Sunday, June 17, 2007

Charlie Fletcher's Stoneheart

This is a lengthy (450 pages) fantasy book and will be great for my avid readers who have finished ALLof Orson Scott Card's Enders books by the end of 6th grade.

George has some issues, but these are quickly forgotten when, in a moment of rage, he knocks the head off a dragon statue and life quickly becomes strange. Accompanied by Edie, who can see the spirits of stautes, and an assortment of the statues ("spits", the spirits of the human statues) himself, George is regularly attacked by the "taints" (the spirits of the monster statues) of London, and has himself quite the unwilling, but quite exciting, adventure.

To best read this, have a copy of London A to Z by your side. A lot of the action occurs around the neighborhood of St. Pauls' Cathedral and The Monument, and with the directions in the book, it's easy to follow exactly where the character are going. In a way, it's too bad that pictures of the actual statues are not involved.

This is not an easy read. It's quite complex, with a lot of good versus evil that is not clear cut. (Now I really want to see a picture of the Black Friar.) Still, for fantasy readers, this is good stuff. There has got to be another book on the way, although I don't have the title right now.

After this book and Ursu's The Shadow Thieves, it was a mistake to read Buckley-Archer's Gideon the Cutpurse. The time travel aspect always appeals to me, but a whole lot of time is spent in 1753 London and environs, and is more historical than fantastic. I will recommend that my students get this from the public library, but it's part of a trilogy, and I don't think I'm going to buy it. It was good, but will be hard to get into a wide variety of students' hands. HUGE pet peeve with this one-- the binding will not hold up very well since it is a paper over boards "library binding" but also has a cut out in the front cover which will immediately fall apart.

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