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Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier
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Isle of Blood and Stone (edition 2018)

by Makiia Lucier (Author)

Series: Tower of Winds (1)

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1306163,058 (3.78)1
When two maps surface, each bearing the same hidden riddle, nineteen-year-old Elias, a royal mapmaker, sets sail with King Ulises to uncover long-held secrets behind the mysterious disappearance of the king's two young brothers eighteen years earlier.
Member:LittleBookishInkblot
Title:Isle of Blood and Stone
Authors:Makiia Lucier (Author)
Info:HMH Books for Young Readers (2018), 400 pages
Collections:Bookstore Finds, Goodreads Collection
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Tags:to-read

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Isle of Blood and Stone (Tower of Winds) by Makiia Lucier

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I quickly became enmeshed in this fantasy with elements of mystery and romance aimed at young adults but appealing for all ages. The author writes that the story grew out her love of the Indiana Jones movies as well as a lifelong fascination with old maps. She ably did justice in this novel to both of her passions.

The story begins with a description of a deadly ambush killing everyone attending a St. John del Mar royal outing for the education of two of the princes. The group included the Royal Navigator, Lord Antoni, and the oldest princes - Bartolome and Teodor - who were receiving a lesson in magnets.

We then fast-forward eighteen years. The surviving prince, Ulises, 19, is now King of St. John del Mar. Elias, his best friend and the son of Lord Antoni, is training to be a navigator and mapmaker himself. Mercedes, a close friend of both the boys, is King Ulises’s cousin and only living relative. Her father had been the old king’s younger brother. Her mother was a noblewoman from Mondrago, the neighboring kingdom blamed for the ambush. Thus Mondragans are scorned in del Mar, and Mercedes, recognizable as mixed race by her green eyes and freckles, is taunted and spit on when she leaves the castle, in spite of the fact that she is second in line to the throne.

Lord Silva took over as Royal Navigator after Lord Antoni died, and trained Elias just as he had trained Elias’s father. His granddaughter Reyna, only nine, helps out with mapmaking. She longs to be a navigator herself but as a female, her best hope is perhaps being able to teach geography to male students. But Ulises, Elias, and Mercedes dote on Reyna and feel she has exceptional potential. Indeed, it was Reyna who spotted an unusual map at the marketplace that now occupies the full attention of the castle.

Lord Silva confirms that the worksmanship on this mysterious map looks identical to maps drawn by Lord Antoni, but it features a beacon on the cliffs erected only ten years ago. Lord Antoni died eighteen years earlier; how was this possible? And there was more: hidden among the trees in the map were tiny letters that read:

“Adventurer, two princes lost but not gone.
Follow the path of the ancient mariners, Tramontana to Ostro.
Look not to what is there but to what is not.”

Perhaps someone was fooling them or even setting a trap, but they had to know the truth. The three friends decided they must follow the instructions on the map and solve the mystery.

Evaluation: There is so much to like in this fantasy, from the appealing characters to the fearsome sea serpents and friendly sea worms that ply the waters around this Mediterranean-like country. And it’s hard to beat a story that combines elements of Treasure Island and the Indiana Jones adventures. The book can be read as a standalone, but I’m eager to read the next one in this duology. ( )
  nbmars | Dec 18, 2019 |
Well-developed, mature characters; a unique fantasy world in medieval-like times; a compelling mystery and plot. I couldn't put this down and can't wait to read the next book in the series. ( )
  bookwren | Jun 4, 2019 |
Isle of Blood and Stone is the first book in a new duology by Makiia Lucifer, and the first Historical Fiction book that I've read this year. As a genre that I don't normally dip into, it should be noted that I'm still getting my bearings in books like this. It makes my reading of them take a little more effort than most other things, but I'm enjoying the ride. Which is why the fact that Isle of Blood and Stone is heavier on the history than on the fiction/fantasy side of things made this a bit of a rough read for me. I'm on the fence on this one, and I'll explain why below.

The story drops the reader directly into a day in the life of one Lord Antoni, with little to no explanation of why. It took me a minute to figure out that he was an important mapmaker, and that he was somehow linked to the royal family. Once I'd finally settled in a bit, and the big reveal of the chapter happened, the book suddenly fast forwarded eighteen years. So, to say that I started this book with no footing is pretty accurate. It took me another four or five chapters after that to really settle in, and feel like I had my bearings enough to enjoy the story.

What's great about this book though is that the characters are actually really intriguing, once you get to know them. Reyna, who was studying to be a mapmaker herself and unknowingly sets things in motion, made me pay attention. Once the discovery of the maps that may have been made by Lord Antoni, after his supposed death, came to light I was fully on board. By the time that Elias came fully into the picture, and the quest began in earnest, I was more than ready to follow along to the end.

