Monday 14 December 2015

Circles of Stone(Mirror Chronicles II) by Ian Johnstone

“From the frothing talons of tempest a single craft emerged – 
broken but afloat – drifting wearily to safe harbour.” 
THE TWO GIANT TREES towered above the others, their arms outstretched as though claiming the ancient forest as their own. But it was not only their size that made these mighty oaks so magical, nor their drapery of white where the other trees wore thin cloaks of orange and brown leaves. What made them wondrous was their slow graceful motion. Like commanders inspecting their troops they took a stately path between the lesser trees, sweeping this way and that through the vast skeletal canopy. 

Cover by Richard Jones and Elizabeth Huseyin – I believe. The website does not attribute them, sadly. 

Published by Harper Collins in 2015 
512 pages in paperback (read on Kindle) 

Summary from Publishers’ Website 
Together, they have unimaginable power. But unless they part, that power may destroy them. 
As the dark lord Thoth raises a monstrous army, Sylas and Naeo discover that their new-found power could also be their undoing. At the same time, Sylas longs to find his mother, and Naeo her father. So begins a mirrored quest that will bring Naeo into our world of science and take Sylas deep into the magic of the Other. They both hope to find the one the other loves, but also the ultimate truth: of our broken worlds and divided souls, of prophecy and of Sylas and Naeo’s wondrous power. 
But it’s a race against time. Even as they begin their journey, Thoth’s creatures mass at the gateways between our worlds – at the ancient circles of stone… 
War is coming and unless Sylas and Naeo can stop it, it may destroy us all. 
Reviewed by K. M. Lockwood 

To begin with, I would highly advise reading No. 1 of the trilogy first – ‘The Bell Between Worlds’. It will really increase your enjoyment. Ian Johnstone has made a great effort on making this middle story exciting and successful in its own right. It definitely does work – but prior knowledge will deepen your understanding of the different kinds of magic in these worlds. Like Star Wars, there are epic conflicts involved – and the teasing little epilogue shows there’s definitely more to come. 
Imagined on a cinematic scale, there are more hideous monsters to deal with than in Book 1, and more formidable characters to take them on – happily including girls and women. You need to be on the ball – the characters split up (as in The Towers of Tolkien’s masterpiece) and so does the viewpoint. Lots of action and different locations pass across its 512 pages. 
There are some chilling and fairly gruesome moments – and also some of beauty, friendship and humour. Entertaining rather than difficult, this will keep the right sort of fantasy/ SF reader happy for hours.

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