The Gemstone Chronicles Book One: The Carnelian Kindle Edition
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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!
Something I had wished could have been handled differently all through this story was when a new character appeared and needed to be filled in on all that had happened so far in the story, all of the action is told to the new character in conversation and the reader must read through this again. Also, when one in the group is missing and then returns, all of the action is again related in conversation to that character. It slowed the flow of the reading. It would have been enough to say in one comment or sentence that someone had updated the character to all that had happened and then the story action moves on from there.
The characters are believable as humans. I found the elves too human. But something I also saw was that what is happening to the elves and their lives and world in this story strongly parallels what is happening on earth at this time. I don’t know if it is intentional but it is there in an underlying current; not good or bad as far as the book is concerned, but most curious.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Loved the thought of finding the unusual stone and freeing an elf! So exciting.Read more
If I were twelve years old, I would have eaten this book in a day--maybe...Read more
While rock hunting with their grandpa, Aidan and Maggie discover an odd fairy cross stone.Read more