Friday, August 08, 2008

Review: _The Silent Strength of Stones_ by Nina Kiriki Hoffman

A troubled teenage boy lives by a lake with his father running the store while his father manages the motel. One day a girl enters the store and magic enters his life, bringing changes. The Silent Strength of Stones by Nina Kiriki Hoffman is a delightful Urban Fantasy by a talented author. Characters, themes and plot keeps the book entertaining for readers.

The characters keep the book interesting by being sympathetic. Nick Verrou is a seventeen year old boy with some problems. He feels desperately trapped in his situation, used by his father to runt eh store, but dreams of leaving one day and never returning. Nick also has a strange power he does not understand. Into his life comes Willow and her brother Evan, two teenagers with magical powers. They have problems too such as being sent away by their parents to strict relatives to learn control of their powers. Evan is rebellious and needs stability in his life while Willow needs to learn not to enslave people. Ms. Hoffman makes these young characters sympathetic through dialogue and descriptions of their relationships.

Next, the themes explored in the book makes it entertaining because readers can identify with them. Abandonment is explored in all of the young people’s lives. Nick is dealing with his mother leaving four years before without explanation. He also feels abandoned by his father who always yells at him. Evan and Willow suffer abandonment by being sent away by their parents. Another theme is loneliness. Nick feels alone without friends and living in an isolated place. This feeling drives him to wanting to leave. He feeds his desire for friends by watching people. The author weaves these themes deftly into the story delicately.

Lastly, the fast paced plot of the book keeps it entertaining. Events begin moving when Nick comes back from his lunch to find a piece of his grandfather’s fishing equipment gone. The lady who spells him during lunch sold it to a man staying at a cabin by the lake. Nick’s father gets angry and demands him to get the piece back. When Nick tries to get it back, He encounters Willow and witnesses magic. Then Nick finds a friendly wolf which changes his life and precipitates further mysterious encounters. Nick must try to save Willow and Evan by the end of the book. Js. Hoffman creates an interesting plot by keeping events moving quickly to make it an enjoyable read.

The Silent Strength of Stones by Nina Kiriki Hoffman is an entertaining Urban Fantasy novel. The entertainment comes from the author’s talented handling of characters, themes and plot. The story of Nick’s coming of age and overcoming his problems is good. Though aimed at young adults, readers of any age will enjoy this book.

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