Review Detail

Middle Grade Fiction 125
Listen to the voice of the earth.
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What worked:
Nora is a sixteen-year-old peasant girl with a rare talent for pulling energy from stones to concoct potions called revars. There are seven different kinds of stones holding unique powers, and the various kingdoms take extreme measures to ensure no one has all of them at the same time. It’s not clear what might happen if someone succeeds since it’s never happened before. Nora’s teacher tells her that her ability to concoct will draw the interest of all the rulers, so she needs to be careful about who knows. That may be a problem since in the opening chapters a prince catches her in the royal kitchen while she’s concocting a revar.
Nora’s devotion to her family and her empathy for others make her a character to be admired. Her sole reason for sneaking into the royal kitchen is to create an elixir to save her little sister. Even while being chased by soldiers, Nora is willing to sacrifice her own freedom to save her. She convinces soldiers to let her brother go, so he’ll be able to take the revar to their sister. Nora feels regret for losing her mentor’s ancient book, and she fears for an old woman’s safety after she provides Nora with a map. Later, Nora risks imprisonment in order to save the life of a pursuer.
The author includes clues along the way to give the plot a mysterious air. The first and biggest is Nora’s ability to draw power from stones. The ability itself isn’t uncommon, but the depth of her ability decimates a Ballutite stone by pulling all of its energy which shouldn’t be possible. She’s unaware of what she’s done and doesn’t understand the voice she starts hearing in her head. Ancient legends and myths talk of rocks having souls, but most people remember them simply as old stories and reasons for holding traditional celebrations. All of these details create a sense that there’s more going on than what’s on the surface of the plot.
What didn’t work as well:
The conflict and story are interesting, but there isn’t a sense of urgency and intensity. In the beginning, it seems like Nora’s sister needs a cure immediately, but as the chapters go along, that thinking eases. Her sister has a serious problem but it’s not like she’s near death. Perhaps Nora’s concern epitomizes her empathy for her family.
The Final Verdict:
Listen to the voice of the earth. Nora’s kindness and determination allow readers to easily connect to her character, and the supernatural air makes the story intriguing. Her confrontations with the prince make their relationship a question of whether they are friends or foes. Overall, this book is very entertaining and I highly recommend you give it a shot.
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