A 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. A 12-year-old boy named George Chapman is about to find this out the hard way. On a school trip he's punished for something he didn't do. In a tiny act of rebellion, he lashes out at a small carving on the wall - unexpectedly breaking it off. And then something horrible does happen: a stone pterodactyl unpeels form the wall and starts chasing him. George is already running before his mind starts trying to tell him that this is impossible!
©2010 Charlie Fletcher (P)2010 Scholastic Audio
I will admit that I bought this mainly because Jim Dale was narrating and I'd enjoyed him so much with the Harry Potter books. This story, though, is beautifully written and well-plotted. The characters are well-developed in the best way: you're shown who they are via their actions rather than told. The mythology of this "other London" is realistic in the manner of the best fantasy books. This is a great tale for all ages. (And Jim Dale, as usual, does a bang up job with the voices -- he had me laughing aloud at The Dictionary.)
I will definitely be listening to this again because it's a truly unique twist on what we perceive to be reality, and it exists right under our noses.
I don't want to give too much of a spoiler, but I liked Edie's glinting - which you'll just have to listen to the book to understand what I mean. I can't really tell you why either without the risk of ruining an important piece of the plot for you.
He's Jim Dale! If you've heard him read the Harry Potter books, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. Every character gets their own voice and personality that the listener can identify and recognize even before he reads who's speaking. When Jim Dale reads a book, the words become the characters with real depth and life.
If I had had the ability to, I would have.
Unlike the HP series which ages with its characters, the Stoneheart series remains at its original age level and, while I enjoyed it as a full-grown adult, is appropriate for children as young as 10 without the need for parental concern. Of course you'll want to listen to it with them anyway because, let's face it, why should they have all the fun?
There are a couple of foul words used in the story, but they're minor ones and I don't feel that there is a risk of young children wanting to pick them up.
What? Me? Resist Jim Dale reading an adventure about an unpopular British schoolboy who breaks out of the boring everyday London into the "other" city, where fantastics come alive and where a seemingly (not really) dorky girl companion bravely accompanies him?
Not on your life!
All I want is the next one.
i was surprised at how scary this was! im in my 20s and i was shaking in my bunny slippers;}its still one of my favorites and i love it.
Immigration lawyer in Kansas City. I like Character driven dramas, fantasy (monsters, magic and witches oh my!) and coming of age stories. Favs include: The Book Thief, The Game of Throne series, Harry Potter Series, Dresden Files, Nightside series, anything by Neil Gaimen, 100 Years of Solitude.
Jim Dale has got to be the best narrator in the history of narrators. He is so magnificent I could literally listen to him read a phone book (do they even make those anymore?) and find it riveting. When you add in the fact that he is, in fact reading a rather exciting and charming story that is unique and engaging, it makes for such a brilliant combination and a book I wanted to keep listening to. The story was well written and I loved the characters. I also quite love stories where somewhat outcast children/teenagers are the heroes/heroines. The fact that the other good guys and bad guys were statues was very creative. I also love stories that creates parallel supernatural dimensions, if you will, to real life. This story was about another London inhabited by spits and taints, Statutes on buildings, gargoyles and other carvings that come to life and can only be seen by a select few. Like Simon R Greens the Nightside or Neil Gaimen's Neverwhere with its London Below, this book tells the story of yet another London. I cannot wait to listen to the next book.
Books make the world a better place
I loved the Harry Potter series and this story was just as magical. I felt like a child again...I enjoyed listening to this audiobook while working, cleaning, driving, etc. It's well written and the narrator is just as excellent.
So I've started buying books because Jim Dale narrates them. I think that he is genius. He is easy to listen to and once I have heard the story very easy to fall asleep to.
I am a grown up and this is a book for adolescents. So, fair enough it doesn't totally speak to me. BUT overall, I like it.
I liked that the characters were nice kids who try to do the right thing but don't always. I like that the situations were fairly realistic within a fantasy realm. I also liked that it was true to it's own world (in other words, don't tell me people can fly and then later the villain can't fly.)
I liked this so much that I am purchasing book 2. What I do hope to see more of is some more character development. There is some, but there could be more. Don't tell me, let me see it unfold. The book just also seemed to move from one action sequence to another and we're dribbled out back story and not most of it. I understand that there should be some suspense but that should come from the story, not because we don't know the characters.
I would recommend it.
I have not read the print version, but I imagine the audio is better only because Jim Dale narrates in such a way that brings stories to life.
I have greatly enjoyed Jim Dale's performance of the Peter and the Starcatcher Series. This narration is just as good. He is excellent at differentiating between characters and when the children talk and eat, I have to laugh out loud at his performance. Dictionary is an especially interesting character that Jim Dale portrays.
When George remembered his last interaction with his father, I was brought to tears. It reminds me of my mother and really touched my heart.
This is a wonderful story! The detail and interactions of the characters and their surroundings really amaze me. I enjoyed the author's metaphors and descriptive prose. The phrase "No you don't!", was used quite often and that did bug me a little bit. Otherwise, I am very happy that I purchased this book and plan to get the rest of the series.
How fun is this! As a tried and true lover of fantasy, I find so many new "fantasy" books poor imitations of their predecessors. But Stoneheart is different, fun, entertaining. I guess its considered a "kids" book but I left my teenager years behind a few decades ago and I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait to listen to the other two. As an added bonus, it's read by Jim Dale, who read the Harry Potter books-- He's fantastic!
I was pleasantly surprised at how good this series is. People who like the Harry Potter type books with magical happenings and a clear division of dark and light should enjoy these books. They are very well writen with a glorious use of vocabulary and are narrated by the splendid and most talneted Jim Dale (who also reads the US version of Harry Potter).
The premis of the books is around a London most of us cannot see and how two human children can. They are hurled together in this otehr dimension of London where all the statues are animated and divided into very clear sides. The main Villan is quite comparable in the evil stakes to Voldemort and the the evoluation of the main protagonist is most enjoyable. The back up the children receive from the Gunner, a war veteran still speaking and acting from is time frame is the biggest lightening rod conducting the reader to anchor to these set of books.
It does seem to have an super long, never ending, chase going on. But it is peppered with so many characters and different twists and turns it keeps you interested and invested.
I will never feel the same when I walk around London or any big City with statues again.
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