Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Book Review: William L. Stuart-The Carnelian

When Aidan and Maggie find a fairy cross while rock-hunting with their grandfather, it's just an oddity. But when they discover there is an elf imprisoned in the stone and set him free, they and their grandparents, Nana and Beebop, are attacked by Dark Elves and forced to flee to the magical world of Celahir.

In Celahir, Findecano - the elf the children freed from the fairy cross - leads them on a quest to recover gemstones stolen from the Elven Bow by the Dark Elves. Without the restoration of the gemstones to the Elven Bow, the balance between good and evil in Celahir - and the human world - could tip toward evil.

My review:
*I received a free copy of this book from the author through Shut Up and Read in exchange for an honest review*

When an ordinary family release a trapped elf from a stone, they find themselves in the middle of an Elf War and join a quest to find legendary gems of power that will win the war for the good elves. However the dark elves and dangerous creatures seek to stop the quest at any cost.

The thing I really liked about this book is that grandparents get a starring role as adventure heroes, which makes a nice change. I liked the idea of the quest for the gemstones with the elf war and dangerous creatures chasing the group. I also liked Nana and Beebop as the adventure couple despite her dodgy back, and the cast of characters were interesting especially Keeper, who I would want to see more of. He was intriguing and interesting. I liked the story of the Kelpie as well. I would have liked to have seen the dangerous confrontations developed a bit more instead of being quckly solved or escaped from. Overall it was an entertaining magical adventure story that will appeal to adults and the older YA.

There were, however, niggles that caused this to be 3 star rather than a higher mark. The first thing I would comment on are the frequent and often complicated info dumps, some of which younger readers might not understand. It is also a bit repetitive. We get the action happening through the eyes of characters and a few pages later, those characters tell the others what happened pretty much word for word. That gets pretty boring and for me it isn't really necessary. We also get told about every meal they have and every bedtime routine, even though it is virtually the same every time. There is a lot of description in the book which also wasn't necessary. By this I mean that we got a full description of every room in Beebop's house, his vehicles, his rock hunting equipment and how he uses it, his tools and how he uses them to make his gems-and then most of the book is spent in another realm! We didn't really need so much detail of a place we see very little of. I also felt that every escape from the bad guys was just too easy and convenient. Every time they were trapped, a family member instantly developed a new skill, thought or spell to get them out of it with minimum effort. It was just a bit too easy for my liking.

The children annoyed me a bit with their immaturity. I expected Maggie to break the rules and not do what she was told, but Aidan was worse. He was the most immature 14 year old I've read about! He never does what he is told and never seems to think of the consequences of his actions ie levitating the spit, freeing the elf etc. I found him pretty annoying but that is a personal thing. The entire family fail to follow advice for their safety ie don't use magic or they'll track us and the next thing Maggie and Nana are out-Yodaing each other in the forest! Still, I don't blame the author for the faults of the characters though, as he is doing that to create more dangerous situations for the reader to enjoy.

It was still a good read and if the opportunity arose, I'd probably read the rest of the series. If you like magical adventure stories, this one might interest you. No sexual content or bad language.

star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png


  1. I do like the idea of the grandparents being main characters and actually participating in the adventure; as a reader in my middle years, I get a little irked that people my age don't often get to go on fantasy adventures. (Well, with the exception of Bilbo.) I'll have to give this one some thought.

    1. Another good one is Max and the Gatekeeper by James Todd Cochrane. Grandpa Joe is great!