Another Thursday and another review from me, again something a little different, although The Isle of Blood and Stone is a Fantasy book it lacks the usually magic I tend to choose. However, what it lacks in magic it really makes up for in mystery and wonderful characters.
I found that I just couldn’t put The Isle of Blood and Stone down, it was a rich and intriguing tale set in a world which I can’t wait to revisit in the second book of the series! I have written a spoiler free review below as I know that it is not going to be published until the 10th April 2018.
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Title: The Isle of Blood and Stone
Author: Makiia Lucier
Blurb: Ulises asked, “How can I look at these maps, see this riddle, and do nothing? They are my brothers.”
Elias reached across the table and flicked aside two shells with a fingertip. The map curled into itself. “It’s bound to be a goose chase. You know that?”
“Or a treasure hunt,” Ulises countered, “and you’ve always been good at those.”
Nineteen-year-old Elias is a royal explorer, a skilled mapmaker, and the new king of del Mar’s oldest friend. Soon he will embark on the adventure of a lifetime, an expedition past the Strait of Cain and into uncharted waters. Nothing stands in his way…until a long-ago tragedy creeps back into the light, threatening all he holds dear.
The people of St. John del Mar have never recovered from the loss of their boy princes, kidnapped eighteen years ago, both presumed dead. But when two maps surface, each bearing the same hidden riddle, troubling questions arise. What really happened to the young heirs? And why do the maps appear to be drawn by Lord Antoni, Elias’s father, who vanished on that same fateful day? With the king’s beautiful cousin by his side-whether he wants her there or not-Elias will race to solve the riddle of the princes. He will have to use his wits and guard his back. Because some truths are better left buried…and an unknown enemy stalks his every turn.
Categories: Fantasy, YA
Rating: 4.5 stars (rounded up on Goodreads etc to 5 stars)
Publication Date: 10th April 2018
Review: I discovered this book online last month and I read the blurb and just knew I wanted to read this book! I started reading it one evening and I just didn’t want to stop, it instantly captured my attention. It was fantastic from the first page. Though I am a little sad that I have finished the book already. However, the ending of the book left some wonderful possibilities open and I have a feeling that the next book is going to be amazing as well.
The Isle of Blood and Stone doesn’t have any magic in it, which makes it an unusual read for me, however, what it lacks in magic it really makes up for with well written characters, incredible world-building and a good old fashioned mystery. I was left guessing right up until the big reveal – though you will get no spoilers from me. I found the suspense really helped pull the pace of the book along without making me want to read so fast that I skipped over descriptions.
Talking of descriptions; the world-building in The Isle of Blood and Stone is incredible, Lucier creates a vivid world with a strong focus on sailing and exploration, which I found really interesting. Everything in the kingdom of St John del Mar is focused around the sea from their laws to their food, even their currency, with silver shells and gold squids!
The world created in the book is so vivid, and I loved that there were so many unique experiences we could enjoy with the protagonist Elias, from cockfighting to a trip to the Barber-Surgeon. I loved the main three characters, Elias the explorer, Ulises the king of St John del Mar and Mercedes the king’s cousin, who is a strong and very independent female character, it’s always nice to read about one of those! They were all so different and all so well written. I enjoyed reading the banter between the three of them. The friendship between these three character was lovely to read. At the start of the book you could feel that the dynamic had recently changed. Ulises had recently become king at the start of the book, and as a result everything was off kilter, and yet their friendship and loyalty to each other held them together, and only grew stronger throughout the book.
Besides the main trio I have to say that Reyna, a girl of nine, was a character that really stood out in The Isle of Blood Stone – I love the way she was written. It was nice to have two strong female characters in a book, characters that were changing the rules instead of living by them!
The main thread of the plot is a mystery to be solved which starts off with a riddle on a map, and I have to admit from the very beginning I was hooked. I needed to know the answer, and for me when the answer came it was not one I expected at all! I also really enjoyed the fact that the mystery was not the only thing drawing the book along, we still had time for rich and fabulous descriptions, we still got to meet a wide range of vivid and unique characters.
I really enjoyed The Isle of Blood and Stone, and I would definitely recommend it to any fantasy fans. I have already convinced my husband that he needs to read it once he has finished with his current re-read of Robin Hobb’s books.
The Isle of Blood and Stone is due for publication on the 10th April 2018 (ebook) and the 13th May 2018 (hardcover) and you can pre-order both from various places, including Amazon.
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I received an eARC of The Isle of Blood and Stone free via NetGalley in return for an honest review.