Isle of Blood and Stone (Isle of Blood and Stone, #1)
Ulises asked, "How can I look at these maps, see this riddle, and do nothing? They are my brothers."Elias reached across the table and flicked aside two shells with a fingertip. The map curled into itself. "It's bound to be a goose chase. You know that?""Or a treasure hunt," Ulises countered, "and you've always been good at those."Nineteen-year-old Elias is a royal explorer, a skilled mapmaker, and the new king of del Mar's oldest friend. Soon he will embark on the adventure of a lifetime, an expedition past the Strait of Cain and into uncharted waters. Nothing stands in his way...until a long-ago tragedy creeps back into the light, threatening all he holds dear.The people of St. John del Mar have never recovered from the loss of their boy princes, kidnapped eighteen years ago, both presumed dead. But when two maps surface, each bearing the same hidden riddle, troubling questions arise. What really happened to the young heirs? And why do the maps appear to be drawn by Lord Antoni, Elias's father, who vanished on that same fateful day? With the king's beautiful cousin by his side—whether he wants her there or not—Elias will race to solve the riddle of the princes. He will have to use his wits and guard his back. Because some truths are better left buried...and an unknown enemy stalks his every turn.

Isle of Blood and Stone (Isle of Blood and Stone, #1) Details

TitleIsle of Blood and Stone (Isle of Blood and Stone, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 10th, 2018
PublisherHoughton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN-139780544968608
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult

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Isle of Blood and Stone (Isle of Blood and Stone, #1) Review

  • Cait • A Page with a View
    January 1, 1970
    There were a lot of elements in this story I enjoyed and I'm interested enough to check out the next book! The setting was strong, I loved the maps, and the characters were all great. I'm not super enthusiastic about anything BUT I still liked it.I think this one will appeal to readers who get into stories that are more peaceful... it felt like a cup of tea that was going to take its time to steep. There wasn't a ton of adventure and nothing was particularly gripping, but that doesn't mean it wa There were a lot of elements in this story I enjoyed and I'm interested enough to check out the next book! The setting was strong, I loved the maps, and the characters were all great. I'm not super enthusiastic about anything BUT I still liked it.I think this one will appeal to readers who get into stories that are more peaceful... it felt like a cup of tea that was going to take its time to steep. There wasn't a ton of adventure and nothing was particularly gripping, but that doesn't mean it was boring or slow! There was a sense of mystery and some decent character development. I do wish I would've connected more with the writing style, though. It felt like it was sort of holding me at a distance and I wanted to get into everything more. Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC.
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  • Katerina Kondrenko
    January 1, 1970
    8 out of 10 Finally! Finally a good YA fantasy with a hint of a romance, a lot of adventures, mysteries and a nice pacing. People, just wait. I think you would love it too.
  • may ➹
    January 1, 1970
    despite being sent an ARC of this, I quite honestly have no idea what this is aboutbut I do know that it’s a book about brothers, and if there’s anything I’m soft for, it’s sweet sibling relationships!!! (and girls)thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Teen for sending me this!!
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  • Bitchin' Reads
    January 1, 1970
    Y'ALL BEST BE PRE-ORDERING THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW. I WILL BUG YOU UNTIL YOU DO SO.HOLY HELL, OH MY GOODNESS, I AM SLAIN. SOMEONE COME PROP ME UP. I WANT THE SEQUEL. MAKIIA, HAVE PITY ON ME. BEFRIEND ME. SHARE THE SECOND BOOK WITH ME. OH MY GOD.
  • Beatrice (beatriceinbookland)
    January 1, 1970
    *I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*"How can I look at these maps, see this riddle, and do nothing? They are my brothers."DNF @32% The beginning was promising, it was intriguing and it made me want to keep reading to find out what happened to the brothers. But, as soon as I got to the now part, I was so confused that I found myself reading the same sentence more than once or twice.Why did I get so confused? Well, the author was trying to add some world building by *I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*"How can I look at these maps, see this riddle, and do nothing? They are my brothers."DNF @32% The beginning was promising, it was intriguing and it made me want to keep reading to find out what happened to the brothers. But, as soon as I got to the now part, I was so confused that I found myself reading the same sentence more than once or twice.Why did I get so confused? Well, the author was trying to add some world building by just telling and not showing and the more I kept reading the more I was like where the hell are the protagonists right now?? There were just too many names and characters that the protagonists already know and that we're introduced to without a single explanation.At least the protagonist - Elias - isn't bad. He's a traveler and his scenes with his family were adorable, I loved his relationship with his stepfather and stepbrothers. Actually, I think that the scenes where he was interacting with his family were the only ones I enjoyed.So all in all, Isle of blood and stone isn't a bad book, it's just a bit boring and incredibly confusing and I don't want to waste time to read something I'm not enjoying.
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  • anna (readingpeaches)
    January 1, 1970
    book: how can i do nothing? they are my brothersme: SOLD™
  • mith
    January 1, 1970
    4.5!! To rate up or down? I don't know!But still—WHAT AN AMAZING BOOK. Gosh I love it. Review to come!!!
  • Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔
    January 1, 1970
    The cover is a huge bore, but the synopsis sounds fantastic and I love me a good mystery adventure so let's hope this is a good one!
