Friday, October 23, 2009

Review: Chin and the Magic Stones by L.J. Salazar

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.


Anonymous said...

I loved this bool because of the positive message and easy to follow plot. I read it to our 6 year-old grandson and he is asking for the second book. Do you know the author or how to contact him? I tried with the publisher but we got no response.

A movie would be beautiful, but I am afraid that we are attracted to movies about destruction, end of the world pain and suffering... very few movies with positive messages and lack of violence ever make a big splash.

Alison said...

Anonymous -- I agree, it's sad that Hollywood insists on marketing death and destruction, when a story like this one would appeal to audiences young and old. (They would have this parent's stamp of approval!)

Unfortunately, I can not give you my contact information for the author, but if you go to one of the websites I have listed above, you may find an e-mail address for L.J. Salazar. If you have trouble, send me an e-mail and I will forward it on to him.

Thank you for posting your thoughts on Chin and the Magic Stones (you have one lucky grandson!!)

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