Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier

Isle of Blood and Stone
Author: Makiia Lucier
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 10, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

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 expe-dition 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 beauti-ful 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.

I love maps and I love puzzles, which can both be found in Isle of Blood and Stone. I really enjoyed the story and the characters.

I love the relationship between the three main characters! Elias is an explorer and map maker. He has a wanderlust spirit that makes him curious about all things. Ulises is the King but also cares deeply about his best friend, Elias, and his cousin, Mercedes. He is very kind and I love the respect he has for others. Then of course Mercedes, who has to deal with the inequality for being a woman and prejudice against her from being half Mondragan. She’s a very strong, clever and observant. The three of them make the perfect team and I Iove how they work together and their relationship.

The romance is so cute!!! I love when two characters already have the basics of the relationship established when you start reading. It’s not a main focus of the book at all but Elias and Mercedes have been friends since children. They are not children anymore and I loved the cuteness of them kind of circling around what they actually feel for one another.

I loved this plot!! It’s a book, so I immediately suspect everyone when there is a riddle to be solved. The only people I didn’t suspect were the people who were either babies or not born at the time the original crime was committed. I loved the way the investigation is carried out in Isle of Blood and Stone. Following maps that are filled with clues, finding pieces that end up leading the complete puzzle. I also like how Elias and Mercedes both worked together and separately. Even though the POV is mostly Elias. We do get some of Mercedes as well and they end up at the same conclusions but take different routes to get there. It’s actually pretty interesting. Even though I started to suspect certain things, the motivations weren’t necessarily completely clear. It was enough not knowing to keep you reading and make it interesting when things are revealed.

The ending is perfect. When everything starts coming together. It’s not easy, where the villain is unmasked while tied up like a scooby doo cartoon. There are still obstacles that they have to overcome in order to catch them. Also they have to deal with the aftermath of everything they have learned. This is my favorite part, it doesn’t just fade to black, crime solved. We get to see the emotions of the characters as they figure out what to do with the information and how it will change their perspectives in the future.

For being a Fantasy it’s not the kind that has some big action and battle scenes. This one is more about the mystery, the maps and politics. Which I like to read both kinds.

I really enjoyed Isle of Blood and Stone. I’ll be excited to see what the next book features.

Makiia is the author of historical fiction and historical fantasy for young adults. She grew up on the Pacific Island of Guam (not too far from the equator), and has de-grees in journalism and library science from the University of Oregon and the Uni-versity of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Her debut novel, A Death-Struck Year, was called a "powerful and disturbing read-ing experience" by Publishers Weekly. It was a finalist for Germany's top book prize for children, the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, as well as Japan's Sakura Medal, and was named an ABC Best Books for Children Selection by the American Booksellers Association.

Her second novel, Isle of Blood and Stone, will be available in Spring 2018.

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• Prize: copy of ISLE OF BLOOD AND STONE by Makiia Lucier
• US Only
• Starts: 4/4
• Ends: 4/19

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