The Gemstone Chronicles Book One: The Carnelian Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
The book combines all the elements specific to the genre in an innovative way. The author avoids copying tried-and-tested schemes and adds a detail I've never encountered before - gemstones. His expertise in that field can't be denied and the symbolism I spotted adds another interesting layer to the story.
I loved the narrative that seemed very soft to me and the pacing. The elements that resembled Narnia a little bit made me travel back in time when I got my first fantasy novel and felt like reading more about imaginary worlds.
I'd recommend this book to any reader seeking entertainment and cleverly placed life lessons that we tend to forget about.
The main characters are Beebop and Nana (grandparents) and their grandchildren Aidan and Maggie. The setting is the mountain region of northern Georgia where Beebop and Nana have retired to their dream home and Beebop takes his vacationing grandchildren “rock hounding” in the mineral-rich area. They find a special rock where an elf has been magically imprisoned for 200 years, and thus begins the adventure.
True to genre, this tale contains elves, trolls, evil drow, and lots of adventure. Like in all fantasy tales, there is a quest in which a magic artifact must be found, and the prerequisite theme of struggle between good and evil is also present. I liked the connection made to Celtic mythology and Irish legend. The story is told in simple language which will make it easy for even younger children to enjoy.
Something I would have changed is the re-telling of things that happen each time a character gets separated from the group and returns. This could be handled with a simple "Beebop explained how he escaped from such and such, and then they sat down to eat." I also felt that the relationship between the grandparents and the kids was too idealized, making the story too sugary for older kids who are rather sophisticated these days and require a little more "reality" in their literature.
In summary, I liked the story very much and highly recommend it. I am looking forward to reading the next installment.
Based on Celtic lore, THE CARNELIAN follows a close-knit family, grandparents Nana and Beebop and grandchildren Aidan and Maggie, as their ordinary rock-hunting expedition takes an amazing and eerie turn, revealing a hidden, magical world. When the children free the gallant elf Findecano from his enchanted rock prison, the family resolves to join him in his quest to restore Light and Good to his world, Celahir. The theft of four gemstones from a sacred Elven Bow has allowed Dark forces to gather and gain power over the magical land, and it is up to Findecano and his four human friends to set things right.
Each of the books in the series involves a quest to retrieve one of the powerful gemstones from a magical and fearsome creature. THE CARNELIAN is guarded by a terrifying kelpie, a Celtic water beast able to shift from its own, naturally gruesome form to that of a human or horse. (Some claim the Loch Ness Monster is a kelpie.) The family, armed only with their power-channeling birthstones, must somehow not only survive the kelpie's attacks, but outwit and control it long enough to retrieve the carnelian. It seems an impossible task, and might very well be a deadly one!
I very much enjoyed the twists and turns in the story, as well as the warm, loving, and often humorous relationship of the children and their devoted grandparents. The children are resourceful and courageous, but they behave like real children might in such fantastical circumstances. Aidan can be cocky and headstrong, and tenderhearted Maggie's very innocence sometimes leads her into dangerous situations.
There are some sections in the story that drag a bit due to too much exposition or too much recap of what we've already read, but it's a minor flaw. There is quite enough action and suspense to keep things moving along. Older children who enjoy series such as Harry Potter, Narnia, Charlie Bones, Nanny McPhee, and so on will enjoy THE GEMSTONE CHRONICLES, and their parents will, too!
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