Title: The Sound of the Stones
Author: Beth Hammond
Publisher: eLectio Publishing
Release Date: September 2015
Length: 286 pages
Genre: YA, Fantasy
The ancient book about the past holds the future. Frankie is the key.
She doesn’t remember stopping at the used bookstore, but there she stands as if drawn by an unseen force. Anticipation wraps around her like a cocoon. When she opens the door, the wind nudges her through, and expectancy turns to purpose. The man inside, and the book he offers, changes everything. Unusual things happen when she begins to read:
In a time long forgotten, people are held captive by half human creatures. Ashra holds a secret close to her heart, and must discover the purpose of her gift before the oppressed human race is destroyed. An unlikely ally comes to her aid. Strangers bring her a message from a far off land. Ashra and her band of misfits set off in search of answers. Together, they find love, uncover mysteries from the past, face ever present danger, and hone powers they never knew they had.
Frankie and Ashra are separated by millennia, by fiction and reality, but in the end the barrier shatters.
***Honorable Mention at The Great Midwest Book Festival***
***** Review *****
Frankie is a little lost in her living situation, and when the opportunity to help in her favorite book store pops up, she is all hands to help. Little does she know that one very old book will capture her attention like no other…
In a world long ago, a group of half-humans rule. It is a poor life for most. Ashra knows she has a special gift, but must keep it secret…while trying to uncover how to use it before the human race is extinct. The most unlikely of allies attaches to Ashra; strange people bring an important message; and Ashra soon finds herself surrounded by a band of misfits searching for the answer to the well-known story they all know so well.
There are a lot of characters. A lot. These are the most important ones to the plot, and I have a feeling some of the lesser characters will appear in a sequel if there is to be one.
- Frankie Sheba – a quiet, shy girl who enjoys books
- Ashra – a human girl with a special gift of listening to the land; she also knows how to erase memories from humans’ modicums
- Haker – the oldest member of Ashra’s team
- Krank – a Giant with a bad reputation who has a liking for Ashra; part of the Krad race
- Bazine – a Nonsomni plagued by dreams of a girl in danger
- Ratha – Bazine’s human mother who was taken in by the Nonsomni
- Abrack – the Nonsomni who fills in as Bazine’s father
- Shemma – the Krad ruler, worried about his future
- Perditus – a Krad who is Fleuric’s chosen son; he is different than most Krad and seems conflicted
- Fleuric – creator and father of Krad who has an interest in Perditus
- Smirah – a servant woman selected by Perditus to be his personal assistant; she also is responsible for Ashra under Perditus’s care
- Blithe – once had a secret forbidden love for a human that is linked to Perditus
- Rucain – in charge of a mission to Krad City, has white-blond hair
- Akira – recently turned 13, also has white-blond hair; wants the approval of her older brother and must go with him on the mission to Krad City
The smell of old books and stale coffee brought images to mind of another time in her life, a simpler time when books could carry her away to worlds where she felt a sense of belonging. Life seemed more complicated now.
No, you’re weird and you make me flap my arms too much didn’t sound like something he could say and still remain cordial.
The Highs and Lows
- + Frankie. She is one cool kid, living in the system. Her family is okay…at least her dad is. Her mother can stick it. I’d want to spend all my time at the bookstore too, with a mother like that.
- + Dystopian theme. This reminded me quite a bit of the dystopian set-up in the Uglies series. At birth, each human has a modicum placed in their brains. There are also Death Bowls, like the the Roman tradition of gladiators. However, the Death Bowls are very Hunger Games-ish because they are mandatory to attend.
More humans were born every day, and every day those modicums were placed into the hippocampus of fresh, tiny human minds. Brain waves were recorded, and Krad Sensitives intercepted the waves embedded in the crystal. The Krad monitored thoughts, fears and desires. This was how the human race was suppressed, controlled and held captive.
- + Variety of creatures. There are the Glasne, the Krad Sensitives, the Krad Gravity Benders, Giants, the Nonsomni and humans.
- The Nonsomni haven’t seen humans in centuries (except for one). They are a peaceful people who live in the height of the mountains and are protected from danger. They also do not dream, and cannot be invaded by the Glasne.
- Krad live on the oppression of the humans. They share both the blood of humans and Glasne. All Krad are male.
- Glasne live in the second universe and can reach the first universe through dreams and other mind manipulation. Krad are large by human standards, but Glasne are close to eight feet. They are superior to humans and Krad.
- – Dream manipulation. This is how the Glasne reproduce. They invade the minds of human women in the first universe and “force them to bear children.” The women die after childbirth. NOT COOL.
- + The Prophecy. It turns out that across all the races that exist in these world, there are various stories of creationism that exist. They all have common cores, and the most important element is that they all indicate a prophecy to come. The fulfillment of this prophecy will set the humans free and cast the Glasne into a worser fate.
- + Ashra. She is a phenomenal character who is kind even when she could easily not be. She attracts others to her like a beacon of light. This of course is a good and a bad thing for her, and it is the driving force behind the plot…along with a couple other things. 🙂
- + Akira. She has her own special story among her people, that began the day of her birth. The crystals tell all in their worlds.
- + The plot. The plot is extremely convoluted, between worlds and multiple stories of creation and various types of creatures, and the sheer number of characters.
- – Character growth. This is something I always like to see in a character, and due to the number of characters and the highly plot-driven aspect of the book, there was not time for breathers or glimmers of growth and dynamics of the characters.
I liked how all of these seemingly separate pieces end up coming together in the end of the book. As the plot and pacing progressed, I could see these pieces fitting together like a jigsaw puzzle. I felt I had a better understanding of the book since I could envision this, and it lead up to a fantastic ending that I should have seen coming because the little clues here and there were all there for me to see, I just overlooked them.
Recommendation – Buy, Borrow or Skip?
I’m not sure if this is the beginning of a new series or not. If it is, I suggest buying. If it’s not, I suggest borrowing. Either way, it is an interesting story!
***** About the Author *****
Beth Hammond, is an author/illustrator who writes anything from YA fantasy to children’s picture books. She is a wife, mother, and lover of life. Her early years were spent serving in the military. Her middle years spent raising babies and figuring out her place in the world. She created stories for her book loving children and recently released “Do Your Toes Stink Good?”, “The Blond Korean and the Blue-Eyed frog”, and “Puppy Waits”. Her YA fantasy novel “The Sound Of The Stones” is newly released and available now. Her later years are yet to come, and filled with hopes and endless dreams. She spends her days creating worlds through words and illustration.
***** Giveaway *****
Ten (10) $5 Amazon Giftcards. Ends 1/22.