I really wanted to like this book much more than I did.
Chin and the Magic Stones (Book One: Becoming Guardians) is about a 10 year-old boy and his dog, Eagle, who discover a magic stone that gives Chin the ability to talk to animals and opens magical doors beneath the city. Chin quickly discovers that he has been chosen to be a guardian of the stones and a warrior against the Shadow Lord. With the aid of magical friends, Chin engages in his first battle -- one in which deeper lessons are learned.
I love the concept of the book, and the ideas surrounding the different stones, challenges and magical abilities are original and exciting. There is a moral to the first battle, where one must help his friends fight negative thoughts and rise to his own success. I have a feeling that each of Chin's challenges in future books is going to bring a special message to its readers. Chin's ability to talk to animals opens up a delightfully funny dialogue between Chin and his dog. I was also glad to see another strong male lead character. Chin's a good kid, even with his faults, and one that I think boys especially would connect with.
Chin and The Magic Stones is geared towards readers between the ages of 7 and 11. I am no stranger to this type of writing -- I am a big fan of both the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson series of books -- so I was excited to get started on a new adventure within this genre. While the ideas and concepts behind this series are unique and compelling, I felt that the writing was unable to capture the reader's attention. While I completely believe that reading should improve one's vocabulary, there is a certain rhythm that is lost when a fourth-grader has to open up his dictionary five times on one page -- "decipher", "obscure", "silhouette", "perceived", and "subtle" all appear on page 25. The young reader that I surveyed to help me review this book did not make it past this page, even though he thought the story was "cool". The language broke his attention instead of engaging him.
So, in the end, this book is full of wonderful ideas that should capture the hearts and imaginations of 7 to 11 year-olds, but I didn't feel that the writing was strong enough to hold their attention.
Maybe L.J. Salazar should start working on the screenplay, because I could easily see this story on the big screen!
For more on Chin and the Magic Stones, visit the website, L.J. Salazar's website,facebook page, or the publisher's book page.
This book was furnished by Bostick Communications and the author.
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