  • Sara (sarabara081)
    January 1, 1970
    You can find more of my reviews at Forever 17 Books.I love anything with maps, exploring and adventure! It really brings me back to my childhood and everything I loved as a kid. The promise of those such things in the blurb for Isle of Blood and Stone grabbed my attention and I can honestly say I had a lot of fun reading this one!The story revolves around the events that happened 18 years ago when there was an attack on a party of people that included two young princes, the Royal Navigator Anton You can find more of my reviews at Forever 17 Books.I love anything with maps, exploring and adventure! It really brings me back to my childhood and everything I loved as a kid. The promise of those such things in the blurb for Isle of Blood and Stone grabbed my attention and I can honestly say I had a lot of fun reading this one!The story revolves around the events that happened 18 years ago when there was an attack on a party of people that included two young princes, the Royal Navigator Antoni, and so many others. Most everyone that day was poisoned and those who weren’t disappeared and were believed dead, murdered by another kingdom and then subsequently started a war. That is until maps are found made with a skill and likeness of a certain presumed dead navigator that could only have been made more recently than the previous tragic event. Determined to find answers, King Ulises, Elias, and Mercedes embark on a secret mission to find out what happened to the family they lost that day.As these three discovered clues hidden in the map, they find themselves on a adventure through spooky woods haunted with spirits, dangerous waters infested with sea serpents, and more! The more answers they uncovered the more they realized the real dangers lurked much closer than they could have expected. I loved uncovering all the little secrets and clues along the way and even though I tried to piece together everything myself, there was quite a bit that surprised me!I really enjoyed the characters and the relationships they had with each other. They were all so selfless and compassionate. I especially enjoyed Mercedes as a strong and smart heroine. There is a touch of romance that brews between her and Elias in that perfect slow burn I love. There is also the spunky Reyna, a 9 year old future mapmaker and explorer who doesn’t let being a girl stop her from her dreams, despite what others may say. She was my very own hidden gem of the story and probably my favorite of them all.All in all, I found myself completely swept away by this story! It’s not particularly fast paced or filled with action like I thought it might be but I found myself completely okay with that. It kept my attention with all of its mysteries to unravel and was never boring. I had a lot of fun reading this book and I think many others will also find a great adventure to partake in!
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  • Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)
    January 1, 1970
    “Adventurer, two princes lost but not gone. Follow the path of the ancient mariners, Tramontana to Ostro. Look not to what is there, but to what is not.” Yeah, I didn’t love this as much as I wanted which really seems to be the story of my life lately. I just know this is going to be a completely forgettable read for me. For so much of this story I just didn’t care, and I feel like a lot of it was because I wasn’t invested in the world. I feel like I didn’t know enough about the setting or t “Adventurer, two princes lost but not gone. Follow the path of the ancient mariners, Tramontana to Ostro. Look not to what is there, but to what is not.” Yeah, I didn’t love this as much as I wanted which really seems to be the story of my life lately. I just know this is going to be a completely forgettable read for me. For so much of this story I just didn’t care, and I feel like a lot of it was because I wasn’t invested in the world. I feel like I didn’t know enough about the setting or the characters. While I did enjoy the family and friendship moments with Elias, Mercedes, Ulises and some of the others, they weren’t enough to pull me in. It felt like someone was telling me a story without giving me all the background. I just didn’t get the motivations for the villain, or know enough about the worldbuilding or politics. I just didn’t care and was underwhelmed. I received a copy of the book from HMH via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Aila
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsIsle of Blood and Stone comes off to me as one of those quieter YA fantasies that are hidden gems. It’s not fast-paced, nor does it have tons of thrilling action. But the characterizations fuel the story as we follow on an 18-year old mystery that needs to be solved. Despite the sedate pace, I enjoyed the emphasis in the story on maps and following the political intrigue within St. John del Mar. There’s a marked focus on character relationships and heading into danger, as well as fantas 3.5 starsIsle of Blood and Stone comes off to me as one of those quieter YA fantasies that are hidden gems. It’s not fast-paced, nor does it have tons of thrilling action. But the characterizations fuel the story as we follow on an 18-year old mystery that needs to be solved. Despite the sedate pace, I enjoyed the emphasis in the story on maps and following the political intrigue within St. John del Mar. There’s a marked focus on character relationships and heading into danger, as well as fantastical elements that add flavor to the story. I’d recommend Isle of Blood and Stone to fantasy readers who don’t mind less action in favor of characterization and solving mysteries. It’s for sure a deviation from the princes and princesses route that YA fantasies like to take.Review to come!
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  • Chantal
    January 1, 1970
    *I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*I arrived at 22% but I could not finish it!As far as I arrived, the book was boring and practically nothing happened, what a pity.
  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    I was sent this ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.How can I look at these maps, see this riddle, and do nothing? They are my brothers. This book is WOW amazing. It looks like a fantasy, but it's actually a mystery/romance/court intrigue novel in disguise. If that doesn't grab your attention, think An Ember in the Ashes crossed with Eragon. I started reading this, unsure what to expect, and I was hooked. From beginning to end, you'll be guessing - what happene I was sent this ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.How can I look at these maps, see this riddle, and do nothing? They are my brothers. This book is WOW amazing. It looks like a fantasy, but it's actually a mystery/romance/court intrigue novel in disguise. If that doesn't grab your attention, think An Ember in the Ashes crossed with Eragon. I started reading this, unsure what to expect, and I was hooked. From beginning to end, you'll be guessing - what happened to the missing princes? Who drew the maps? Who was behind the tragedy that caused one kingdom to destroy another in retaliation? The story unfolds in agonizing suspense. My only complaint is that at times, the main character can be a little scatter-brained and careless...but. He is nineteen. Teenage brain is a thing.
