Friday, September 6, 2019

"The Crescent Stone" by Matt Mikalatos

About this book:

  “A girl with a deadly lung disease . . .
  A boy with a tragic past . . .
  A land where the sun never sets but darkness still creeps in . . .
  Madeline Oliver has never wanted for anything, but now she would give anything just to breathe. Jason Wu skates through life on jokes, but when a tragedy leaves him guilt-stricken, he promises to tell only the truth, no matter the price. When a mysterious stranger name Hanali appears to Madeline and offers to heal her in exchange for one year of service to his people, Madeline and Jason are swept into a strange land where they don’t know the rules and where their decisions carry consequences that reach farther than they could ever guess.”

Series: Book #1 in “The Sunlit Lands” series.

Spiritual Content- Parts of the history of the Sunlit Lands could come across as an allegory for the Bible and creation (The Majestic One being God, and Ele and Nala being Adam and Eve); Mentions of a priest; A few mentions of a blessed place & blessings; A couple mentions of missionary schools; A mention of eating something when God intended; A mention of going with God; A mention of Godspeed; A mention of a Christian church that helped Muslims in a refugee status; A mention of only being allowed to be Christian and not any other religion;
             *Note: Magic is heavily used in this book’s world; Mentions of curses; A couple mentions of messiahs or saviors for the Sunlit Lands; A couple mentions of demons; A mention of the Stone Age.

Negative Content- Minor cussing including: a ‘shut up’, two ‘stupid’s, two ‘gah’s, three forms of ‘dumb’s, and four forms of ‘idiot’; A couple fantasy curses are said (“starless night”); Some sarcasm & eye rolling; Jason believes his parents hate him; Jason’s sister died in a tragic car accident & he found her near death (barely-above-not-detailed); Lots of fighting, shooting weapons towards the enemy, harming them, & seeing others injured and near death (semi-detailed); Lots of very creepy and scary creatures, fighting them, seeing them injured/dead, & hearing their violent plans/threats (semi-detailed); Killing (human-like creatures and other creatures) & see them kill/eat other creatures (semi-detailed); Pain, injuries, & blood/bleeding (up to semi-detailed); Many mentions of wars, fighting, & weapons; Many mentions of creepy and scary creatures, fighting them, & hearing their violent plans/threats (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of killing & injuring others (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of possible murder/assassination attempts & break-in; Mentions of venomous plants & injuries; Mentions of seeing someone pass out & cough up blood; Mentions of blood & needles; Mentions of fires; Mentions of being whipped & scars; Mentions of revenge; Mentions of hatred; Mentions of thieves, stealing, & stolen items; Mentions of drugs, selling them, & dealers; Mentions of prisons/jails, arrests, & inmates; Mentions of lies, lying, & liars; Mentions of tattoos; Mentions of toilets, body waste, & nasty smells; A few mentions of beheadings; A few mentions of slavery; A few mentions of gossip & rumors; A couple mentions of the Holocaust; A couple mentions of a smell like something died; A couple mentions of jealousy; A couple mentions of alcohol & drunks; A mention of a massacre; A mention of thinking someone committed suicide; A mention of cruel and abusive parents; A mention of a man who killed a man-eating tiger;
             *Note: Mentions of books & fictional places (including Harry Potter); A couple mentions of car brands; A couple mentions of zombies; A mention of a parent possibly not liking his daughter’s boyfriend because he’s black (not confirmed or denied).  

Sexual Content- A cheek kiss; Touches & Embraces; Wanting to touch & embrace; Crushes & Blushes; Noticing; Mentions of dating, dates, boyfriends, exes, & break-ups; A few mentions of a guy’s pregnant girlfriend; A couple mentions of kisses; A couple mentions of flirting; A tiny bit of love, possibly falling in love, & the emotions.

-Madeline Oliver, age 17
- Jason Wu, age 17
                                P.O.V. switches between them
                                                        411 pages

Pre Teens-

New Teens-

Early High School Teens-

Older High School Teens-

My personal Rating-

Well. That was interesting.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
It’s no secret at all that I’m not a fantasy person. My head will honestly start to hurt as soon as I start a book in the large majority of that genre.
“So, why, Lindsey would you try to read this fantasy book?” is what I’m sure you are wondering, because I had my concerns:
a. fantasy.
b. fantasy. (It should count for two reasons.)
c. a male author writing in a teen girl’s POV. (This typically never goes well. I can only think of one other series where it went well, and his daughter helped with it.)
So, yes, concerns. How did it all go, though?
Overall, decent.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ 

~ Let’s first mention that there is a lot of diversity in this book. And I’ll be honest, sometimes it felt like certain characters were diverse for the sake of the book just being diverse. But I’ll look on the positive that there is another book with diverse characters in the Christian Fiction market. Something we are quite lacking. 

~ Next, my concern about the male author writing a teen girl’s POV. I was truly bracing for impact when I started the opening chapter. (I would like to note that I truly enjoyed all the parts before the fantasy elements entered into the plot. It could have just stayed that way and I would have been just A-Okay.) I’ve read books by dads of girls before that still don’t come across right (kind of like you can hear the dad hat go on the author instead of the writing hat, if that makes any sense). This book, though, did very well. No emotional breakdowns, no hormones mentioned. Madeline was a good character (even if hinted to be the “chosen one” trope) and I give major props to the author. 

~ This next point is part-good and part-wish-it-was-better: The battle scenes and ethics surrounding killing. Without Jason’s humor (this is the part-good), a lot of the book can be depressing at times (the part-wish-it-was-better). Jason’s wit made me laugh at many points and I was grateful for that because the rest of the book (especially towards the end) made me feel conflicted and sad inside for different characters and topics.  

~ Continuing on with the battles and fighting: there were many parts that were a bit much for me. No where near the fight scenes and deaths like the “Remnants” series by Lisa T. Bergen reviewed a while back, but still enough details that I wasn’t happy with it. Sensitive readers might need to skip over those parts or not pick up the book at all. 

~ A slightly negative thing: Some things (like the time difference between the Sunlit Lands and Earth) were brushed to the side that while I would have preferred a clear answer about, the characters and myself as well just chalk it up to magic/fantasy. 

~ A positive thing: Yay for no love triangles! I think most who read the description of this book might be worried about such a plot point, but no! There is not a love triangle and that’s something I truly appreciate. 

~ * ~ * ~ * ~
So? Final verdict? It wasn’t bad. I say that as someone who is definitely not a fantasy fan. It’s probably one of the better books of that genre I’ve read. I might try to finish out the series, but I will say it’s not at the top of my list.

See y’all on Friday with a new review!

*BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.

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