- File Size: 3052 KB
- Print Length: 348 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Working Tiger (October 31, 2016)
- Publication Date: October 31, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01M6BTTMK
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,586,730 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$15.99|
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Bullets, Blood and Stones: the journey of a child soldier: Book I in the Stones Trilogy Kindle Edition
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|Length: 348 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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|Age Level: 12 - 18|
|Grade Level: 7 - 12|
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Top customer reviews
White's real life adaptation to this fictional story pulls at your heart when you realize how very young children were pulled from their families and villages, into becoming ruthless soldiers -- or be killed if they resisted.
Her description of the characters' personal feelings and struggles to live through unbelievable circumstances is described in the vivid detail. When I thought I knew of potential twists that may occur in the story, White surprises and goes a totally different direction, leaving you wondering what just happened. Through this piece of fiction, White handles the challenging and hard-to-fathom struggles experienced by thousands of people in Uganda over a 20 year span.
I would highly recommend "Bullets, Blood and Stones" for teens and up. But if used in a classroom setting, I would highly recommend group discussion among the students so that they could get a deeper appreciation for the struggles that kids/teens their age, and their families had to endure. The book is an easy read, yet some of the content involves realities of war-related issues. It is a thriller/fantasy and provides excitement around every corner.
The civil war in Uganda is fought by children. Their general is a madman whose terror takes the form of kidnap and brainwashing--a campaign so successful he may well manage to extinguish an entire generation of Africans. How does an author make this crisis palatable to teen readers in North America? Donna White’s choice was to invest her plot with magic. It’s a quiet conjuring she delivers, a simple set of stones that, when handled at the right moment, allow a person to travel. The stones turn up when Scott, one of the two protagonists, makes an archeology trip to Uganda with his father. He unearths a skeleton while in the bush and though it is highly illegal, and he takes a set of five stones from the burial site. These stones are clearly magical in nature and of importance to the deceased’s community.
Once States-side, we learn the value of the stones. Long-time rival, Bruce, finds Scott’s jacket unattended at school. He takes the jacket and the stones inside the pockets when Scott’s things are left unattended. Bruce’s personal background is a difficult one. His parents divorced, there’s a stepmother, a new baby brother, and very little in the way of adult attention. Bruce acts out by tormenting other boys, including Scott.
The stones, now in Bruce’s possession, have a bizarre effect on him. They teleport him to Uganda, right into General Kony’s territory where he meets the young runaway, Charlie, recently a captive the LRA. Charlie had been forced to join after Kony’s soldiers burned his village. Though disoriented by his sudden arrival an ocean away from home, Bruce quickly recognizes the risks: violence, maiming, forced labor, starvation, and exposure to the elements. The boy gains great compassion for the child fighters. Only upon realizing his own vulnerabilities and the enormous need of the other children do the magic rocks permits his return home.
Bruce now has a true sense of mission -- to get back to Charlie and help him escape the LRA for good. Bruce confronts Scott about the power of the stones and the necessity of intervening on Charlie’s behalf. They agree to bury the hatchet over the theft of Scott’s jacket and magic stones if they can join forces. Though the reconciliation between these boys helped bring to a Western reader a more familiar type of peace-making, I didn’t actually find the story required it. I would have preferred reading the story from a single American boy’s point of view.
The intensity of the Ugandan plot races forward when the boys both travel back with the stones in the dual mission of saving Charlie. Scott witnesses the disfigurement of a village preacher and the execution of scores more children before he and Bruce set in motion a diversion for their overseers by which remove Charlie permanently from Kony’s camp. The interplay between soldiers and child abductees seems truly authentic, in turn both juvenile and commanding. The local vernacular was particularly absorbing.
I was a bit confused as to the direction Bruce was headed while Scott dealt with the preacher’s attack, but things work to a satisfying end when the stones end up in Charlie’s hands and he finally finds passage out of the LRA for good.
I gather that the stones will live on to lure outsiders into the Ugandan civil war to urge an end to the servitude of child soldiers. This was a solid start to a fascinating journey of Western teenagers’ inclusion in a war fought by adolescents an entire world away and a wakeup call to all of us who turn away from seemingly unresolvable violence.
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