Hi guys! I hope you are having a marvelous first week of April! Today I am on the blog tour for one of my most anticipated YA releases of the Spring, Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier, and it did not disappoint! This book releases this Tuesday, April 10th, and you do NOT want to miss this epic fantasy adventure!
About the Book
Title: Isle of Blood and Stone
Author: Makiia Lucier
Release Date: April 10th, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Synopsis: Ulises asked, “How can I look at these maps, see this riddle, and do nothing? They are my brothers.”
Elias reached across the table and flicked aside two shells with a fingertip. The map curled into itself. “It’s bound to be a goose chase. You know that?”
“Or a treasure hunt,” Ulises countered, “and you’ve always been good at those.”
Nineteen-year-old Elias is a royal explorer, a skilled mapmaker, and the new king of del Mar’s oldest friend. Soon he will embark on the adventure of a lifetime, an expedition past the Strait of Cain and into uncharted waters. Nothing stands in his way…until a long-ago tragedy creeps back into the light, threatening all he holds dear.
The people of St. John del Mar have never recovered from the loss of their boy princes, kidnapped eighteen years ago, both presumed dead. But when two maps surface, each bearing the same hidden riddle, troubling questions arise. What really happened to the young heirs? And why do the maps appear to be drawn by Lord Antoni, Elias’s father, who vanished on that same fateful day? With the king’s beautiful cousin by his side—whether he wants her there or not—Elias will race to solve the riddle of the princes. He will have to use his wits and guard his back. Because some truths are better left buried…and an unknown enemy stalks his every turn.
Disclaimer: Thanks so much to HMH for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This will not affect my review in any way.
I love adventure novels. They take you on wild quests into some of the most dangerous places as the protagonists search for something they long for, only to face evil along the way. A great adventure novel sucks you into the heart of the story, making you forget about your surroundings and feel danger and death lurking around the corner, all while you are on the edge of your seat. Isle of Blood and Stone can be placed into that group. Lucier’s latest novel combines the thrill of exploration with a fantasy world that is full of magic, betrayal, love, and mapmaking. As Elias, Ulises, and Mercedes solve the mystery of what happened to his father and two half-brothers, readers are left guessing until the last page.
This book is not your average mystery novel; no, it’s much more than that. Isle of Blood and Stone is a story full of bloodshed and betrayal, magic and mystery, family love and romance, self-discovery and world-discovery, and perseverance and possibilities. There are so many plot twists and surprises to be uncovered that any guessing or problem-solving before the climax is futile and fruitless. Truly, I was put on the edge of my seat so many times, and I felt almost every emotion from shock to suspense. There is so much mystery and hidden secrets and revelations that it makes you think, even when you know you’re not going to predict what is going to happen next.
I fell in love with the world-building from page one. If you notice on the map, St. John del Mar looks a lot like Guam, where the author grew up. Everything, from the religion to the historical atmosphere to the places where events unfold, was written very intricately and very well. There is a bit of fantasy sprinkled about throughout the novel, including giant sea serpents and mysterious magic. I felt transported back to the Age of Exploration, where kingdoms and pirates (none of the latter in this novel) ruled the seas and the conquest for uncharted territories on the maps. I just wanted to stay inside the novel and continue exploring with Elias, Mercedes, and everybody else!
My only problem with this book is that some details were a bit hazy to me at first. For example, I did not exactly get how Elias, Ulises, and the kidnapped princes and king were all related until the end, in which everything made more sense. When King Antoni was kidnapped, his wife had already born Ulises and eventually married another man in which Elias was born. I might be somewhat wrong on that, but that is how I understood it. Also, while there is not as much action as you would expect, it still provides a great adventure for readers. I had honestly hoped for Elias to travel throughout the seas, but most of the novel takes place on the mainland of St. John del Mar. It is a bit calm, but it still provides the heart-thumping, revelation-shocking story that readers can crave.
Isle of Blood and Stone fueled the adventurer inside of me. It created inside of me a yearning to go out and explore the world around me, to leave no stone unturned and no path unmarked. It is the perfect combination of fantasy, adventure, mystery, and romance all in one novel. I am really excited for book two, and I am highly looking forward to seeing everybody’s story continue. This is a 2018 YA release that you do not want to miss!
Please note that this is a review of an unfinished Advance Reader’s Copy. There may have been major and minor changes between this version of the book versus the finalized novel that will be released to the public.
My Top 10 Favorite Quotes
1. “Not every man can leave his home. Leave all that is familiar, his family and his friends, the buildings and streets he has learned to navigate by heart, and journey to parts unknown. It takes a man with the soul and spirit of an adventurer.”
2. “If you feel that you’re in danger, Elias, it’s likely because you are. Humans are the only animals that stop to think about their situation, to weight the possibilities. Am I in danger? Am I not? The other animals? They just run.”
3. “Friend or foe, it takes only one to speak carelessly, and if the wrong person suspects you know more than you should, your life… your lives will be forfeit.”
4. “Home was where you went to rest your head after a long and weary day. It was where your family lived, if you were fortunate to have one.”
5. “‘Why aren’t you angry?’ … ‘What good would it do? It harms us more than our enemies.'”
6. “Small things, and we’ll make our way from there.”
7. “Most people are content never to leave their place of birth. And others, it is all they can think about. Sailing off, discovering new places, meeting different people. It’s part of who they are.”
8. “If there is someone out there who knows a different truth, do you not want to learn of it? Not for me, not even for the king. But for your own sake?”
9. “We are responsible for no one’s conduct but our own.”
10. “You, adventurer that boasts of being / quick-witted and a good troubadour, / would you make me a song / that the eight winds call? / Levante, Scirocco, and Ostro, / Libeccio, Ponente, and Maestro, / Tramontana and Greco: / Here you have the eight winds of the globe.”
Prize: Copy of Isle and Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier
About the Author
She lives with her family in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Are you excited for Island of Blood and Stone? Do you like YA fantasy adventures?
Comment below, or find me in one of my social media pages, and let’s chat!