was nine years old. After reading medicine in London and psychiatry in Manchester, he moved to Australia in 1999. He is an Associate Professor at Monash University, writes widely on youth mental health, has published a book on the history of football (From Sheffield with Love, 2007), and is a columnist for Aontacht Magazine. He is contracted to Assent Publishing for his six-book Celtic fantasy series, Sebastian and the Hibernauts. The first adventure, Beyond the Gloaming, was published in 2014. The sequel, The Traitor’s Trap, was released in November 2015. He lives with his wife, Katrina, and their children, Sebastian and Violette, in a sprawling property built for the composer, Dorian Le Gallienne. They share their garden with a mob of kangaroos, a wombat, two possums, any number of creepy crawlies, and some very feisty kookaburras.

Sebastian and the Hibernauts, the fantasy series you’ve been dreaming of. Let the wonderment begin

Contact Details

A big thanks to Booktasters  and Brendan for this opportunity! 

3 thoughts on “Review: Beyond the Gloaming (Book #1 in Sebastian and the Hibernauts)”

  1. Great review, Lin! Wow– these character names are quite a mouthful. Did you find that you were struggling to pronounce those names? I am no good with Irish pronunciations; particularly those based in Gaelic. You had so much positive to address; what stopped you from giving this book 5 stars?

    1. Hey Jackie! Thank you so much for the comment and for stopping by!
      Yes, absolutely those names are very difficult to me to pronounce and I am still not quite sure what is the correct pronunciation.
      The main reason I gave it 4 stars was because I had some hard time understanding and following the story at some point due the language the author used and the writing style that was so new to me. However this is on me, I am not a native English speaker so I do not blame nor want to diminish the book in any way due to this. I am already reading the second book in the series and I am more than sure that I will be giving it a 5 star rating 🙂

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