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At our house, we have been eagerly awaiting the release of The Stone of Destiny by Jim Ware (see my review of the prologue and first chapter https://campcostinak.wordpress.com/2011/01/27/attention-middle-schoolers/). When a box arrived from David C Cook Publishers, my son kept chanting “Please be Stone of Destiny, please be Stone of Destiny”. To his and my great delight, he was right!

Here’s the synopsis:

Morgan Izaak is obsessed with his father’s ancient books about the magical Philosopher’s Stone. And since his mother has cancer, a little magic could be really useful-although she would prefer to trust her doctors and pray. When Morgan’s best friend, Eny, tells him about another magic stone that may be hidden in their own town-the Irish Stone of Destiny-he’s determined to find it. But Morgan’s not the only one looking for the Stone, and by the time the two middle schoolers realize there’s evil afoot, Morgan has betrayed his friendship, bad-tempered giants are loose in the land, and the Stone is lost…perhaps forever.

I greatly enjoyed the intertwining of Irish folklore, ancient tradition and the many modern interpretations regarding the ‘actual’ Stone of Destiny. It was not a dry telling of these legends, but a rollicking story full of adventure, mystery, battle and suspense. Ware paints with words in such a way that the page disappears and the reader is transported directly into the story. I could smell the salt air, feel the texture of the cave wall and hear the ominous giant footsteps approaching.

Ware challenges readers to learn. The chemistry involved in Morgan’s lab introduces new ideas, procedures, and vocabulary that is most likely new to most middle schoolers. Any book that makes science cool is a keeper!

The book will spark interesting and important discussions with older children about power and how to use it. If one has power, should it be used for self or for the benefit of others? Also, if on a quest for power, would one be striving towards the wrong goal? Readers will learn that Jesus is the chief cornerstone, and that faith and trust in him give all the power one needs – any magic or mystical occurrences will only bring disappointment and disillusionment. The battles fought in the book lead the reader to understand that any spiritual battles we fight are bigger than we can handle on our own. Attempting to win without the help of others is futile – don’t try it!

The Stone of Destiny is a heart-pounding adventure and we are thrilled that there is the promise of more to come. Write quickly, Mr. Ware, we are eagerly waiting…

I give this book 5 stars out of 5.

I received this book free from David C Cook Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.