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  • J.A. Ironside
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest reviewDNF at 50%I'm not going to rate this one. I think it might be a strong case of it's not you, it's me. I hate DNFing books especially ARCs but this is just doing nothing for me. I don't dislike it nor do I like it. I am not engaged with the plot or the characters or the world building. I don't think this is the author's fault exactly, it's just a complete miss where I'm concerned. Others have rated this book highly and I feel like I must b ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest reviewDNF at 50%I'm not going to rate this one. I think it might be a strong case of it's not you, it's me. I hate DNFing books especially ARCs but this is just doing nothing for me. I don't dislike it nor do I like it. I am not engaged with the plot or the characters or the world building. I don't think this is the author's fault exactly, it's just a complete miss where I'm concerned. Others have rated this book highly and I feel like I must be reading a different book to them. There is just nothing for me to get hold of. At halfway through I still feel like I'm waiting for the story to start. I don't mind quiet fantasy but this is too slow even for me.This is fantasy in the sense that it's set in an alternate world but don't expect magic or fantastical creatures. Or a lot of action tbh. This one just wasn't for me.
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  • Jackie
    January 1, 1970
    I needed a good read and when my friend recommended this, I was happy to take her advice. I sure am glad I did! I enjoyed this very much. I look forward to the companion!*Disclosure: I work for HMH, but I do not review HMH titles unless I feel extremely strongly about them as a reader. They have to be something special if I'm going to review them. This is one of those very special ones.
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  • Staci Vought
    January 1, 1970
    I really liked this one, and am grateful to Netgalley for the ARC. It was a good adventure story with likable characters, a plot that was easy enough to follow, and a male protagonist! I am eager for it to be released!
  • Alanna
    January 1, 1970
    In Isle of Blood and Stone, Makiia Lucier explores the repercussions of a story eighteen years in the making, that began when two princes vanished. Now, eighteen years later, a riddle hidden on a recently uncovered mysterious map could chart a course towards the truth and the missing royals. Set to be released in North America on April 10, 2018, this historical fantasy that's perfect for fans of Rachel Hartman and Tamora Pierce! (I would like to thank Raincoast Books for providing me with an Adv In Isle of Blood and Stone, Makiia Lucier explores the repercussions of a story eighteen years in the making, that began when two princes vanished. Now, eighteen years later, a riddle hidden on a recently uncovered mysterious map could chart a course towards the truth and the missing royals. Set to be released in North America on April 10, 2018, this historical fantasy that's perfect for fans of Rachel Hartman and Tamora Pierce! (I would like to thank Raincoast Books for providing me with an Advance Reader’s Copy of Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier in exchange for an honest review). Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier is a sweeping fantasy full of intrigue and schemes, romance and friendship, and fearless explorers searching for the truth. Combining rich descriptions with a compelling mystery, Lucier creates a vibrant world populated by appealing characters, adventure subtle magical elements, a hint of romance, and a dose of political intrigue (Publishers Weekly). In Isle of Blood and Stone, Lucier paints a vivid world where sea serpents abound, royal mapmakers spend their lives at sea, and everyone has a secret to keep. Readers will find the subtle hints of magic, like sea serpents and malevolent spirits, littered throughout the story intriguing, reminding them that while the world may feel familiar to a historical setting in our own world, the island and archipelago of islands that Elias, Ulises, and Mercedes inhabit is not the same as our world, and will never be. Furthermore, the original setting of the tale, which highlights a powerful seafaring nation nestled in an archipelago of islands that exist in tenuous harmony, is rich and well described. The world is not simply a setting either - it is an active part of the story, shaping the adventures of the protagonists throughout Isle of Blood and Stone. Furthermore, I absolutely loved the protagonists in this novel - Elias, Ulises, Mercedes, and even young Reyna, made for an enjoyable reading experience. They were all strong, selfless and, compassionate characters who will really draw the reader into the story. Elias is clever, has a curious mind, and the soul of an adventurer, a combination which led him to follow in his father's footsteps to become a cartographer. While this is a tad bit of an unusual role when it comes to Young Adult Fantasy characters, Lucier really made Elias' role as a cartographer work, especially in relation to the treasure maps and riddles Reyna discovers. Ulises is a typical Young Adult Fantasy King in that he initially comes across as quite spoiled and ignorant, but in his plight to uncover the truth behind the mystery of his brothers' disappearances eighteen years ago, he grows a lot as an individual, eventually displaying his grit and character to make some tough decisions. Mercedes is a strong and smart heroine, unwilling to compromise her own goals and values simply for the men in her life. She also withstands constant abuse and discrimination as a result of her mixed race, but she does not allow it to break her spirit, highlighting her strength. There is also touch of romance that brews between Mercedes and Elias in that perfect slow burn that will make readers keep turning the pages, just hoping for more. Neither is willing to compromise their dreams and goals for the other, but still they cannot resist the irresistible draw to the other that they feel, making for a read ripe with romantic tension. Finally, Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier is first a foremost a mystery, lined with adventure and romance. The mystery of the missing princes, the curious maps, and what happened on that day eighteen years ago is central to the plot, driving the actions of the protagonists (and the villains). And while I really enjoyed the mystery aspect of the story, I felt that it perhaps left something to be desired in terms of the build up towards the reveal. When all the secrets were revealed, I just felt kind of confused, and perhaps a bit cheated. Lucier had dropped just enough breadcrumbs to make Elias' conclusions reasonable, but not nearly enough to make it seem realistic that he could have solved the mystery with the information he had. The mystery definitely could have been more fleshed out, but as it stands, there was enough information for the reader to still enjoy the journey, and leave them not too confused at the reveal.Overall, Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier was an enjoyable story as a result of the rich and well-developed setting, highlighting Lucier's world-building skills, and because of the enjoyable cast of characters. However, the story was a bit slow for my liking, and the mystery would have benefited from more attention to ensure that the reader was able to understand how Elias solved the riddle of the maps to uncover what exactly happened eighteen years ago (4/5). 
