ARC Review: Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier

Title: Isle of Blood and Stone
Author: Makiia Lucier
Publication Date: April 10th 2018
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Part of a Series?: Yes, Book 1 on 2 of a Duology
I Got A Copy Through: HMH Teen (THANK YOU!)
Buy Links: Amazon US || Barnes and Noble || Wordery || Kobo || Books A Million || Chapters Indigo || Google Books
Blurb Description: Ulises asked, "How can I look at these maps, see this riddle, and do nothing? They are my brothers."
Elias reached across the table and flicked aside two shells with a fingertip. The map curled into itself. "It's bound to be a goose chase. You know that?"
"Or a treasure hunt," Ulises countered, "and you've always been good at those."
Nineteen-year-old Elias is a royal explorer, a skilled mapmaker, and the new king of del Mar's oldest friend. Soon he will embark on the adventure of a lifetime, an expedition past the Strait of Cain and into uncharted waters. Nothing stands in his way...until a long-ago tragedy creeps back into the light, threatening all he holds dear.
The people of St. John del Mar have never recovered from the loss of their boy princes, kidnapped eighteen years ago, both presumed dead. But when two maps surface, each bearing the same hidden riddle, troubling questions arise. What really happened to the young heirs? And why do the maps appear to be drawn by Lord Antoni, Elias's father, who vanished on that same fateful day? With the king's beautiful cousin by his side-whether he wants her there or not-Elias will race to solve the riddle of the princes. He will have to use his wits and guard his back. Because some truths are better left buried...and an unknown enemy stalks his every turn.
It’s been a while since I read anything an adventure/ mystery type of book that didn’t focus so much on a rebellion but more on a quest and a riddle, which is also why I was so excited about this book going in!

In all honesty, it took me forever to connect with all of the characters. On top of the main characters and the plot, there were also so many secondary characters, and LOCATIONS and well, it took me a while to connect and care about this world.

As soon as I did, however, Isle of Blood and Stone suddenly became a whole lot better. There was one clue after another coming to light, a fearless girl and hints of romance, actual political problems and betrayals and murder and I really liked it.
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Let’s break it down:


I’ve never actually read a book about a cartographer, especially one set in a fantasy world, and I was SO INTRIGUED by the idea behind it all. I’ve loved books about solving clues and cases since I first read Nancy Drew and I was really looking forward to this book.

Like I said, it was a little difficult to connect with the world, despite the fact that I was excited to read the book. I find this happening so much more often with fantasy novels these days (Am I reading too much? Is there such a thing?) but after sticking to the book, I did manage to come out on the other side.

I really liked the plot structure, and all the secondary characters. I loved how Elias uncovered the conspiracy that started a war eighteen years ago, the map-making elements and the personal growth every character went through. I especially loved mundane things that built up the world in the book – small, political things that made everything so much more real.


While I liked the characters (specifically Lady Mercedes and Lady Reyna) I didn’t fall in love with them. I liked their stories, and felt happy at their ending and liked the way they were grown, that essential spark was just missing.

I definitely liked Elias’ curious mind and kind soul, and his relationship with Lady Mercedes was adorable.
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I don’t know if it was the characters or the writing, but while I find no real fault with this book, it lacked something that kept me from falling head over heels in love with it.

I, in a nutshell, liked this book fine but I didn’t love it, and I don’t know why.


It was a different book, with amazing world building and ended up being a great one time read. It’s just not the kind of thing I loved so much to pick up again.
Makiia LucierMakiia is the author of historical fiction and historical fantasy for young adults. She grew up on the Pacific Island of Guam (not too far from the equator), and has degrees in journalism and library science from the University of Oregon and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Her debut novel, A Death-Struck Year, was called a "powerful and disturbing reading experience" by Publishers Weekly. It was a finalist for Germany's top book prize for children, the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, as well as Japan's Sakura Medal, and was named an ABC Best Books for Children Selection by the American Booksellers Association.

Her second novel, Isle of Blood and Stone, will be available in Spring 2018.
What are some of your favourite adventure novels?
I feel like we don't see NEARLY enough of the genre and I'd love to hear your recommendations!