Unfortunately, this is a really slow building story. I mentioned above that it's heavy on the historical portion of things, and that's definitely an accurate assessment. Action is scarce, and descriptions abound. The reader is taken back to the times of court politics and intrigue, but not in the way that I'm used to in the fantasy books I generally read. It's very heavily described, rather than shown. While the mystery aspect of this was good, it took so long for things to establish, and then longer still for things to pick up, that I found myself wanting to skim forward. I was invested enough to want to know how things turned out though, so that's a good sign.

Did I mention that I was on the fence? On the one hand, the ending ties back into the beginning and brings the characters and the plot full circle. All of my questions were finally answered, and I felt pretty satisfied. On the other hand, it took so long for me to actually settle myself into my surroundings at the beginning that it made things feel really slow. I see the potential here, and I liked the book enough to want to see what happens next. I only hope that the next portion of this story has a bit more action. ( )
  roses7184 | Feb 5, 2019 |
Isle of Blood and Stone is the first book in a new duology by Makiia Lucifer, and the first Historical Fiction book that I've read this year. As a genre that I don't normally dip into, it should be noted that I'm still getting my bearings in books like this. It makes my reading of them take a little more effort than most other things, but I'm enjoying the ride. Which is why the fact that Isle of Blood and Stone is heavier on the history than on the fiction/fantasy side of things made this a bit of a rough read for me. I'm on the fence on this one, and I'll explain why below.

The story drops the reader directly into a day in the life of one Lord Antoni, with little to no explanation of why. It took me a minute to figure out that he was an important mapmaker, and that he was somehow linked to the royal family. Once I'd finally settled in a bit, and the big reveal of the chapter happened, the book suddenly fast forwarded eighteen years. So, to say that I started this book with no footing is pretty accurate. It took me another four or five chapters after that to really settle in, and feel like I had my bearings enough to enjoy the story.

What's great about this book though is that the characters are actually really intriguing, once you get to know them. Reyna, who was studying to be a mapmaker herself and unknowingly sets things in motion, made me pay attention. Once the discovery of the maps that may have been made by Lord Antoni, after his supposed death, came to light I was fully on board. By the time that Elias came fully into the picture, and the quest began in earnest, I was more than ready to follow along to the end.

Unfortunately, this is a really slow building story. I mentioned above that it's heavy on the historical portion of things, and that's definitely an accurate assessment. Action is scarce, and descriptions abound. The reader is taken back to the times of court politics and intrigue, but not in the way that I'm used to in the fantasy books I generally read. It's very heavily described, rather than shown. While the mystery aspect of this was good, it took so long for things to establish, and then longer still for things to pick up, that I found myself wanting to skim forward. I was invested enough to want to know how things turned out though, so that's a good sign.

Did I mention that I was on the fence? On the one hand, the ending ties back into the beginning and brings the characters and the plot full circle. All of my questions were finally answered, and I felt pretty satisfied. On the other hand, it took so long for me to actually settle myself into my surroundings at the beginning that it made things feel really slow. I see the potential here, and I liked the book enough to want to see what happens next. I only hope that the next portion of this story has a bit more action. ( )
  roses7184 | Sep 25, 2018 |
“Adventurer, two princes lost but not gone. Follow the path of the ancient mariners, Tramontana to Ostro. Look not to what is there, but to what is not.”
Yeah, I didn’t love this as much as I wanted which really seems to be the story of my life lately. I just know this is going to be a completely forgettable read for me. For so much of this story I just didn’t care, and I feel like a lot of it was because I wasn’t invested in the world. I feel like I didn’t know enough about the setting or the characters. While I did enjoy the family and friendship moments with Elias, Mercedes, Ulises and some of the others, they weren’t enough to pull me in. It felt like someone was telling me a story without giving me all the background. I just didn’t get the motivations for the villain, or know enough about the worldbuilding or politics. I just didn’t care and was underwhelmed.

I received a copy of the book from HMH via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  LifeofaLiteraryNerd | Apr 27, 2018 |
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It is not down in any map; true places never are. -Herman Melville, Moby-Dick
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For Mia
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Prologue: The outing had been planned on a whim; an afternoon lesson up in the hills, away from the smoke and stink of the city.
Chapter One: In the square, just off the harbor, Mercedes heard the cockfight long before she saw it.
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When two maps surface, each bearing the same hidden riddle, nineteen-year-old Elias, a royal mapmaker, sets sail with King Ulises to uncover long-held secrets behind the mysterious disappearance of the king's two young brothers eighteen years earlier.

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