Legend of the Stone Keepers: Don't sleep on this story!
If you’ve been reading our reviews for some time now, you probably know we don’t pull punches. If a book deserves critique, we critique it; if a book deserves praise, we praise it.
We try our best to avoid being mean, and I think we do a decent job.
So when I say Legend of the Stone Keepers is the best YA fantasy I’ve read yet by an Indie Author, you know I’m telling the truth. This book blew me away with its worldbuilding, characters, and themes. I’m a sucker for strong themes, and the narrative J.L. Trepanier plays with in Stone Keepers has far-reaching implications not only for the world of her book (Terranium) but for our world too.
The world’s in crisis. A group of people (the Agraxians) have been outcasts for centuries, but now a deadly winter is devastating their people. The world sees Agraxians as monsters, but the Agraxians send their heroes, led by Elaro (the POV character) on a mission to unite the world to fight back this deadly threat.
Not only did Legend of the Stone Keepers remind me of my own writing in Legion of Mono, it made me happy to see someone approach the same issues and expand them in a direction worth exploring. I think it’s proper to classify Stone Keepers as climate fantasy, a genre I have plans to engage in future stories. As our planet faces its own climate crisis, its a genre that needs to grow!
There’s a particular moment in Stone Keepers where the narrative hits incredibly close to home. The heroes visit a town of humans, and the human reaction to their stories of death and destruction amounts to disbelief and an inability to accept a threat capable of disrupting their comfortable lifestyle. I hope everyone reading this review recognizes the analogy utilized by Trepanier.
Oh, and did I mention there’s a lot of fun magic in this story?
Read this book. You won’t regret it.
Writing: 8/10. A few POV lapses here or there, but otherwise the writing is solid and perfect clarity for YA fiction.
Characters: 9/10. By the end of the story, you’ve grown attached to the party of seven traversing across human lands to save the world. Which is a mighty feat in 300 pages; it’s hard to care about that many characters so quickly, especially with only one POV character.
Setting: 9/10. I want a map! They visit plenty of exciting and exotic locales, and near the end of the book, Trepanier intersects her magic with her world in a way rarely seen in fantasy fiction.
Plot: 10/10. Incredibly character-driven yet global in scope, the story leaves you hanging waiting to know what happens next. And there’s so many incredible possibilities for the future of Elaro and the Legend of the Stone Keepers.
Overall: 9/10. Five stars! It deserves it. What a story. Read it . . . it’ll suck you in, thrusting you on a whirlwind of magic, fantasy, and introspective thought as you consider the roadblocks facing our own world. We’re facing down a climate crisis, just like the Agraxians. The stakes are just as high, the barriers just as big.