Sunday, 15 March 2015

Review: Stonebird by Mike Revell

| Publication Date: February 5th 2015 |
| Publisher: Quercus Publishing
| Source: Review copy

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Blurb : 

When eleven-year-old Liam moves house to be closer to his grandma, he's thrown into an unfamiliar place, with a family that seems to be falling apart.

Liam doesn't remember what Grandma was like before she became ill with dementia. He only knows the witch-like old woman who snaps and snarls and eats her birthday cards. He desperately wants to make everything better, but he can't.

Escaping the house one evening, Liam discovers an old stone gargoyle in a rundown church, and his life changes in impossible ways.

The gargoyle is alive. It moves unseen in the night, acting out Liam's stories. And stories can be dangerous things . . .

But Liam's grandma's illness is getting worse, his mum isn't coping, and his sister is skipping school.

What if the gargoyle is the only thing that can save Liam's family?

A big thank you to Quercus for sending me this copy in exchange for a full and honest review. My review has been in no way impacted by receiving this copy for review. 

This book can be described in a single word ...... Magic. 

The magical and fantastical element of the story really revolves around the gargoyle and his connection to Danny. I really enjoyed reading about the gargoyle and his abilities in this novel. The gargoyle lent a fairy tale sort of atmosphere to the novel which I found very enjoyable. 

Danny, our protagonist, is a young man going through many changes. He is growing up, moving house, trying to fit in at school, visit his sick grandmother and also try and deal with a magic gargoyle following him! Danny has so much on his plate I was surprised he didn't go crazy! Danny provided an incredibly fresh, young and innocent voice to the story. I loved reading about this novel through Danny's eyes. 

Danny's sister Jess was also a good character but I did think she was a little selfish at times, which annoyed me as I would always put my siblings first if need be. I wasn't the biggest fan of Danny's mother but came to warm a little more to her later in the novel, although I still think she was not a great mother for Danny. 

I also loved Danny's relationships with the other characters. Danny's bond witty his dog, Daisy,  was beautiful to read about. The bond Daisy and Danny have is so lovely. Daisy is Danny's best friend and is always there for him.

I wasn't the biggest fan of Matt, or his father, but grew to not dislike them by the end of the novel all that much. Danny's new teacher at his new school was also great to read about as she was a really good teacher who connected with her pupils. 

One of my favourite things about this novel was just how realistic it is. Yes, i know you're probably thinking "how can a gargoyle be in a realistic book?" and yes you're quite right that the gargoyle is unrealistic but it is more along the lines of the themes of the novel I am referring to. From Danny's bullying, moving schools, alcoholism or living with / knowing someone with dementia, Stonebird covers a vast amount of serious topics in such a small amount of pages that it really packs a punch and leaves a connection wit the reader. 

Overall Stonebird is a great debut novel. Full of fantastical fairy tale elements, the novel also is laced with realistic problems. I would recommend this novel for 10+ . 

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