Thursday, September 16, 2010
My review: The Stone Traveler by Kathi Oram Peterson
I had not read any of Kathi's work before, so when she contacted me to do a review I have to say I was excited.
First, a description of the book: Sixteen-year-old Tag can't believe he's in this much trouble. He's not actually a member of the gang known as the Primes-all he did was spray paint some graffiti that caught their attention. In all honesty, ever since his dad and brother left, Tag just wants to be alone. And it's certainly not his fault that the Primes nearly beat up his goofy cousin, Ethan. But his mom is furious about these gang-related activities and insists that Tag spend the whole summer at his grandpa's lakeside cabin, which is not Tag's idea of a good time. So he does what any self-respecting teenager would do: run away. But he doesn't get far before he encounters three strange men carrying an even stranger object-a stone that glows with radiant light as bright as a thousand sparklers. Tag doesn't steal the stone-not exactly. He feels like he is supposed to take it. But he doesn't expect the stone to transport him through space and time to a place he's never seen before-a place that looks an awful lot like the ancient lands described in the Book of Mormon. And he definitely doesn't expect to join Sabirah, the entrancing daughter of Samuel the Lamanite, on a quest to rescue her father and brother from the evil King Jacob. And he absolutely doesn't expect to be captured by Jacob's minions and prepared as a sacrifice to the evil idol of the city. But just as Tag faces his death, a terrible storm begins to break, and the ground cracks into jagged pieces. And he's not sure which event will impact his life more: his captor's knife coming at his body, the violent tempest sweeping the land . . . Or the men who later appear, glowing even more brightly than the traveler's stone.
My thoughts: I found this book to be quite engaging. I knew Tag had a deep, dark secret that he'd blocked out, but it was hard for me to be patient until near the end to find out what exactly he'd hidden from himself. And Sabirah, who is also a primary character, was absolutely delightful. I found her completely believable as a young, righteous woman fighting with all she had to bring her father and brother home.
The Stone Traveler felt real. I could picture Tag, how he saw himself and how others saw him. I understood Sabirah and her struggles. I saw the evil and it creeped me out. And in some parts, where the characters weren't sure which direction was right, I found I wasn't either. And, of course, for those of you looking for it, I did cry at the end--okay, near the end. There were a couple of very touching scenes that made my eyes leak.
I did find a section near the end where it seemed like Tag was speaking formally and it didn't sound quite like him, but overall the book had good character distinction. Most of the time I didn't need to check at the top of the section to know which--Tag or Sabirah--character's thoughts I was reading. And I will say that I found one particular section dealing with Christ to be difficult for me to read. Not because of any failing on the part of the book or author, but a personal preference and feeling all my own.
Those things said, I had a great time reading The Stone Traveler, and I bet you will too.
Don't forget to click HERE and take part in Kathi's exciting contest! Contest ends September 30!