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  • Ashley
    January 1, 1970
    Read the full review, and my weirdly specific look at leprosy here!Isle of Blood and Stone is fantastic. Sorry, I had more to say about leprosy before, but yes, the book is very very good. Leprosy plays a vital role in the novel, which made me love it more as it enabled me to go on the above tirade. Eighteen years ago, Bartolome and Teodor, two young princes of the Kingdom of St. John del Mar were kidnapped, along with famous navigator, Lord Antoni. It was assumed that the princes and Lord Anton Read the full review, and my weirdly specific look at leprosy here!Isle of Blood and Stone is fantastic. Sorry, I had more to say about leprosy before, but yes, the book is very very good. Leprosy plays a vital role in the novel, which made me love it more as it enabled me to go on the above tirade. Eighteen years ago, Bartolome and Teodor, two young princes of the Kingdom of St. John del Mar were kidnapped, along with famous navigator, Lord Antoni. It was assumed that the princes and Lord Antoni were to be held for ransom, but instead they were killed when their ship sank. The neighboring Island of Mondrago got the blame, and after a Mondrogan soldier was tortured into a confession, del Mar invaded Mondrago and razed it to the ground. Ever since, the people of del Mar have hated Mondrago, to the extent that they will even spit at people who are half Mondragan.Anyway, Isle of Blood and Stone starts off eighteen years after the event. Ulises, the youngest prince who was just a baby when his brothers disappeared, has become king. Lord Antoni’s son, Elias, has become a Navigator/Explorer/Mapmaker/Sailor in his own right. Elias is definitely in love with the king’s cousin, the expert spy Mercedes, who has the misfortune to be half Mondrogan on del Mar. Mercedes, with the help of Reyna, granddaughter of master navigator Lord Silva, has discovered a strange map. It is a map that could only have been painted by Lord Antoni - but it features landmarks that didn’t exist until ten years prior. Meaning Lord Antoni was around ten years ago. Meaning he might be alive. And if he’s alive, there’s a chance Bartolome and Teodor are alive, too.Well, shit.Ulises asks Elias for his help in solving the riddles embedded in the map. This all must be handled delicately - Ulises is in a precarious position if it turns out his two older brother are still alive, and Elias’s mother has since happily remarried, having three other children with her second husband. And in the world of del Mar, bigamy is a serious crime, and if it turns out Antoni is still alive, Elias’s younger sisters and brother will be forever shamed as bastards. So rather than going with a traditional fantasy scenario of “holy shit, [insert person here] is still alive, that’s awesome!” the reaction is more realistic: it’s been nearly two decades, everyone has already moved on, if two princes and a lord were to suddenly reappear, it would be great at first, but would mean bad news for a lot of people.Oh, yeah, and remember that whole “they razed Mondrago to the ground because they supposedly murdered the princes and Lord Antoni” thing? Yeah, that, too.So Elias, with the help of Mercedes, set off to do their best to solve this puzzle without starting a war, ruining their lives, or creating political chaos. Good luck!This book is awesome. It’s exciting, the characters are great,and the world is lush and beautiful. It reminds me of a more tropical, technically advanced version of Earthsea. There’s some subtle magic in there, too, that I really really want to see more of. I believe this is the first in a series - why do I keep getting attached to serieses? - but I will definitely be looking out for the next books. I have one criticism of this book, but to mention it would be to spoil the end, so I will keep that to myself for now. Still, it’s a great story.Also, shout out to Makiia Lucier who wrote A Death-Struck Year - one of the few YA historical fiction books set in early 20th Century Portland. There’s not a lot of Portland-set historical fiction out there…or maybe there is and I just can’t find it. If you know some, let me know, please.
