The Gemstone Chronicles: The Carnelian
(We received this book for free from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.)
Book's Author: William L. Stewart
Genre: MG Fantasy/Adventure
Rating: Four Paws
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.
If I were twelve years old, I would have eaten this book in a day--maybe two because of school. Even though I am no longer twelve, the book was still engaging, especially with the perspective of Nana and Beebop, the older characters in the story. Let me just say that Nana and Beebop are awesome and their relationship is adorable; I absolutely loved them. The siblings, too, Aidan and Maggie, are cute and entertaining.
The basic premise of the story is that these two kids, Aidan and Maggie, have released an elf, Findecano, from a rock prison that he was trapped in nearly two hundred years ago when the Drow, or dark elves, stole the gemstones that made the Light Elves realm run properly. In the process of releasing him, they are sucked into his world and now have to help him get these gemstones back.
While the two kids are ready to help their new Elven friend and his companions, Nana and Beebop simply want to return home. The perspective of the children makes the story easy to follow and entertaining in an innocent kind of way, void of the tainting of love in any other sense but familial.
The elven stories are also well developed, and the history and myth from the Celtic background is definitely present. However, while the background is thoroughly described, many of the characters and settings are not, which makes it hard to form mental pictures of the people and places and make that mental picture in my head that I often want to have while reading.
Another thing that wasn't major but definitely stood out to me was that there was a lot of repetition in what was being described and said. As in, something would happen and then one of the characters would then say was just happened. While the idea behind that repetition was somewhat gathered, it could have stood to be reduced or rephrased in some other way than it was. In that same sense of repetition, there was a lot of downtime in the book that housed a lot of the same activities, such as mention of every time the characters ate or slept.
Overall, though, the book was well written with no loopholes that I noticed. The background of every character was given, as well as an air of mystery surrounding the humans and their control over the gemstones. Aidan's confidence in his abilities despite his limited use over them makes him slightly unpredictable which helps create a pleasant air of uncertainty. Maggie is the baby of the group, and I definitely felt for her throughout the story, always afraid something might happen to her. The character development was very strong and consistent and it was easy to connect and feel like the characters were friends.
I definitely recommend this book, but perhaps to kids between the ages of ten and fourteen primarily. Not to say it isn't enjoyable for other ages, but as those ages are the target audience, it's safe to say it will be most enjoyable for them. And kids could always stand for a good book. The Carnelian is definitely one of them.