The Isle of Blood and Stone
(Isle of Blood and Stone #1)
By Makiia Lucier
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Fantasy
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.
I am just going to start by stating that I really loved this book. I often try to find an equal balance of pros and cons to present in my reviews. I want readers to walk away with enough to make a sound decision. I am not in the habit of pushing my favorites simply because. However, I find it hard to compile a true list of anything that did not work for me in The Isle of Blood and Stone.
Years ago two young princes and Lord Antoni (a royal mapmaker) disappeared without a trace leaving heartache and deceit in the aftermath. Presumed dead, life has moved on until young mapmaker Elias (Lord Antoni’s surviving son) is presented with two maps that appear to have been created by the Royal Navigator Antoni and bearing a riddle. Is it possible that his father drew the maps and the answers lie within? Now with the help of del Mar’s King who lost his two brothers that fateful day and his closest ally Mercedes, Elias will embark on an adventure that could forever alter life as they have come to know it.
What I appreciated..
- Maps! I love them and find nothing more exciting than discovering them within a book. Add a story that revolves around them and consider my interest piqued.
- Lucier offers a slow and steady character development that progresses beautifully throughout the course of the story relying on revelations and answers. I enjoyed each for various reasons.
- I found it refreshing to read from a male protagonist’s point of view. Isle of Blood and Stone reminded me that I need to do this more often.
- Internal conflicts are a favorite of mine and here we are exposed to them through Elias’ understanding of potential ramifications of uncovering the truth.
- A slow-burn love story contained within that did not overshadow the main plot.
- Descriptions of the local life and social structure. I enjoyed the vivid portrayal of life inside and outside of the castle ranging from training to street vendors, cases of leprosy and even the sea serpents that posed a threat to men on ships.
- A satisfying conclusion that still allows for further story expansions.
Challenges some may encounter..
- This is a leisurely paced story. While in my case, I favored the slower approach, I know some will find it challenging.
- The world building was limited to life around the castle at times. But I should mention, I felt this was managed well and expect to see the setting expanded in the sequel.
The Isle of Blood and Stone is a well-balanced story that is truly hard to classify as YA. It will easily appeal to a broad audience. It embodies all that I have come to love in a good story; fantasy, adventure, mystery and a hint of romance while forgoing unnecessary frivolities. Simply put, a fun read that is difficult to put down.
*I would like to thank the publisher for this advanced copy. The above review is my own, unbiased and honest opinion.
Serves well with a nice herbal hibiscus blend and spoonful of honey.
*Disclosure: I use affiliate links and may earn a small commission for purchases made through them. Click here for details.
About The Author
Makiia Lucier has a BA in journalism from the University of Oregon and a master’s in library and information science from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, where she studied literature for children. Visit her at makiialucier.com.