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  • Jenni
    January 1, 1970
    I discovered this book online last month and I read the blurb and just knew I wanted to read this book! I started reading it one evening and I just didn't want to stop, it instantly captured my attention. It was fantastic from the first page. Though I am a little sad that I have finished the book already. However, the ending of the book left some wonderful possibilities open and I have a feeling that the next book is going to be amazing as well.The Isle of Blood and Stone doesn't have any magic I discovered this book online last month and I read the blurb and just knew I wanted to read this book! I started reading it one evening and I just didn't want to stop, it instantly captured my attention. It was fantastic from the first page. Though I am a little sad that I have finished the book already. However, the ending of the book left some wonderful possibilities open and I have a feeling that the next book is going to be amazing as well.The Isle of Blood and Stone doesn't have any magic in it, which makes it an unusual read for me, however, what it lacks in magic it really makes up for with well written characters, incredible world-building and a good old fashioned mystery. I was left guessing right up until the big reveal - though you will get no spoilers from me. I found the suspense really helped pull the pace of the book along without making me want to read so fast that I skipped over descriptions.Talking of descriptions; the world-building in The Isle of Blood and Stone is incredible, Lucier creates a vivid world with a strong focus on sailing and exploration, which I found really interesting. Everything in the kingdom of St John del Mar is focused around the sea from their laws to their food, even their currency, with silver shells and gold squids! The world created in the book is so vivid, and I loved that there were so many unique experiences we could enjoy with the protagonist Elias, from cockfighting to a trip to the Barber-Surgeon. I loved the main three characters, Elias the explorer, Ulises the king of St John del Mar and Mercedes the king's cousin, who is a strong and very independent female character, it's always nice to read about one of those! They were all so different and all so well written. I enjoyed reading the banter between the three of them. The friendship between these three character was lovely to read. At the start of the book you could feel that the dynamic had recently changed. Ulises had recently become king at the start of the book, and as a result everything was off kilter, and yet their friendship and loyalty to each other held them together, and only grew stronger throughout the book.Besides the main trio I have to say that Reyna, a girl of nine, was a character that really stood out in The Isle of Blood Stone - I love the way she was written. It was nice to have two strong female characters in a book, characters that were changing the rules instead of living by them! The main thread of the plot is a mystery to be solved which starts off with a riddle on a map, and I have to admit from the very beginning I was hooked. I needed to know the answer, and for me when the answer came it was not one I expected at all! I also really enjoyed the fact that the mystery was not the only thing drawing the book along, we still had time for rich and fabulous descriptions, we still got to meet a wide range of vivid and unique characters. I really enjoyed The Isle of Blood and Stone, and I would definitely recommend it to any fantasy fans. I have already convinced my husband that he needs to read it once he has finished with his current re-read of Robin Hobb's books.
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  • Aditi ~ •A Thousand Words A Million Books
    January 1, 1970
    Actual Rating 3.5 StarsAS SEEN ON: A THOUSAND WORDS A MILLION BOOKS I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own. It’s been a while since I read anything an adventure/ mystery type of book that didn’t focus so much on a rebellion but more on a quest and a riddle, which is also why I was so excited about this book going in! In all honesty, it took me forever to connect with all of the characters. On top of the main ch Actual Rating 3.5 StarsAS SEEN ON: A THOUSAND WORDS A MILLION BOOKS I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own. It’s been a while since I read anything an adventure/ mystery type of book that didn’t focus so much on a rebellion but more on a quest and a riddle, which is also why I was so excited about this book going in! In all honesty, it took me forever to connect with all of the characters. On top of the main characters and the plot, there were also so many secondary characters, and LOCATIONS and well, it took me a while to connect and care about this world. As soon as I did, however, Isle of Blood and Stone suddenly became a whole lot better. There was one clue after another coming to light, a fearless girl and hints of romance, actual political problems and betrayals and murder and I really liked it. Let’s break it down: IDEA: I’ve never actually read a book about a cartographer, especially one set in a fantasy world, and I was SO INTRIGUED by the idea behind it all. I’ve loved books about solving clues and cases since I first read Nancy Drew and I was really looking forward to this book. PLOT: Like I said, it was a little difficult to connect with the world, despite the fact that I was excited to read the book. I find this happening so much more often with fantasy novels these days (Am I reading too much? Is there such a thing?) but after sticking to the book, I did manage to come out on the other side. I really liked the plot structure, and all the secondary characters. I loved how Elias uncovered the conspiracy that started a war eighteen years ago, the map-making elements and the personal growth every character went through. I especially loved mundane things that built up the world in the book – small, political things that made everything so much more real. CHARACTERS: While I liked the characters (specifically Lady Mercedes and Lady Reyna) I didn’t fall in love with them. I liked their stories, and felt happy at their ending and liked the way they were grown, that essential spark was just missing. I definitely liked Elias’ curious mind and kind soul, and his relationship with Lady Mercedes was adorable. WRITING: I don’t know if it was the characters or the writing, but while I find no real fault with this book, it lacked something that kept me from falling head over heels in love with it. I, in a nutshell, liked this book fine but I didn’t love it, and I don’t know why. CONCLUSION: It was a different book, with amazing world building and ended up being a great one time read. It’s just not the kind of thing I loved so much to pick up again.
