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Today I am utterly thrilled to share my review of Caroline Logan’s debut novel, the first book in the Four Treasures Series.

  • Title: The Stone of Destiny
  • Authors: Caroline Logan
  • Publisher: Gob Stopper (an imprint of Cranachan Publishing)
  • Publication Date: 1st October 2019

Copy received from publisher for review purposes.

Description:
Ailsa doesn’t believe in faerie tales, only the monsters in them. But, with the mark on her face, most people consider her one of them—a changeling.

Her secluded life shifts when she rescues two selkies from bloodthirsty raiders. Now she must act as their guard as they travel to the capital and then, with the help of the Prince of Eilanmòr, journey north to find The Stone of Destiny—the only object protecting them all from the evil faerie queen.

But all her life a malignant creature has stalked her through the forest. Can Ailsa find The Stone of Destiny before something wicked finds her?

My Thoughts:
Before I say anything about the insides of this book, can we take a wee moment to appreciate the loveliness of that cover … it’s stunning! The moment I saw it, I was captivated and wanted to reach out and touch it. Just a hint at the magic and wonders that are contained within the pages of Caroline Logan’s debut novel.

From the moment we meet Ailsa, the reader can see that she is a strong character, one who can fend for herself and isn’t easily put off by hard work. And as you progress through the first pages, there is so much to take in, from the breathtaking beauty of the wild beach and surroundings, the intrigue of the screams Ailsa hears and the moments packed with action that have you on the edge of your seat.
The adventure that Ailsa and the rescued selkies go on makes for a highly entertaining read, a thrilling and addictive one that kept me turning pages long into the evening. I’d started reading The Stone of Destiny, intending to read a chapter or two in the evening, but was curled up on the sofa hours later, lost in the world of Eilanmòr and faerie tale creatures.

Strong and well constructed characters are a key element of this book, from the wonderfully heroic Ailsa, the humorous and quick witted Harris, the cool and calm Iona, each of these creations are superbly detailed, multidimensional, they become real as you read more about them and spend time in their company.
The vivid descriptions are not limited to the characters, the landscapes that appear in the book are so clearly described that it’s hard not to envision them, experience the merriment of ceilidhs, the luxury of the foods and the perilous dangers that our intrepid adventurers face.
Faerie tale creatures are always fascinating, and the cast that appear in this book are wonderfully captivating, and as the story unfolds we learn more about them and the folklore associated with them, opening up another thread of spellbinding storytelling from a very promising author.

Although this book is aimed at a Young Adult audience, readers aged 13 plus, it will appeal to readers of all ages. It’s the sort of magical read that carries you off on a wave of excitement and has you desperate to find out what will happen next!

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  • Title: Girl in a Cage
  • Author: Jane Yolen & Robert J Harris
  • Publisher: Gob Stopper (an imprint of Cranachan Publishing)
  • Publication Date: 20th June 2019

Copy received from publisher for review purposes.

Description:

DAUGHTER OF THE OUTLAW KING. PRISONER IN THE LAND OF THE ENEMY.

When her father, Robert the Bruce, is crowned King of Scotland, Marjorie Bruce becomes a princess. But Edward Longshanks, the ruthless King of England, captures Marjorie and keeps her prisoner in a wooden cage in the centre of a town square, exposed to wind, rain, and the bullying taunts of the townspeople.

Marjorie knows that despite her suffering and pain, she must stay strong: the future of Scotland depends on her…

Jane Yolen and Robert J. Harris bring to life a breathless chapter from Scottish history in this thrilling novel with an unforgettable young heroine.

My Thoughts:

Robert the Bruce is a name I am very familiar with, his part in Scottish history was appeared in many tales as I grew up and so I was eager to read Girl in a Cage to find out more about this character and the struggles faced by one of the most important people in his life, his eldest daughter Marjorie.

Marjorie Bruce is exactly what you would expect from a young girl, headstrong and views the world as black and white, right and wrong. But she has the luxury of being the daughter of Lord, and therefore has received an education and sits in a place of privilege. When her father is crowned as King of Scots in 1306, she becomes a princess. It is around this time that things being to go wrong for the Bruce family. Without giving a history lesson, I will say that the Bruce’s end up running and fighting for their lives, their survival depending on their allies.

Through Marjorie, the reader experiences the exceptionally atmospheric settings of this book, the things she sees and feels, we experience them too. Her worries about her father and uncles, her unhappiness about being treated as a child and excluded from adult conversations but most of all her inability to make sense of the events around her. As events unfold and their positions becomes precarious, Marjorie and her family flee for various places of safety around Scotland, trying to stay one step ahead of their enemies and those who would do them harm. Along with her father’s second wife, two of her aunts and the Countess of Buchan, Marjorie was captured by the Earl of Ross. Her fate was a imprisonment at the hands of Edward Longshanks. For a young girl, this seems like an incredibly harsh punishment, and indeed Marjorie voices this thought throughout her confinement, but she never lets others see the torment that this causes her. She shows great strength and courage, all the time thinking about her father and his men, fighting for the good of their country, fighting for their beliefs.

Powerful writing makes this such a gripping read, and I found at times I was desperately reading on, hoping that things might improve in the short term for Marjorie. Her time in the cage was physically and mentally hard on her, the townspeople and monks in the priory were forbidden to speak to her and the rations she was given were barely enough to keep her going. But she found an inner strength despite this torment, she was defiant to the face of Edward Longshanks, she would not be beaten by him or his army, not whilst her father, uncles and countrymen were still out there fighting.

A thrilling and powerful read for any age reader, one steeped in history and woven together with charm and wonderful detail.

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