The Taker’s Stone by Barbara Timberlake Russell
Welcome to Saturday Shorts, where we feature short stories, novellas, and middle-grade books. Today, Kat reads a middle-grade fantasy from her childhood.
Publisher’s Description: The Stones are beautiful — too beautiful not to touch. Holding them, Fischer feels strong, powerful. How can he resist? He will show his smooth-talking cousin David, show his own father that he isn’t afraid to act. He will take the Stones for himself.But Fischer’s impulsive theft has unforeseen consequences. It puts into play an age-old conflict between good and evil — with Fischer caught between the two. Should Fischer believe Thistle — a strange, feisty young girl from another time who suddenly appears before him, urging him to return the Stones? Can he escape the temptations of the evil but beguiling Belial, who seeks the Stones so he can control the world? Or should he keep them, with all their power, for himself?
Suddenly a fourteen-year-old boy finds himself on a journey that tests the very core of his character, for it is only when Fischer explores his own inner conflicts and spiritual nature that he finds the answers that can prevent catastrophe. This compelling adventure is a race against time that will pull readers in from the very first page. Fischer’s moral dilemma is sure to resonate with today’s teenagers, who face increasingly complex and difficult decisions in their own lives.
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
Kat Mandu says…
The Taker’s Stone is one of the first fantasy books I ever read, recommended for fans of middle-grade. Although the writing is simple and fast-paced, some of the plots are also pretty predictable and cliched. It’s all about the ultimate battle between good and evil.
Fischer is the kind of teenage boy I love reading about. A little less than confident, afraid to disappoint, and sometimes brooding. He and his cousin David are often quite opposites, which leads to occasional arguments but pulls them together at other times. The characters border the lines of young adult and middle grade, so it was hard for me to pick out a genre. But I’d ultimately have to stick with middle grade. There was a lot of innocence intermingled with the story.
Since I hadn’t read this since I was seven or so, I didn’t realize how religious the story was. But now I see all the references (though the story does not preach) made to miracles and the idea of “seeing the light” and the fight against evil within a man’s heart. The lead villain within the story is meant to represent a vision of the Devil.
This is a pretty basic book but I love it nevertheless. Realize that it was written in the nineties so it has a simpler, much more mellow tone than some of the more recent middle-grade stories tend to have.
Four stars! Recommended for fans of authors like Cornelia Funke, Tamora Pierce, and Katherine Paterson.