Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Review: The Stoneheart Trilogy

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When young George breaks the head off of a dragon statue, he starts a war between beings he never knew existed- the Spits and the Taints, living statues who walk unseen by normal folk due to the fact that "reasonable" people can't believe in them.  
The Spits, statues of people and ideas made by artists who wished to capture something of the person or idea they came from, fight for good.  They wish to protect innocent people and preserve the peace.  
However, the Taints, that is, gargoyles and other such intimidating statues created only to frighten people, are bitter and hateful toward all Spits and mortals, and they will do anything to claim the world for their own.
George and his new friend Edie, a Glint, find themselves caught up in the middle of this ongoing war- and now the Taints are after George!  Together with The Gunner, a statue of a  World War I soldier, George and Edie set out to mend the rift they have broken and bring peace back to London-- before it's too late.

Stoneheart, the first book in the Stoneheart Trilogy, was great.  It was exciting, mysterious, and suspenseful, though at times, it was quite dark. I enjoyed it very much at first, especially the character known as The Gunner.  
However, as I continued to read the book, the dark, heavy mood did not lift.  I kept reading, thinking that it would get better, but it didn't.  At times, there were light, happy moments, like when Edie and George finally started lowering their shells and opening up to each other, or when The Gunner realized just how much he cared about the two kids.  But mostly, this story was just dark.  There was no hope at all; it was only fear, dread, and depression.
Part of this is because this is not a Christian series.  It is completely godless, and though it doesn't bash Christianity, the characters do not have the hope or love that followers of Christ do.
Part of this, also, is because of the dark nature of the series.  For example, the character Edie is a Glint, being a girl who is so sharp and intelligent that she cuts through the "layers" of London, and is able to see things which are invisible to normal people.  She also has the ability to "glint" the past by touching stone, or metal, which was present during especially terrible times throughout history.  Because stones only remember catastrophic events, Edie has been forced from childhood to glimpse things that no child should ever see- things like war, violence, sadness, sickness, and all manners of other terrible things.  This makes her hard and precocious for her age, and she feels alone, as though she is going crazy.  

By the time the second book comes, the series takes a turn for the worst, getting more and more dark as it goes along.  While it doesn't directly deal with incredibly horrible things, it is implied and suggested, leaving your mind to wonder what it could be referring to.  What could be so horrible that a young girl wouldn't even talk about it?  
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I didn't want to know.  Unfortunately, there is no break in the depressing feel through out the books, thus I have to admit to skim-reading through most of the third book.
The Stoneheart Trilogy isn't one I would re-read.  Despite the good premise, the exciting plots, and overall good ending, I have to admit that the only reason I made it through the series was because I wanted to find out what happened to The Gunner.  

If you like exciting, suspenseful, and dark books, you'll probably love this one.  As far as I saw, there wasn't anything bad content-wise, although I wouldn't recommend it for anyone younger than twelve-thirteen.  
However, if you, like me, tend to reflect what you read in your mood and thought, then I would advise you to find a different book.  There are other stories just as good, but without the depressing element.
Kudos to the author for writing the series.  The writing, if nothing else, was great.  :)

-Rayne Speryll

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