Again, I'm super stoked for another chance to tell you about a brilliant book right before its release.... Many thanks again to the The Fantastic Flying Book Club for including me on the blog tour! This novel is a YA fantasy with undertones of mystery, a ‘treasure hunt’ of sorts, and holds themes of friendship, family, and the quest for truth. It’s set against a backdrop of an island community where sea serpents swim in the waters, but seafare is a staple on the plate, and a royal family lost family members to a tragedy many years ago with no answers...until perhaps today.
MAKIIA LUCIER, Author of Isle of Blood & Stone
Makiia is the author of historical fiction and historical fantasy for young adults. She grew up on the Pacific Island of Guam (not too far from the equator), and has degrees in journalism and library science from the University of Oregon and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Her debut novel, A Death-Struck Year, was called a "powerful and disturbing reading experience" by Publishers Weekly. It was a finalist for Germany's top book prize for children, the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, as well as Japan's Sakura Medal, and was named an ABC Best Books for Children Selection by the American Booksellers Association.
Her second novel, Isle of Blood and Stone, has a release date of 4/10/18.
You can find her and all her links at makiialucier.com
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Isle of Blood and Stone
by Makiia Lucier
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 10, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
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.
When I read ‘Blood & Stone’ I felt like I was drawn onto an Mediterranean island and suddenly in the era of the great Leonardo da Vinci, when maps and exploration were paramount, and here, sea-dwelling creatures such as serpents are both feared as well as revered. There is such great imagery that is colorful and vivid; old-fashioned customs are used, such as leeches to suck out toxins from the blood (I love stuff like that), and tonics from plants are used to cure ills, and plant dyes are described in great detail, for that is how color is gained for pigment used for the paint on maps.
And maps, and the study of cartography, are central to this novel, and may be foreign to so many in this day and age, when so many people may not even have ever handled an actual paper map. Lord Elias is the royal mapmaker and longtime friend of the newly crowned King Ulises, and he is a a natural explorer, adventurer, and he wants to solve the long-time mystery and disappearance of of Ulise's two brothers. Two maps hold the clues and together with Ulises and Mercedes (Ulise's beautiful cousin, and his eventual love interest; what would the story be without that?); the three of them embark on a precarious adventure to uncover secrets about what happened many years ago with the boys' disappearance.
Although the story seemed a little slow to unfold, the characters gradually grew on me; after reading many main female characters in books recently, I really enjoyed reading a young male character; it's also a book with little violence, no use of bad language (suitable for younger readers), focus on story, with no obvious plot holes, and a new setting for a 'royal family' fantasy. I also very much enjoyed the look at the drawing up of maps and cartography, and the use of compasses; author Makiia Luciier evidently researched this extensively, and I have seen on her Twitter feed a great many interesting old maps!
I'd love to have seen more about the connection to the sea and more of the sea serpents; the community on the sea derives its character from the creatures and nature of the sea, so we see that in the designs, food, and colors around the people.
Overall, this is a lovely read, with a mystery that pulls you in, with main characters that are all likeable, in a beautiful setting at least I can see myself visiting (reminded me a bit of Cyprus?). If you prefer your YA fantasy without the blood and gore as in many books of late, this is the one for you. Luciier is natural storyteller and has conjured a beautiful novel on a magical Isle that you will want to visit.
PS. Another beautiful book cover.
ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!
Get your chance to win ONE COPY of 'ISLE OF BLOOD & STONE' by entering through the link below! (US Only)
Starts: 4/4 Ends: 4/19
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You can find the full blog tour schedule at this link: FULL 'ISLE OF BLOOD & STONE' BLOG TOUR
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