The Dream of the Stone by Christina Askounis
Summary (from the inside flap of the book jacket because it's really good, so I'm typing up the whole thing): Someone is following Sarah Lucas. When she peers down from her apartment window late one night, she sees him hovering in the shadows. And what about the other strange things that have been happening to her? The old woman who appears every so often to give Sarah a cryptic piece of advice and then vanishes? The mysterious gleaming stone that turns up in the mail, a universe of tiny stars suspended in its depth?
But there's no one Sarah can trust with her story. Her journalist parents have been killed in a freak plane crash, and her older brother, Sam, a scientific genius, has disappeared under suspicious circumstances from the top secret institute where he works.
Sarah couldn't be more alone in the world, until she meets Angel Muldoon, a half-Gypsy stable boy who carries a secret of his own. Together they will begin an incredible journey to another world, where they must return the stone to its rightful place and keep the forces of unimaginable evil at bay.
Review: Amazing, amazing, amazing! I'm giving this one four and a half roses only because I don't give anything five roses. I've read a ton of fantasy and I've never read anything quite like it. It's so unique, and draws you in from the start, keeps you reading until you finish it.
The characters were so interesting. Sarah was very mature for being fourteen, which in my opinion always makes it easier to like a character, and made her even more real. And Angel - love him. He's in at least half of the scenes in the book, but I still wish there had been more of him because he was so awesome. By no means, though, were all the characters likable. The aunt and uncle who Sarah lived with after losing her parents were honestly horrendous and you could see easily why she hated living with them. There was nothing in particular, they just came over as horrible in general, which showcases the author's writing talent.
One gorgeous example of the author's writing is in describing the Stone.
From page 81-82:
At first it had looked black and opaque. Now she saw it was not black at all, but a deep pure blue, the ethereal blue of a winter twilight deepening into night. Hidden in its depths, among veils of clouds, glimmered a universe of tiny silver stars.I have two qualms. I wasn't a huge fan of her brother Sam, but I'm not even sure why. He just wasn't my favourite character (Angel was). The other thing that I didn't love was the ending. It was very well written and suited the story really well, but it wasn't what I wanted to happen. It made me tear up, though.
Conclusion: My copy was a reprint from 2007, I believe (does anyone know what the original cover looks like? Just out of curiousity) as it was originally printed in 1993, but stands the test of time. It sounds like it could have been written today, other than a lack of mentions of cell phones and computers and such, but that wasn't particularly noticable. I don't say this often, but I'd love to see this made into a movie, if it was done well. Again, I'm going to say this is an amazing book that fantasy, science fiction, really any kind of book fan should read. Four and a half roses. Read it!!!
Peace and cookies,