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Gabriel Stone And The Divinity Of Valta (2013)

by Shannon Duffy(Favorite Author)
4.15 of 5 Votes: 2
0985029471 (ISBN13: 9780985029470)
Gabriel Stone
review 1: This is a young teen adventure, full of action, but I found it highly derivative. It is also poor on some realities such as what to do with a person who has been rescued from a frozen river. (Sit and talk to them, we're told. Don't hurry home or worry about hypothermia.)Gabriel's mother left - or vanished - a year ago, and while hiking with his friends he find a strange crystal that emits shimmering light. Risking an ice-topped river to fetch it, and getting very wet, he realises that this is the place where his mother was last seen. He shows the crystal to his science teacher next day, but it appears to be ordinary. Through a magnifying glass however, Gabriel thinks he sees a white tiger inside....Teen-speak is overused, with even the third-person narrative saying 'Cedric... more would totally tease them for it.' Come on, kids don't all say 'like totally bombed' in every sentence do they? Pals Piper and Brent come in on a science project and Cedric, who dislikes them, follows secretly but the four kids and dog Zigzag fall into the river and through a portal to another world. The countryside looks unfamiliar, it's summer and a strange creature is ambling around - quite a large one.Making for shelter, having lost Cedric (like Narnia), the three friends encounter a talking monkey (which talks like Yoda), poisonous berries and savage gruocks (which look like Wargs). Zigzag gets bitten while saving the kids, and next day she starts turning strange (as in I Am Legend) and bites Piper. Valta is a land under threat and the friends are warned to get home. But a pit trap delivers them to the Empress, guarded by the huge white tiger. She says that the crystal is a divinity stone, and Gabriel must find a second one for her (like Galadriel, she tells him to be brave, keep the stone secret and she will come when he needs her). Gabriel's wearing of the crystal on a chain under his shirt and everyone's trying to steal it... oh come on.I did find many elements derivative, and the monkey talk was annoying. If something has learned to speak English (no language barrier) why can't it speak properly? The swift access to the Empress is a feature of childish fantasies - in mature tales, the ruler is generally accessed after waiting rooms, functionaries, appointments and delays. Children unequipped to survive a day's hiking are a strange choice for a dangerous quest, but Gabriel's own quest is of course the search for his mother. And then there's the reappeared Cedric... and evil shapeshifters... and the gruocks come out each night.... I place this at the lower age group of the young adult spectrum, but there is action and some likeable characters to keep readers interested.
review 2: This is an imaginative fantasy story for kids. Gabriel is 12 years old. His mother disappeared a year ago. After finding an unusual crystal, Gabriel and his friends are drawn into another world where an evil man is trying to take control and the world is dying and monsters roam at night. Gabriel is the only one who can save this world. He must be brave to do so. I think kids will like this imaginative book. less
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A truly magical and entertaining read! I loved every second of it!
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This is a 4.5. A fun read.
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