Tuesday, June 21, 2011
June Brtitish Book Challenge 2011: Stoneheart by Charlie Fletcher
Author: Charlie Fletcher
Published: Hodder Children's Books, 2007
Synopsis: Deep in the City something had been woken, so old that people had been walking past it for centuries without giving it a second look...'
When George breaks the dragon's head outside the Natural History Museum he awakes an ancient power. This prehistoric beast, sentry-still for centuries, hunts him down with a terrifying wrath. And this is just the beginning... The taints and spits - statues with opposing natures - are warring forces; wreaking deadly havoc on the city landscape. The World War One gunner offers protection of sorts; and the wisdom of the Sphinx is legendary. But George and his companion Edie are trapped in a world of danger. And worse - they are quite alone. The rest of London is oblivious to their plight.
This epic adventure exposes forces long-layered in the fabric of London. After entering its richly original and breathtaking world, the city streets and skyline will never again seem the same!
From Amazon co.uk
Star parts: Right, it's been a long time since I read this, but the one thing that sticks with me is the characters. George is a completely believeable character, his motivation and actions are so on target for a boy his age, that I never once doubted why he would act the way he did*. Edie was also a fascinating character and I liked her for her sheer determination and balls. She comes across as completely unbreakable at the beginning and throughout this rip-roaring romp through London while she doesn't become less feisty, she opens up a little and lets George and the Gunner in. There are a whole host of characters in this book, so I can't mention them all, so I'll just list my favourites. The Gunner is great. I actually want to go and look for him when I'm next in London and there is a scene where he is rushing to get back to his plinth before midnight/sunup (eek) which just grabs hold of your heart and twists. The Black Friar is another great character, all the more intriguing because we never know if we can trust him or not. The Walker is a great invention, but I think perhaps, I preferred the Raven. While he is completely evil, the parts that are from his point of view are also quite humorous.
The world building is amazing. While it takes place in a location that is very close to me, my next visit to London will more than likely take on a slightly different tint as I hunt for the Gunner, Black Friar and the Sphinxes as I stroll along the embankments of the Thames. The whole idea of Spits and Taints is great. The descriptions transport the reader right into the scene that Fletcher imagines.
Black clouds: Neither of these were huge dark clouds, but I can imagine that it would bother some readers. Firstly, the pace of the book was break neck. Maybe it's age catching up with me, but there's one point when George is retching he's run so much and, well, I was out of breath too! Secondly it's the ending. It was quick and my reaction was: you what? We've had a little inkling into George's 'real world' enough to know that all isn't rosy and that in Edie and the Gunner he has two people who really care about him, but still I would have liked a little more build up to George's final decision.
Do I recommend it: Totally! In my edition I even got a taster of the first chapter of Ironhand and I want to know what the Walker is doing to the Taints. I do, I do
This is the fifth book I've reviewed for the British Book Challenge.
Oh and finally as this is about books and writers and what not, pop over to ABBA and find out what the first ever ABBAlitfest is all about. More news about that soon.