the carnelian by william l. stuart (the gemstone chronicles, book 1)
overall rating: 3.6/5 ⭐️
genre: middle grade, fantasy
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.
*i received this book in return for an honest review.*
i don’t usually read middle grade books, but the carnelian’s unique synopsis intrigued me, so i decided to give it a try. although i did enjoy it, i’ve realized that i’m definitely not a fan of middle grade. i may or may not continue the series, but it’s not high up on my tbr.
the characters in the carnelian are all interesting, and william l. stuart develops them pretty well. i enjoyed seeing things from the different characters’ perspectives, as the book is written in a third person omniscient pov, but i think i would’ve been more engaged with a first person pov. the third person wasn’t personal enough for me, and i didn’t really feel connected to any of the characters. my biggest issue with the characters is the dialogue. the way they talk feels somewhat awkward to me, and i didn’t find the dialogue realistic at all. however, the characters’ personalities definitely are very real, especially aidan and maggie.
the character relationships are also developed very well, and i loved the family aspect. i could really see how each family member felt about the others through their thoughts, words, and actions, and it was nice to read about such a loving and close family.
the world-building could have been better, as i found myself confused a few times. however, william does a good job explaining most concepts and ideas. i definitely think celahir has some interesting parts that could be explained more thoroughly, which is what i would expect in the sequels, but the carnelian sets a good foundation for the rest of the series.
i like the way the plot starts, and i think it’s pretty unique. the story also kept me engaged for the most part, and the pacing is good. however, i feel like the plot does get a little predictable, especially near the end.
the writing style didn’t really pull me in, and i found myself distracted several times by awkwardly written paragraphs or sentences. i definitely think that the writing style is what makes this book middle grade, which is part of why it didn’t appeal to me too much. although this book is also categorized as young adult on goodreads, i wouldn’t agree, since there’s a completely different feeling to it. even so, i appreciate the simplicity of the writing because it makes the story quick and easy to read.
overall, i enjoyed the carnelian and would recommend it if you’re looking for a fun and carefree adventure!
have you read this? what did you think?