a YA fantasy book by Kristin Cashore
A long, long time ago, our earth was actually called Abraxas. It was a very different and very special place. Magic was a powerful force in a world populated by gnomes, elves, gargoyles, dragons, druids, centaurs, harpies, minotaurs, sphinxes and creatures the likes of which are now only the stuff of imagination, fairy tales, fanciful dreams and frightening nightmares. When war broke out between those who had magic and those who didn't, the magical races banded together and crafted a spell to sunder the world into two parts. Humans not born with magic were banished to the world we now know as earth. Those gifted with magic who remained behind on Abraxas called it Terra. In the aftermath of the war, Adrian the Deceiver, a fallen druid drawn by the allure of power and wealth into the practice of the black arts, sought to control the five magical jewels used to create the sundering spell. To recombine those five jewels into a golden shield was to hold complete dominion over both Terra and Abraxas. With four of those jewels already in his hands, he would do anything to gain control of the last jewel which had been hidden for years on Terra - a place where Adrian dared not venture because he would lose all of his magical ability!
David and Amanda Stanhope are a pair of very normal, fun-loving young adults living the life that one would expect of early teens in Chicago. When David accidentally discovers the last jewel hidden in a trunk in his attic, he mistakenly triggers the magic and transports Amanda, his mother and himself to Abraxas. When Adrian and his minions discover that the fifth jewel is, at long last, finally within his reach, David's and Amanda's lives hang in the balance. They are in mortal danger as Adrian will stop at nothing to regain control of the final jewel and exert his dark dominion over two worlds, one of which is not even aware of his evil intentions.
K Osborn Sullivan has done herself and the fantasy genre proud with her debut novel! In an atmospheric world which any dungeons and dragons style fantasy author would be justifiably pleased with, Sullivan has created a story that cleverly weaves high speed derring-do adventure with the normal teenage lives of two very likable young people. David and Amanda obviously love their parents but they'd never admit to it. Just as we were at that age, they're utterly shocked and embarrassed by the nonsensical behaviours of their parents who, as adults, really ought to know better! Amanda, experiencing that first blush of adult femininity definitely likes the boys but David, like most ten year old boys, still exhibits that strong "eeyeeew" gag reaction at the thought of young girls and boys consorting with each other. Fully aware of what their parents would expect of them, they don't hesitate to push on the boundaries as they experiment with the edges of adult decision-making. In short, they are completely normal teens with completely normal lives that, in the context of a fantasy adventure, are clever and resourceful without being superhuman and unbelievable. They are actually completely endearing!
"Stones of Abraxas" is an engaging read that will entertain, amuse, enthrall and engage readers of all ages. It's a fast-paced page turner; it's humorous; and it's absolutely charming. Best of all, it ends on a typical cliffhanger that smells ominously of a sequel in the mind of its very skilled author. And I, for one, will look forward to its publication.
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