When we first meet George in Stoneheart, he is not a very likable guy. He’s rather wimpy, trying to avoid conflict, mad at his mom, feeling guilty about his dad’s death, in trouble with his teacher. Then, he breaks off the head of a stone dragon outside a London museum.
And his world changes. The statues come to life – gargoyles and dragons start chasing him around London. No one else can see the statues moving, except Edie – a girl who impulsively decides to share his adventures when she sees George and another statue running across a park.
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Stoneheart. It is action-packed, and rather scary, so I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone under sixth grade.
The change in George as he battles the taints (bad statues), makes friends with the spits (good statues) and tries to figure out why all this is happening to him is, I think, the most compelling part of the story. At the end of the book, the author cleverly points out the change in George for the reader, so even the most obtuse reader recognizes it.
I also found the reason for the battle between the taints & spits very interesting. All the spits are made in the ‘spit and image’ of people, so they have a quality of the artist that the taints do not have. Fletcher does a great job of describing the agony he sees in some of the taints, and why they hate the spits.
Stoneheart is the first book in a trilogy – a trilogy so tightly written, I consider it one book. The story comes to a bit of a resolution at the end of Stoneheart, and also at the end of Ironhand (book 2), but it’s not fully resolved until the end of Silvertongue. So, if you start reading it, be prepared to read all three books.
I’d like to point out one thing about worldview. In Ironhand & Silvertongue, there are a couple of references to the author’s worldview, which is that evil and good balance each other out in the world. This is a Buddhist belief – the ying & the yang – the balance of good and evil.
For some parents, this is not a problem, but if you are teaching your children to have a Biblical perspective it is a problem – but not insurmountable. I suggest you point those sections out to your child, and discuss with him what the Biblical perspective is: God is good, and has allowed evil on this earth. It appears that evil and good are balanced and fighting it out, but according to the Bible, that is only because God is allowing it for now. God is all-powerful and creator, and He will defeat evil easily when He is ready.
Other great points of discussion for parents teaching from a Biblical perspective:
- spits being made in the image of their creator, with a quality of their creator – which correlates nicely to God creating humans in His image, with a quality of Himself which sets humanity apart from the rest of creation;
- the necessity of forgiveness – both in George forgiving his mother and himself – which is the central theme of the Bible; and
- George’s journey to being a stronger, better person. That journey included many, many hard things, including forgiving, without which he would still be the wimpy kid at the beginning of the book. The same is true in our lives – hard times make us stronger.
Other books in this series: