ISLE OF BLOOD AND STONE: A Mashup of Mystery and Fantasy

Lynn: Many mystery fans will happily follow the trail of a good mystery into a wide variety of other genres. Mystery and fantasy fans take note: Makiia Lucier’s Isle of Blood and Stone (2018) is right up your dark alley!

In the prologue, we learn of the tragedy that has befallen the island nation St. John Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucierdel Mar. Antoni, the Royal Navigator of the island, had taken two of its young princes out for the afternoon when an apparent kidnapping attempt went badly wrong, resulting in the poisoning of the entourage and the presumed deaths of the royal boys and the Navigator. Eighteen years later, those left behind are still shaken up. Antoni’s son Elias, now a royal mapmaker and close friend to the newly crowned king, was a baby at the time of the crime. Immediately upon his return from a mapping expedition, Elias is unexpectedly summoned by King Ulises. He is even more startled by two extraordinary maps that Antoni seems to have drawn recently. The maps, exquisitely drawn and inscribed with puzzling riddles, contain details only Antoni could know.

What really happened 18 years ago? Is Antoni still alive? Where is he? What of the two princes? What do the riddles mean? These mysterious questions—constructed with clues, red herrings, and intriguing puzzles—propel breathless readers to a stunning discovery that provides a satisfying resolution.

Lucier’s fantasy elements are equally masterful. Her skillful world-building results in beautifully detailed island nations and frightening creatures, like the ubiquitous and hungry sea serpents that roam the seas and add delicious moments of danger to the tale. Another strength of the story, one that will satisfy all readers regardless of their preferred genre, derives from its richly developed characters with vivid and compelling personalities. Recommend Isle of Blood and Stone this to mystery and fantasy lovers alike—and also to those waiting for the next installment of Megan Whelan Turner’s Queen’s Thief saga.

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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