Sarah's Stars

Jamila Gavin. The Blood Stone
Egmont (UK) $15.00 (£5.99)  ISBN 1-4052-1252-7  401 pg.
Reviewed by Emma, Age 13

The emperor took it up and held it aloft, dangling from its gold chain. Flames and shadows, reflections and shimmering lights entered the diamond and made them dance. Its pure, limpid water seemed to draw into itself all the shades of light and darkness and never had it looked more glorious. The diamond flared like the sun, flashed like a shooting star. It was like holding a constellation in his hands.

The Blood Stone is about 13-year-old Filippo Veroneo and his quest to rescue his father. Geronimo Vernoneo, a famous Venetian jeweler, who mysteriously disappears on a journey to find fortune in the Middle East, leaves his family in the deceptive and greedy hands of Bernardo Pagliarin, his eldest daughter's new husband. Years later an exotic messenger arrives with news of Geronimo's life, setting his troubled family roiling with hope. Filippo, his youngest son, is chosen as the deliverer of his ransom, facing danger, betrayal, a glimpse of love, and followed always by the relentless, winding melody of a flute, and the faint scent of cinnamon.

Author, Jamila Gavin, wrote The Blood Stone. Some of her other works include: Coram Boy, The Surya Trilogy, and Danger by Moonlight. These are only a sample of the 19 or more books she has produced for both children and teens. The Blood Stone is a made-up story about the actual Venetian Jeweler, Geronimo Veroneo, who designed the Taj Mahal on his travels to India but was not recognized greatly. I recommend this book for readers aged 11-15, as itís a great book to read chapter-by-chapter before bed every evening. I would call The Blood Stone adventurous historical fiction.

This book has an incredible plot. Winding and intertwining, full of meticulous descriptions and detail, it roars to deftly foreshadowed pitches and climaxes, and swoops down calmly to in-depth journeys through the characters' minds. The reader is startled and thrilled by each turn of the story and shocked with each tremor of deception. Careful routine and new ideas blend throughout the book. I give The Blood Stone four stars for its harmonious plotlines and swift mystique.

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