05 November 2019

Today's Read: Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier

review of Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia LucierImagine that when you were just an infant, your father, the royal mapmaker, disappeared on the same day that two young princes of your island kingdom were ambushed by an enemy army and never seen again. Now, almost two decades later, you discover secret maps and a related riddle that may shed light on what happened on that horrible day. Could your father and the princes still be alive?

The book opens innocently enough:

The outing had been planned on a whim; an afternoon lesson up in the hills, away from the smoke and stink of the city. Antoni hauled himself over the ledge and caught his breath—Saint Mary, he had grown soft—then reached down and instructed the child below to hold fast. When Bartolome's small hand grasped his, Antoni swung him up onto the rocks by side.

Prince Bartolome landed on his knees with an Oof before scrambling to his feet. He was seven, tall for his age, dark hair pulled back in a queue. The boy looked around with an expectant air, but as he surveyed the area—a flat hilltop covered entirely in black rock, barren of even a single bush or shrub—his anticipation quickly turned to bewilderment.
Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier (HMH, 2018, p. 1 [Prologue])

Quick Facts
  • Setting: a fictional island kingdom with a Renaissance Mediterranean feel
  • Circumstances: Although Elias's father disappeared years earlier, the son has followed in his father's footsteps both in the trade of map making and in befriending the royal family. When he and his friend the young new king, Ulises, discover some mysterious maps that offer clues to who their true enemy is, they set out, along with Ulises's cousin Mercedes, to discover what really happened to the princes and to Elias's father. Their quest takes them on a journey over the seas and to distant lands and back home again. Along the way they discover some answers, find more puzzles, outwit enemies, fight beasts, and solve mysteries.
  • Genre & themes: action adventure with hints of fantasy and mystery; themes of friendship, secrets, betrayals, family, loyalty, and maybe even a little romance; written for a teen audience
  • Early thoughts: From the first scenes, I was impressed with Lucier's world-building skills and how quickly I connected with the characters and their universe. I'm only about a quarter of the way in, but I'm invested in the trio's fate. Both the main characters and the secondary players are fully developed with believable personalities and motivations. Oh, and I love books that include maps, and Isle of Blood and Stone doesn't disappoint.
  • Other things to know: The book is the first in a duology and won starred reviews and much praise. I can see why. The second book came out in August, so no waiting to see what happens! You can find a copy of the map and a discussion guide at the author's website.
  • Acknowledgments: Thanks to the publisher for the review copy of Isle of Blood and Stone.


rhapsodyinbooks 11/5/19, 6:49 AM  

This sounds really good and I love that the end of the duology is already out! Thanks for the heads up!

JoAnn 11/5/19, 7:26 AM  

Haven't heard about this one... sounds like it could be a good read!

Catherine @ Book Club Librarian 11/5/19, 9:46 AM  

This book is new to me. The plot sounds promising.

sherry fundin 11/5/19, 10:02 AM  

i see the cover and pause...dragons...love 'em. this does sound like one for me and i'm glad you put a stamp of approval on it
sherry @ fundinmental

Vicki 11/5/19, 3:55 PM  

Not a genre I read but I hope you enjoy it.

Girl Who Reads 11/5/19, 5:55 PM  

I don't read much fantasy, but this one sounds really good. I might have to check it out. Thanks for sharing.

(Diane) bookchickdi 11/10/19, 5:37 PM  

I think my niece woudl enjoy this one.

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