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  • Darcie Caswell
    January 1, 1970
    In the first few pages of this book, the first and second in line to the throne of Del Mar are kidnapped and their retinue of guards is left murdered. The story then jumps ahead 18 years, and we learn the two kidnapped princes died while being abducted and their younger brother, Ulises, has ascended the throne. New to the throne and still learning how to be a king, he is aided by his cousin, Mercedes, and his friend, Elias. When a map with a mysterious message about his brothers is brought to th In the first few pages of this book, the first and second in line to the throne of Del Mar are kidnapped and their retinue of guards is left murdered. The story then jumps ahead 18 years, and we learn the two kidnapped princes died while being abducted and their younger brother, Ulises, has ascended the throne. New to the throne and still learning how to be a king, he is aided by his cousin, Mercedes, and his friend, Elias. When a map with a mysterious message about his brothers is brought to the king, he calls in Mercedes and Elias for help to figure out what it all means. Adventure, intrigue, strong male and female characters, and a quick moving plot make this a page turner from the very beginning. Kirkus and Publishers Weekly say ages 12 and up; School Library Journal says grades 9 and up, but there is nothing in the book that would be inappropriate for middle schoolers, no bad language, a couple of “light” kissing scenes, no drinking or drugs, the violence is not graphic. Elias is the son of the Royal Navigator, who was kidnapped and died along with the princes (he was tutoring one of the princes at the time). Elias is like his father, with a passion for mapmaking and a desire to see the world. He travels on royal ships and creates maps of the areas they explore.Mercedes is cousin to King Ulises, her father was brother to King Andres (Ulises father) and her mother a Mondregan. This is problematic for Mercedes, as it was the Mondregans who plotted, poisoned the princes' guard, and kidnapped the princes. Since that day, all of Del Mar hates teh Mondregans, Mercedes along with them. The only thing that protects her (somewhat) from the ire of the Del Marians is that she is cousin to the king. It doesn't always protect her, though, as she sometimes has people spit on her and sling insults. Mercedes is a diplomat for the king, visiting neighboring islands and lands to maintain friendly relationships. She is smart, bold, and brave. As a girl she broke rules by learning to fight, and she carries knives to protect herself and those she is with. She is also a diplomat, though, so is also good at hiding her feelings and putting her feelings aside to achieve the goals of her king and land. This is an adventure story, but is also about family, friendship, and betrayal. Mercedes, Elias and Ulises are young adults, in their late teens and early twenties, and in this story have some of their first experiences with finding out that people are not always who they seem.I loved this story, it had me hooked from the first few pages and was a book I couldn't put down. Not only is the plot quick-moving, but the characters are interesting and well-developed and their relationships are realistic and interesting.Loved it!
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  • M.
    January 1, 1970
    Received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.Eighteen years ago, two boy princes were out on a picnic with some of their guards/servants, their maid, and Lord Antoni, a royal mapmaker and explorer. What was supposed to be an ordinary picnic soon turned into a tragedy – all servants and guards were poisoned while the princes, Lord Antoni, and the maid disappeared. This brought about a war with a neighboring kingdom that ended with Del Mar’s victory. But the missing were never found.Elias Received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.Eighteen years ago, two boy princes were out on a picnic with some of their guards/servants, their maid, and Lord Antoni, a royal mapmaker and explorer. What was supposed to be an ordinary picnic soon turned into a tragedy – all servants and guards were poisoned while the princes, Lord Antoni, and the maid disappeared. This brought about a war with a neighboring kingdom that ended with Del Mar’s victory. But the missing were never found.Elias is the son of Lord Antoni as well as a royal mapmaker and explorer himself. His best friends are Ulises, the recently appointed king of Del Mar, and Mercedes, the cousin of the king. When they discover two maps that have supposedly been drawn by Lord Antoni and contain clues about the mysterious disappearance eighteen years ago, Elias, Ulises, and Mercedes vow to do whatever it takes to uncover the hidden secrets.I quite enjoyed Isle of Blood and Stone. The pacing of the story was good and constantly had me wondering what clues/secrets our characters would discover next. I’m not sure if would have been obvious to other people but I honestly had no idea who the villain was until the big reveal.I felt the reasoning behind the princes’ disappearances was just a bit anticlimactic and irrational. Especially since the events from the day sparked a war and ended in the opposing country’s defeat. I would have personally liked a bit more on how the villain managed to pull this off successfully. How did he manage to bribe the soldier who confessed falsely and the other people who were involved in the disappearance of the princes? Why was a certain country targeted? And above all, (view spoiler)[if all this happened because the villain wanted to punish the late king and Lord Antoni, why didn't the villain get rid of Elias instead? (hide spoiler)]The characters themselves were likeable. I loved Ulises and Elias’ friendship and how they would trust each other and always have each other’s backs. Mercedes was such a strong heroine who always handled held any unfavorable situations well. The slow burn romance between her and Elias was perfect as well. Also, notable mention to Reyna, the nine-year-old girl who strives to become a royal mapmaker even when everyone tells her girls shouldn’t become one. The ending surprised me. I didn’t expect Ulises to do certain things but for some reason I wholly supported his decisions. I can only imagine the sequel would have some kind of falling-out between him and Elias once Elias discovers what happens. Isle of Blood and Stone was a fun read and I am eagerly anticipating the sequel.
