Sep 5, 2010

Book Review: The Stone Traveler by Kathi Oram Peterson

Author: Kathi Oram Peterson
Genre: LDS Fiction
Publication Date: August 2010

First Sentence: I watched as Kei tried to outrun my men.

About the book:
Sixteen year old Tag can't believe he's in this much trouble. He's not actually a member of the gang known as the Primes, all he did was spray paint some graffiti that caught their attention. In all honesty, ever since his dad and brother left, Tag just wants to be alone. And it's certainly not his fault that the Primes nearly beat up his goofy cousin, Ethan. But his mom is furious about these gang-related activities and insists that Tag send the whole summer at his grandpa's lakeside cabin, which is not Tag's idea of a good time. So he does what any self-respecting teenager would do: run away. But he doesn't get far before he encounters three strange men carrying an even stranger object, a stone that glows with radiant light as bright as a thousand sparklers.

Tag doesn't steal the stone, not exactly. He feels like he is supposed to take it. But he doesn't expect the stone to transport him through space and time to a place he's never seen before, a place that looks an awful lot like the ancient lands described in the Book of Mormon. And he definitey doesn't expect to join Sabirah, the entrancing daughter of Samuel the Lamanite, on a quest to rescue her father and brother from the evil King Jacob. And he absolutely doesn't expect to be captured by Jacob's minions and prepared as a sacrifice to the evil idol of the city. But just as Tag faces his death, a terrible storm begins to break, and the ground cracks into jagged pieces. And he's not sure which event will impact his life more: his captor's knife coming at his body, the violent tempest sweeping the land... or the men who later appear, glowing even more brightly than the traveler's stone.
My opinion:

I was excited to get the opportunity to read and review Kathi Oram Peterson's new novel, The Stone Traveler.  I have read and enjoyed Kathi's previous books, and this one was the best yet. I was endeared to the characters, but especially Tag (love that name) from the very beginning.  I identified with him right away from Kathi's vivid description:  "She eyed me up and down, taking in my freckled face, formerly red hair now dyed jet black, black eyeliner, black nail polish, black T-shirt, and black baggy jeans with chains dangling from the pockets."  Then we see another side of Tag from his mother's perspective.  "Tag, you might dye your hair and paint your face, but you can't change your blue eyes."  Both of these snippets describe the complex character Peterson has created.  In the book you follow Tag's journey into another time and place, and watch as he discovers who he really is and realizes his own worth.  

Throughout the book, the story is told from two different points of view.  The author switches between the two and has done a fantastic job of giving each character their own voice.  I also enjoyed the Book of Mormon elements of the story.  It brought the ancient characters to life without feeling like it was just another scripture story.  While the intended audience is young adult, I think The Stone Traveler will appeal to adult readers as well.  I know I was enthralled in the story and didn't want to put it down. 

To learn more about Kathi's other books, and to follow her blog tour, please visit her website.  She is holding an AMAZING contest with many fun prizes including a Kindle!!  To read details about the contest, click here.
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