Secret of the Stones by Tony Bradman
|Secret of the Stones by Tony Bradman|
|Category: Dyslexia Friendly|
|Reviewer: Z J Cookson|
|Summary: A clever concept with a dyslexia friendly and super-readable font. This is an easy read but less interesting that most Barrington Stoke titles.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 72||Date: October 2017|
|Publisher: Barrington Stoke|
|External links: Author's website|
Twelve year old Maglos has a fulfilling and happy life with his father, the High Priest of Stonehenge. However, everything changes when his Uncle Tigran murders Maglos's father at the mid-summer festival before turning to do the same to Maglos. As the axe is about to fall, two strangers intervene warning Tigran that the Gods will be angry if he spills the blood of a child. Tigran allows the strangers to take Maglos away as their slave. What Tigran doesn't realise is that these two men carry the secret of the stones – a secret that they pass onto Maglos and which he will ultimately use against his uncle.
I've recently read a number of Barrington Stoke super-readable teen stories and have been impressed by every one. The Secret of the Stones is aimed at a younger audience than the others I've read (in subject matter around 9-12 year olds) and is, as a result, much simpler. Sadly simpler in this case also means less interesting. Where every other Barrington Stoke story I have read has combined strong characterisation and a gripping plot, the Secret of the Stones reads more like a school reader with two-dimensional characters and a predictable plot.
Maybe I am being a little unfair as it has got to be challenging to create a well-rounded character and satisfying plot in just 52 pages, especially when the commitment to a dyslexia friendly and super-readable font means there are very few words on each page. However, I simply didn't empathise with Maglos and was entirely unmoved by his grief when his father was murdered. The jealous uncle, wishing to claim his elder brother's position, also felt slightly clichéd while the ending was a little too convenient.
The book does have positive elements. The two strangers, Athir and Caturix, understand the secret of the stones and through their role in the story we learn how both copper and bronze are made using stones. This is an interesting twist on the expectations raised in the book's title. It does, nevertheless, reinforce the sense of a book that is aimed more at the school or educational market.
Overall I was disappointed that this story didn't live up to the clever concept or meet the outstanding standard that I have come to associate with Barrington Stoke. If you're looking for a super-readable middle grade story, I'd therefore recommend you look elsewhere in the first instance. The Bookbag gave both Thor and the Master of Magic by Kevin Crossley-Holland and Siku and Samurai by Ian Beck and Daniel Atanasov the maximum five star rating.
You can read more book reviews or buy Secret of the Stones by Tony Bradman at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Secret of the Stones by Tony Bradman at Amazon.com.
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