Thursday, September 08, 2011

Book Review: "The Stone of Destiny" by Jim Ware

Summary from Morgan Izaak is obsessed with his father’s ancient books about the legendary Philosopher’s Stone; he’s even got a little alchemy lab set up in the church tower next door. And when Morgan and his best friend, Eny, find out about another mysterious stone that may be hidden in their own town—the Irish Stone of Destiny, called Lia Fail—he’s determined to find it because he thinks it’s the last hope for someone he holds dear. But Morgan’s not the only one looking for the Stone, and by the time the two middle schoolers realize there’s trouble afoot, Morgan has betrayed their friendship, strange creatures are loose in the land, and the Stone is lost … perhaps forever. Can Morgan find a way to help those he loves?

I was intrigued by this book because it features the Philosopher's Stone. For those that didn't know that's also known as the Sorcerer's Stone featured in another book featuring a young male protagonist. I was wondering what direction this book would take the famous stone on in its journey. This book also reminded me in several ways of The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis. There's travel to other worlds, a young boy and girl becoming friends, and a sick mother who needs a magical antidote to save her.

I was a bit surprised that so much of the story focused on Eny. She's nowhere on the cover and she's barely mentioned on the back of the cover. Yet I would say that at least half of the book focuses just on her and another 1/4 features both her and Morgan. Even though she is younger than Morgan, she is the more mature and rational one. I actually liked her a lot better and wished that the story was more HER story as she's a very interesting girl.

As most know, I'm not really a fantasy fan and this is definitely a fantasy book. I was intrigued at first but by the end of the book, I found myself unable to fully get into the story. I felt like Ware started off with good intentions but by the end of the book things started going every which way and I started to get confused. Also, as I stated, it seemed like the main protagonist kept shifting from Morgan to Eny and couldn't decide which one to stick with. There is also some lengthy cursive font in the book which is a turn off.

I do think however that middle grade and some YA readers will enjoy the book. If they enjoy fantasy, it will appeal to them. I do wish that Eny had been featured more on the cover so that both boys AND girls would pick up the book. This appears to be a standalone which makes me sad because I think would have liked to read more about Eny.

The Stone of Destiny
by Jim Ware is published by David C. Cook (2011)

This review copy was provided by a publicist

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