Review: THE STONE OF DESTINY / by Jim Ware

The Stone of Destiny / by Jim Ware

David C. Cook (March 1, 2011), ISBN 1434764648

MS Grades 5-9 Rating: 4

The Stone of Destiny is Jim Ware’s first novel for young adults. It draws on Celtic lore, and his admiration for George Macdonald, C. S. Lewis, and Tolkien.

In The Stone of Destiny, Morgan believes if he completes his father’s alchemy experiments, he can harness the healing powers in the legendary Philosopher’s Stone to cure his mother. Morgan and his best friend Eny hear about another mysterious stone (the Stone of Destiny), possibly hidden in their town. He thinks they could be one and the same. But the children are not the only ones looking for it, nor is it safe to be looking for it. A church custodian and a shop owner are not whom they seem to be. One is an ally, the other an enemy; will they be able to tell the difference?

Morgan’s obsession to heal his mother causes him to betray a friend. Readers may relate to Morgan’s desperation in turning to magic instead of God to heal his mother. His mother trusts God will take care of them. She encourages her son to turn away from his alchemy experiments, but will he listen in time?

Ware’s book, more plot-driven than character-driven, starts off slowly but builds to its surprising conclusion. The 3-1/2 pages of script in the prologue, meant to represent his father’s journal, is hard to read and probably will be skipped by most readers, yet it sets the stage.

A pronunciation guide, glossary, and maps are included. The author makes it clear (in an interview in the back of the book) that the experiments mentioned are not “factually true” but are based on documented methods by medieval alchemists.

Recommended for public and school libraries.

–Reprinted with permission, Christian Library Journal, June 2012.

Disclaimer: Book reviews are my opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.

Carol R. Gehringer

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