The Stone of Sorrow (Runecaster #1)

Brooke Carter. Orca, $14.95 paper (312p) ISBN 978-1-4598-2439-3
In this fantasy series opener by Carter (The Unbroken Hearts Club), spirited Runa Unnursdóttir, 17, undertakes a rescue mission to save her sibling and the lives of her fellow villagers. Raised by her older sister, Sýr, since their mother’s death, Ru suffers from eye problems and feels isolated from and excluded by her peers. Though Sýr is a skilled runecaster, and keeper of the magical moonstone that brings prosperity to their village, bad luck plagues Ru’s own attempts at rune magic. Nor is the moonstone as useful as it once was: its powers are weakening, and Sýr must leave to refresh it in a magical ceremony. When Sýr is kidnapped after a neighboring village attacks, Ru enlists the assistance of a Valkyrie and a half-elven enemy to win back the moonstone and save her sister. Though the novel’s setting in a magical alternate Iceland results in evocative atmospherics and cultural references, expository prose hampers pacing and character development progresses abruptly: the protagonist transitions too quickly from expressing deep-rooted insecurities to aggressive confidence. Empathy is a major theme, and a queer relationship and a nonbinary character are inclusive additions to the novel. Ages 12–up. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 03/05/2020
Release date: 04/01/2020
Genre: Children's
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