Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone
Written by: Dora Machado
Narrated by: Melissa Reizian Frank
Length: 16 hrs and 36 mins
Release Date: 09-13-13
Publisher: Mermaid Publishing, LLC
Who is the author
Dora Machado, the author of the Stonewiser trilogy is relatively new to the fantasy scene, at least that’s what I gathered from looking her up online. At the time of posting this review she has written four fantasy novels which seem to be well received from the readers. The first book in the Stonewiser trilogy, Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone is the one I read and I’ll certainly be grabbing the next one as soon as possible. It’s really good. No wonder it won the 2009 Benjamin Franklin award for best debut novel.
What does stonewiser mean
The title sounds a little mysterious because the word stonewiser is fictional and you don’t know what to expect until you start reading. I’m usually the type of person who would do minimal or no research regarding a book I’m about to read, as I don’t want to see any spoilers or get my judgment of it’s quality swayed. The problem is that if you do that with authors new to you it takes awhile to get used to their style and get a feel of what the book is going to be about. Dora Machado throws you straight into the action from the first chapter. You immediately learn that stonewisers are gifted people that can imprint stones with information and read it. You also learn that there are some kinds of stones that are not supposed to be wised because The Guild forbids it. That’s good writing right there – you get the essentials right away but you want to know more, right now! 🙂
What’s the premise of the story
The world of Stonewiser has endured a cataclysmic event that has divided people into two castes. Only the stories imprinted in the stones tell the truth about the Goodlands’ history. Or so it seems. In a world where stone truth is the only truth above anyone’s word and stonewisers the only ones capable of communicating it to the people, a gifted stonewiser named Sariah finds out that lies have been passed as truth for generations. This is a discovery that threatens her life and will shake the foundations of her whole world.
What I liked
The writing. It’s well crafted, easy to follow and engaging. While the basic skeleton of the story isn’t groundbreaking (a rebellious heroine that kicks ass and changes the world) it has fresh and intriguing bits. I appreciated the occasional dark and gritty scene that surprises you with it’s violence without becoming uncomfortable to read. The characters were vivid and interesting and here’s where the narrator should also get a portion of the credit. Melissa Reizian Frank does an excellent job. I also appreciated that the audiobook didn’t end with a cliffhanger and the ending provided enough closure to even look at The Heart of the Stone as a stand-alone novel. That doesn’t happen a lot these days, especially with fantasy novels.
What I didn’t like
This may seem a little nit-picky but it bothered me noticeably and it’s something I think an editor should have noticed. The use of ‘Meliahs, help/save us’ as an exclamation (Meliahs is the goddess of the sacred stones) was overdone and appeared too often in scenes where the characters were distressed in some way.
If you’re looking for a fresh and well written fantasy audiobook, Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone is an excellent pick. I hope it gets as much of a following and readers as it deserves.