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My Rating: ★★★★★
The Kingdom of Falmoor—where both good and evil creatures lurk—is not the safest place for any set of twins to be born. All twins born in the Kingdom of Falmoor are doomed to be separated from each other, one way or another. Enter four-year-old Asher Caine. Asher mysteriously vanishes in the woods one day while playing with his twin sister Ariana. Eventually, after years and years of searching with no luck, Asher’s family couldn’t do any more than believe he is no longer alive. Ariana, however, even after nine years later, believes in her heart that her brother is still very much alive. And the only way to lift the curse of evil from the Kingdom of Falmoor is to find her twin brother. Elora of Stone perfectly combines fantastical magic elements with the very realistic magic that comes from a strong bond within a family.
In the introduction, Jaime Lee Mann explains that the inspiration for her book comes from the bed time stories that she would tell her children. In doing so, she managed to set the tone for the rest of the novel. As a reader, you know right off the bat that this story will be very special, and perhaps even personal. The characters, along with the very fairy tale-like world of Falmoor, were very well crafted. Both the magical elements and the characters were fun and unique—from mischievous pixies that are barely ever up to no good and guardian fairies to mysterious and evil trolls and witches: indeed a perfect combination for a perfect bed time story. But since it is a very short book (just a little over 200 pages), I found there were very little room for character developments. However, since it does read like a bed time story, I was able to look past this. Nonetheless, the characters were still a lot of fun to read about. Besides, since it is a series, I expect that there will be more chances and opportunities for character development in the following books.
Although the story of Asher and Ariana is a light enough read for any children, it still very much has enough depth to it for a fully grown adult to enjoy as well. It expresses the importance of the bond that a family shares amongst each other and just how much stronger that bond can be when cherished. Having a brother that is just a year younger than me, reading the story of Asher and Ariana brought me back to the days when we were much younger and would do and share everything together. If anything, I know first hand what it’s like to share a strong bond with a sibling, and so on a deeper and more personal level I was able to appreciate and relate to Asher and Ariana’s story even more. Not only does Elora of Stone depict how beautiful family bond is, it also perfectly captures the innocence and pure hearts of young children and just how beautiful and interesting the world is when viewed through their imaginative eyes—you won’t be able to help your heart from softening and even melting a little.
If you’re looking for a quick and fun read to feel youthful again (or just a good bed time story), Elora of Stone is the right choice for you. I’ll have to warn you, though. If you’re looking for a bed time story to help you sleep, this might not work for you. You’d be too interested in the story that you might not want to put it down at all until you’ve found yourself still wide awake at 2 in the morning.
*digital copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*