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A Rumor of Gems (Gemstone) by Ellen Steiber
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A Rumor of Gems (Gemstone) (edition 2005)

by Ellen Steiber (Author)

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424484,542 (3.87)1
"Enter the port city of Arcato: an old and magical town set somewhere in our modern world, a town where gemstones have mysteriously begun to appear ... gemstones whose mystical powers aren't mere myth or legend but are frighteningly real, casting their spells for good and ill. And the gemstones aren't all that's awry: Gods and tricksters have also been loosed, sowing chaos in the streets of Arcato." "Caught in this maelstrom of magic and chance are four people whose lives become inextricably intertwined: Lucinda de Francesco, an embittered young woman who has no interest in falling under the influence of gods, gems, or any man; Alasdair, a shaman of sorts who can read and invoke the power of the stones; Sebastian Keane, an antiques dealer who pursues Lucinda with charm and persistence and other mysterious means; and Michael Fortunato, an eleven-year-old boy who - under the influence of gods and gems - may have become a killer."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)
Member:randibsimon
Title:A Rumor of Gems (Gemstone)
Authors:Ellen Steiber (Author)
Info:Tor Books (2005), Edition: First Edition, 464 pages
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A Rumor of Gems (Gemstone) by Ellen Steiber

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I haven't read a book I liked this completely in a long time. Everything was beautiful and all the characters were wonderful and the story was amazing. She really did well with this book. It left me feeling satisfied but I would totally devour a sequel. It's a little predictable at times like most books are but that didn't take anything away from the experience and there were still a lot of things that surprised me.

When I was getting close to the end, I was so sad because I just wanted it to go on forever. All of the descriptions are really breathtaking. It really placed me in the world and I could see everything. I even dreamt about it after I read it. Haha. But, just read it. It's a great combo of magic and action and romance and life. ( )
  Isana | Jul 7, 2020 |
I bought this as a bargain book from Amazon during one of my periodic quests to find new authors. It had great reviews.

Heroine Lucinda lives in a world like ours, except that gods are real and all the various gemstone lore is literally true. Her boss and friend Tyrone dresses up like one of those gods, incurring the god's wrath, and endangering his life. She meets Sebastian, a shapeshifter, who enlists Eros's aid in seducing her.

Meanwhile, there's Alasdair, who has such an affinity for gemstones that they follow him around and are always falling out of his pockets, etc. He's there because something evil is loose in the world and he's trying to stop it. It's already affected the young boy Michael, and Alasdair is trying to rescue him.

Oh, yes. In addition to gemstone magic, gods, and shapeshifters, there's also a bit of time travel.

I'd complain about stuffing so many disparate fantasy elements into one story, but I've seen it done elsewhere to good effect, and I was intrigued by the various concepts, though I'd really have liked there to be some sort of connection between them. The gemstones had nothing to do with the gods, which had nothing to do with shapeshifters, which had nothing to do with time travel. It was almost like a few separate stories mashed together.

Unfortunately, and this is a problem with a lot of fantasy novels, the worldbuilding took the form of long discourses, mostly in this case about the properties of various gemstones. I got the disconcerting feeling that I was in a gemstone infomercial, because every time I'd start getting involved in the story, it would stop and I'd get another lecture on another gemstone.

Even the time period seemed confused. I know from the book jacket that it's supposed to be a contemporary fantasy, but the feel of the story is more like a swords-and-sorcery kind of fantasy, except that characters do have a few modern conveniences like telephones. They don't seem to have cars, though. And when Lucinda goes into the past, there's almost no difference at all. Certainly, nobody notices anything unusual about her.

But even that I could have tolerated if I'd liked the characters. Lucinda is distinctly unlikeable. She's a bitchy, promiscuous man-hater. Promiscuity I can handle, but not when it's as mean-spirited as it was with Lucinda. Also, if you look around here, you know I read plenty of erotica and sex-scene-filled romances. But Lucinda was just crude.

Worst of all, though, was that there was no change. She learns some things, but nothing that changes her. She warms up to one or two individuals, but that's not even close to being the same thing as learning not to be such a bitch in general.

And what really, really made me want to throw the book against the wall, especially because I kept reading until the end hoping it wasn't true, is the book's message of intolerance, bitterness, unforgivingness. This is a bit of a spoiler, but I'm going to include it anyway, because I think it's a good point to know ahead of time: ****spoiler**** Lucinda never forgives Sebastian for going to Eros, even though he apologizes and admits it was a mistake and it's understandable why he did it. So let's add hypocrisy to the book's message, because Lucinda's character requires a lot of forgiveness from the people around her. **** ( )
1 vote Darla | Nov 18, 2008 |
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"Enter the port city of Arcato: an old and magical town set somewhere in our modern world, a town where gemstones have mysteriously begun to appear ... gemstones whose mystical powers aren't mere myth or legend but are frighteningly real, casting their spells for good and ill. And the gemstones aren't all that's awry: Gods and tricksters have also been loosed, sowing chaos in the streets of Arcato." "Caught in this maelstrom of magic and chance are four people whose lives become inextricably intertwined: Lucinda de Francesco, an embittered young woman who has no interest in falling under the influence of gods, gems, or any man; Alasdair, a shaman of sorts who can read and invoke the power of the stones; Sebastian Keane, an antiques dealer who pursues Lucinda with charm and persistence and other mysterious means; and Michael Fortunato, an eleven-year-old boy who - under the influence of gods and gems - may have become a killer."--BOOK JACKET.

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To warm up to the lore of gems, see author Ellen Steiber's wonderful 5-part essay, "The Lore of Gemstones", at:  http://www.endicott-studio.com/rdrm/rrGemstones.html
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