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  • Claire Salmon
    January 1, 1970
    I was Bastian-hiding-in-the-attic-nose-deep-in-the-never-ending-story level reading this epic. You must read this magnificent tale. It's classic wonder, magic. You become a child then grow up again reading this. It's akin to being transported to Earthsea, stepping into Narnia, or, as mentioned earlier, hiding from Gmork. This is a full world, full of characters, full of relationships that will keep you reading--and guessing on the edge of your seat. You'll want to make a blanket fort and hide fr I was Bastian-hiding-in-the-attic-nose-deep-in-the-never-ending-story level reading this epic. You must read this magnificent tale. It's classic wonder, magic. You become a child then grow up again reading this. It's akin to being transported to Earthsea, stepping into Narnia, or, as mentioned earlier, hiding from Gmork. This is a full world, full of characters, full of relationships that will keep you reading--and guessing on the edge of your seat. You'll want to make a blanket fort and hide from your own world until this one releases its serpentine talons from your aching heart. And when you're done, you'll wish you weren't. This book feels like pure discovery, over and over; you are on the ride with the characters, learning delicious secrets, uncovering gorgeous or terrible corners of this lush world. This was the book I needed as a young girl. It's got everything a fantasy needs. There's a cast of strong, epic characters you'll love. The heroes are kind, not just nice. The heroines are strong, and not in a faux-fiesty way. All reckless, daring, and true bound up with a bow. Brotherhood, sisterhood, what makes a family. There's a journey, a mystery, a touch of court intrigue and romantic tension, a pairing worth chasing, a coming of age story, a lesson in compassion, an appreciation for art and mapmaking, a world to get lost in, a book to fall in love with. Treat yourself to this story. It is gorgeous. It is page-turningly captivating. It is enchanting. P.S. I can't count on one hand how many times actual tears popped out of my eyes. Either sad ones or ones of joy that this book exists. LET ME REPEAT, THIS BOOK'S SHEER EXISTENCE MADE ME CRY. GO PRE-ORDER THIS BOOK. THERE'S GOING TO BE ANOTHER AND I LEGITIMATELY MIGHT DIE WAITING FOR IT TO HIT SHELVES.
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  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    This book was everything I wanted and more.While it seemed like the plot of Isle of Blood and Stone was inspired by a wide array of historical events, Lucier took what we thought we knew and made it into her own. While reading I felt like I was in a place that was a cross between Greece, Florin and Guilder, which is a compliment given that any book that gives me Princess Bride vibes is a good book in my opinion.The pacing of Isle of Blood and Stone was also a surprising plus. Sometimes I go into This book was everything I wanted and more.While it seemed like the plot of Isle of Blood and Stone was inspired by a wide array of historical events, Lucier took what we thought we knew and made it into her own. While reading I felt like I was in a place that was a cross between Greece, Florin and Guilder, which is a compliment given that any book that gives me Princess Bride vibes is a good book in my opinion.The pacing of Isle of Blood and Stone was also a surprising plus. Sometimes I go into first books in a series and you can tell the author, whether intentional or not, is trying to cram as much lore into the novel as possible so they can focus on character development in the sequel. While there was lore sprinkled into the narrative of Isle of Blood and Stone, it didn’t overpower the mystery that was unraveling in its pages, making me not be able to wait for the next book.If I had to pick one thing that made this book worth reading, over all of the other positives, is Lucier’s attention to her characters. Yes the world was fleshed out, but the characters were on a whole other level. I usually don’t read YA with a male first person narrative, but I couldn’t imagine reading Isle of Blood and Stone through anyone but Elias. It was so unique to already have him as a cartography mentor that when he principles of map making came up through out the narrative I didn’t have to second guess whether or not I was being fed the truth because he was a reliable source. I also appreciated how he reacted to the various twists and turns Lucier threw his way, so much so in fact that I wasn’t disappointed with his choice of an apprentice at the book’s conclusion.Also, Mercedes is now one of my favourite heroines. Yes, I saw her slow burning romance coming, but she wasn’t just thought up to be the romantic interest. Lucier made Mercedes interesting in her own right, apart from both Elias and Ulises, making her an emissary for the king, and a strong one at that. She generally handled her situation with grace but if she needed to be tough she became ten times tougher, even putting some of the boys exploits to shame. I cannot wait to see where she goes as a character, especially after that ending.
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  • Christina (Ensconced in Lit)
    January 1, 1970
    I was getting tired of fantasy and wasn't sure if I'd like this book, but man, was I wrong! It's a slow burn book, so it took me a little while to get into it, but it was way worth it because the payoff is so satisfying. The book is from several different third person viewpoints, but the most frequent one, Elias, a mapmaker who along with a clever 9 year old, Reyna, find a mysterious map that seems to look like one of his dead father's... the catch is that it was made after his father's death. E I was getting tired of fantasy and wasn't sure if I'd like this book, but man, was I wrong! It's a slow burn book, so it took me a little while to get into it, but it was way worth it because the payoff is so satisfying. The book is from several different third person viewpoints, but the most frequent one, Elias, a mapmaker who along with a clever 9 year old, Reyna, find a mysterious map that seems to look like one of his dead father's... the catch is that it was made after his father's death. Elias, his beautiful love interest and bad ass friend, Mercedes, and his best friend who is now the king, Ulises, try to figure out the mystery, and nothing is as it seems.The characters are great and are well developed and a lot is packed into this richly wrought fantasy. It might seem initially slow to people, but I would recommend sticking with it, because it will be worth it in the end. I loved the story, the world, and the characters and how things are never black and white, but shades of gray.Overall, a beautifully written novel and is intricately plotted. A must read.
