Stoneheart (Stoneheart Trilogy #1) by Charlie Fletcher
(narrated by Jim Dale)
Published: Scholastic Audio Books (2007), Audiobook, 9h39m
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Children's
Reading Level: Middle Grade
When statues start coming to life, 12 year old George Chapman discovers that there are many layers to London, all intertwined in a timeless battle between those with souls and those withoutA city has many lives and layers. London has more than most. Not all the layers are underground, and not all the lives belong to the living. Twelve-year-old George Chapman is about to find this out the hard way. When George breaks the head from a stone dragon he awakes an ancient power that has been dormant for centuries. Now that George has disturbed the fragile truce between the warring statues of London, he is forced into a race for survival where nothing is what it seems and and it's never clear who to trust. And this is just the beginning as the statues of London awake...
Third audiobook of the year, woohoo! And this one was pretty long, actually. Normally, YA fantasy books clock in around 7 hours (excepting bigguns like Harry Potter or Eragon). This one’s around 9 and a half hours, but it was worth sticking around for.
I really enjoyed listening to this. Jim Dale’s an excellent reader– I hadn’t ever listened to anything with him before, so I had no idea! But yeah, I liked that he changed voices for each character (and he’s so good at it!) plus the different accents were done well, too (er, at least to my American ears).
The story itself was a little slow, but at least it was a steady pace. The characters were marvelous, and the plot was full of intrigue and all sorts of exciting things. The moving statues themselves were, of course, one of the most exciting things, but I also enjoyed getting a little tour around London. While fearing for various characters’ lives, of course.
I did like the characters, even the scary, mean ones. I loved how George grew as a person (even though the Gunner has to give a big speech about it just to drive the point home. Unnecessary! I could see he changed for the better myself, y’know.) and how Edie changed for the better, too. I loved the Gunner especially, but also the Clocker and even the Sphinxes were somewhat likable (though annoyingly vague). The more human villains weren’t particularly threatening, at least not until the end, but the taint-villains were seriously creepy. Probably it was more because they were everywhere and could potentially attack at any moment, while the more human villains were left to futile plotting and snide remarks. But those taints– gah, so creepy.
The action sequences were both exciting and dramatic, while not getting bogged down by too many details. The ending was exceptionally well done: a cliffhanger, but it left me excited for the next book rather than annoyed at not getting a decent resolution. Can’t wait to read Ironhand!
Read: January 2009