Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, London
Reading Challenges: 8 for 100+ in 2009
I have always loved sculptures. I can remember visiting the museum with my parents as a little girl and being truly frightened by some of the more monstrous images carved in stone, with their malicious smiles that exposed far too many teeth for my small child imagination. I think deep down I was always afraid they were going to suddenly come alive. In Stoneheart, that is exactly what happens to George Chapman, a 12 year-old English boy who expresses his frustration in the wrong way at the wrong time.
George is in the middle of a school field trip to the Natural History Museum in London when in a fit of anger he breaks a piece off the facade of the museum, and suddenly finds himself pursued by a stone pterodactyl, intent on his destruction. The worst part? No one else can see a thing, except for Edie, a mysterious girl who has been cursed with seeing such things for reasons she doesn't understand. George is saved by the statue of a WW1 gunner, and learns that he has found himself in the middle of a war. Within London is "unLondon," where the statues made in human form, "spits," have long fought against the "taints," sculptures of gargoyles, dragons, and other non-human creatures. George and Edie struggle to understand the rules of this strange "unLondon," not knowing who or what they can trust.
I really liked this book, for both the concept and execution. Fletcher has done a great job of describing London. I was very interested to read in the author's note that all of the statues he has included in the book are actually in existence. I must admit, it made me want to visit some of them for myself. I would highly recommend this book to readers who are looking for an intense adventure. Because of the intense peril and scary situations experienced by George and Edie (which the author describes in very vivid and descriptive language) I wouldn't recommend this book for younger readers. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.