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  • Kat
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to #Netgalley and the publisher for the E-Arc copy of this novel.#IsleofBloodandStoneThe novel is unlike anything I have read recently, which is a good thing I enjoy finding new settings and plots. Elias, the main character, is a kind and interesting character. I know this will be a series just on the way it ended, but the author spends a great deal of this novel world building. I didn't mind it, but it does take away from the flow of the novel. It is told from multiple points of view, Thank you to #Netgalley and the publisher for the E-Arc copy of this novel.#IsleofBloodandStoneThe novel is unlike anything I have read recently, which is a good thing I enjoy finding new settings and plots. Elias, the main character, is a kind and interesting character. I know this will be a series just on the way it ended, but the author spends a great deal of this novel world building. I didn't mind it, but it does take away from the flow of the novel. It is told from multiple points of view, which I also thought caused it to be slower paced. I think that the second novel will be much better just with the fact that there was so much world building, plot setting, and story-line to add in.
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  • Liesl
    January 1, 1970
    On the face of it, this is your classic adventure/mystery story in a fantasy setting. A clue turns up after several decades hinting that two kidnapped princes, presumed dead, are actually alive. Some really amazing worldbuilding (I loved the details about the serpents which breathed fire and roamed the kingdom's seas) with lots of small details becoming relevant later on to the overall mystery. But to leave it at that would be simplifying so much of what I loved about this story. The full reperc On the face of it, this is your classic adventure/mystery story in a fantasy setting. A clue turns up after several decades hinting that two kidnapped princes, presumed dead, are actually alive. Some really amazing worldbuilding (I loved the details about the serpents which breathed fire and roamed the kingdom's seas) with lots of small details becoming relevant later on to the overall mystery. But to leave it at that would be simplifying so much of what I loved about this story. The full repercussions of the princes' disappearance is explored, both in Mercedes' family history with people's reactions against her mixed heritage and how their return would threaten all the main characters' statuses: the current king would be deposed; marriages would be rendered invalid; children would become illegitimate. But the real thing that made me fall in love with the story was the maps. All the small details about how important maps were and about the Mapmakers' guild drew me in. I couldn't stop reading this book, finished it in a day. Would wholeheartedly recommend.
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  • Grace
    January 1, 1970
    This was straight up awesome. A mystery, a treasure hunt, royal intrigue, a young king and his friends doing the best they can. It gets dark, but that only makes things more wrenching and interesting. The relationships are good, and the worldbuilding is compellingly detailed without being overwhelming. I honestly don't even know what to say. This was so good.I'm withholding the last full star just because this book didn't rearrange my entire life and change me as a person, but honestly I would g This was straight up awesome. A mystery, a treasure hunt, royal intrigue, a young king and his friends doing the best they can. It gets dark, but that only makes things more wrenching and interesting. The relationships are good, and the worldbuilding is compellingly detailed without being overwhelming. I honestly don't even know what to say. This was so good.I'm withholding the last full star just because this book didn't rearrange my entire life and change me as a person, but honestly I would give it 4.5 if I could, or even a higher fraction. I'm adding Isle of Blood and Stone to my list of books that inspire me to write. I can't wait until I can add it to my physical bookshelf as well.
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  • Zoë Grace
    January 1, 1970
    I saw this on netgalley and instantly fell in love with the cover. Seriously it’s gorgeous. People say ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ but we all do don’t we? The book community thrives on gorgeous covers like this one. So when I saw it, I knew I had to request it. The story follows Elias, who is nineteen years old (I’m only nineteen but my mind is older) and a royal explorer and a highly skilled map maker. When two maps surface, he must take on the mission to find the lost princes. This book I saw this on netgalley and instantly fell in love with the cover. Seriously it’s gorgeous. People say ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ but we all do don’t we? The book community thrives on gorgeous covers like this one. So when I saw it, I knew I had to request it. The story follows Elias, who is nineteen years old (I’m only nineteen but my mind is older) and a royal explorer and a highly skilled map maker. When two maps surface, he must take on the mission to find the lost princes. This book contains plot twists and turns that will have you shook. So glad I got to read this book. Overall, great read. 3 out of 5 stars.
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  • gem
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to netgalley for the chance to read this book.It seemed like the plot was inspired by several true life mysteries, such as the Princes in the Tower, and then given a fantastical YA spin and I loved that!It was full of adventure, secrets, and royal intrigue and the characters and the descriptions jumped off the pages and into my head. I felt like I was there, I wanted to know how it would end and I raced all the way through it. I think it's a book that would benefit from being read mult Thank you to netgalley for the chance to read this book.It seemed like the plot was inspired by several true life mysteries, such as the Princes in the Tower, and then given a fantastical YA spin and I loved that!It was full of adventure, secrets, and royal intrigue and the characters and the descriptions jumped off the pages and into my head. I felt like I was there, I wanted to know how it would end and I raced all the way through it. I think it's a book that would benefit from being read multiple times so I could pick up on all the little hints as to what was going on.I'd recommend it for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Sara Raasch.
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