Folk’d Up by Laurence Donaghy
Part 2 of the wacky Irish trilogy is every bit as good (and wacky) as Part 1. The one-liners are as sharp, the pace frenetic, the plot an education.
Danny Morrigan is in search of his missing girlfriend, Ellie, and their baby, Luke, snatched by the Faeries. But these are not your singing and dancing little people Faeries with squeaky voices. No, the sort that poor Danny encounters are an altogether more vicious lot.
In Folk’d Up, Danny is dragged further into the Faery realm, where he finds a multitude of terrifying creatures that defy all logic – kinda like politicians. During his acid-trippingesque sojourn, Danny learns more about his own family line and their designated role in the battle against the evil forces of the Otherworld.
Danny’s father, Tony, who apparently abandoned his wife and son when Danny was 10, emerges in Folk’d Up as a more central and heroic figure, together with Ellie’s reclusive uncle, Dermot. Danny’s best friend, Steve, is still his usual wisecracking self, and the verbal abuse between Steve and everyone else is relentless and laugh-out-loud funny.
Folk’d Up is a very humorous book. It is also very educational in terms of introducing the reader to Irish folklore and mythology. All of this is achieved whilst using the sharp-edged banter common to the people of the Occupied Six Counties (OSC), particularly those from Belfast.
Danny finds himself in the Otherworld where he must battle against the impressive forces of the evil Queen, Carman, as well as tackle his own insecurities and issues. I would have expected Oprah Winfrey to make an appearance at this point in the story such is the quantity of self-analysis although, on second thoughts, the profanity would possibly have stopped her delicate heart. In any event, perhaps Carman is more of a cross between Rikki Lake and Judge Judy. Scary thought.
As Danny struggles in the Faery realm, his friends and family must battle the malign intent of Carman’s son, Dother, who is known on the tough streets of Belfast as Mr Black. No, he is not a Reservoir Dog, but he is the CEO of a global telecommunications company that has unknown designs upon the people of Ireland. Dother, it seems, must be stopped.
The vile Mr Black has possession of the Silver Sword of Nuada which can be used to wipe memories and rewrite time. I really wish I had a sword like that instead of my battered light-sabre that doesn’t really work properly anymore and never did allow me to cut the head off my horrible uncle Silas. It just made him even angrier and left a red mark on his blotchy, fat neck. Black uses the blade of Nuada to seriously screw things up for Danny and his people, thankfully, as it provides hilarious results for us readers.
Meanwhile, the original Morrigan – also known as the Morrigú or Celtic Goddess of War – introduces herself to Danny and takes him on a tour of her history so that he might better understand his place in the ongoing battle with the evil Formorians, later to be known as the Faeries. These passages have the feel of a Christmas Carol as played by Bill Murray in Scrooged. There is off-the-wall humor, blasphemy and profanity in abundance. It all makes for an extremely engaging read.
The writing in this book is better than most of what will be found in T.V. or movie scripts. There are one-liners and humorous exchanges galore (galore comes from the Gaelic, go leor, meaning enough). The character presentation is excellent. Look out for Bea, the OAP with the tough attitude and even tougher turn of phrase. For anyone familiar with the directness of Belfast natives, Folk’d Up will be a laugh-a-minute as Danny, Steve and co. stumble through their crazy trials and tribulations.
One flaw, that I wish to tentatively mention, is that the author has used a bit of artistic licence in the relaying of mythological tales. It was the Tuatha De Danaan who were to become known as the Faeries. The Formorians were the sworn enemies of the Tuatha but where destroyed in previous battles and disappeared from later mythology. It’s a small criticism though, as is the fact that the time-period used for both the Formorians and the Tuatha De Danaan is off by almost 1000 years. But hey, who cares, when the dialogue and action are as good at they certainly are in Folk’d Up.
The only other book I have found to be as enjoyable was John Dies At The End, which will be reviewed at some point on Rebel Voice. In the meantime, get stuck into this trilogy (in chronological order) and enjoy some very solid laughs. But be warned, the language is extremely lively and profane. Then again, when you’re dealing with evil Faeries who will stop at nothing to get their way, you will be forgiven for uttering the occasional Fuck!
Rebel Voice recommends Folk’d Up very highly, not only because of the humour, the plot, the characters, the craziness and the educational content, but also because Laurence Donaghy is an OSC native, and Rebel Voice enjoys supporting local lads.
Further explanation of the plot may spoil your enjoyment of what is a novel idea, so we will take our leave at this point ‘resulting in an exit so swift and cowardly he’d make Scooby Doo look like William Wallace‘, as Danny Morrigan would say.
Sult scale rating: 8.5 out of 10. An education in Ireland, the OSC, and in learning how to laugh out loud without embarrassment, even in a very public place.
The first instalment of the Folk’d story can be found here:
For more on the Morrigan, read this Rebel Voice article: