by Charlie Fletcher
The first chapter of this book really grabbed me. The rest of it held me in its
ruthless grip. And now I eagerly look forward to the rest of the "Stoneheart
Trilogy," of which this is the first book.
It begins with a school trip to a London museum, and a lonely, frustrated
boy named George. George is having trouble fitting in. He misses his Dad
(who is dead). He doesn't see much of his mother either (she's an actress).
An encounter with a bullying classmate and a heavy-handed teacher pushes
George into a rebellious mood, and he takes it out on a stone dragon's head
carved on the front of the museum. The next thing he knows, George is
running for his life, chased by gargoyles, dragons, salamanders, and other
images graven in the form of beasts and monsters.
All this could be confusing, but if he wants to survive George mustn't dwell on
his confusion. For he has fallen into another London, a world below or
beside the world most of us see. In this under-London, statues can walk,
talk, and even kill. The good ones, shaped like people, are called spits,
and they have something akin to a human soul. The bad ones, called taints,
have nothing inside but a ravenous hunger. The taints of London are after
George's blood, and he has only a night and a day to atone for the crime
that started it all.
George is joined by a heroic statue of an army gunner, and a girl named Edie
who has her own powers and problems. No one else can see the statues moving,
stalking, and fighting over George. As he searches for answers to what he
must do to end his danger, George deals with creatures that straddle the
line between spit and taint, between good and evil - and an enemy of flesh
and blood who would willingly sacrifice George's chances of survival in
order to free himself from a curse.
Besides being a thrilling adventure full of magic, menace, mystery, and non-stop,
high-speed action, this novel abounds in something too many others lack:
novelty. If sheer excitement doesn't excite you, perhaps originality does.
This book brings it, in a way that instantly seized and constantly held my
attention. I read many books every year, but only a few of them take me to
places I have never seen before - and make me eager to visit them again. If
you want to visit that London, this book is your ticket. If you want a
return trip, you'll have to wait for Book Two of the trilogy, titled
Recommended Age: 12+
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