Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Keeper of the Black Stones by PT McHugh

Keeper of the Black Stones (Stone Ends Book 1) by PT McHugh
Glass House Press
ISBN: 978-0981676807
Publishing date: Feb 26, 2013
Trade paperback, 372 pages

I love historical fiction and time travel, so the combination of both in this book made the perfect combination for pleasure reading. McHugh's debut novel in his Stone Ends YA series was an exciting and fun book to read! Although the book cover may lead one to believe that this may be a dark story, it's far from that.

Almost fifteen-year old Jason is a shy high school kid who now lives with his grandfather after losing both parents to a car accident three years earlier. He misses them terribly and feels guilty for their death because he had asked them to return earlier from out of town. Living with his grandfather, Dr. Richard Evans, a physics professor, is okay, but apart from Paul, his nerdy best friend, Jason feels his life is boring and mundane. Until he discovers his grandfather's secret—that he can jump through time through a magical set of stones. When Jason also feels a connection to the stones and further uncovers the plot of a madman bent on reshaping history and messing around with time itself, he takes action and races through time to save the world and his grandfather.

McHugh succeeds in creating great characters and deftly transporting the reader to Medieval England in the 15th century when King Henry is fighting against Richard III. McHugh brings history alive through the pages of this book. I could smell the damp walls of the underground tunnels under the cold castle stones, hear the battle cries and the thundering of horses' hooves as history-making events took place, and clearly pictured those towering and hulking Vikings who had villagers scampering away with the baring of their rotten teeth.

The first half of the story focuses on developing the cast of characters and introducing Dr. Richard Evans' time travel concept through the stones, but once Jason travels through time, it's non-stop action filled with adventure, danger and excitement. Jason has found his mission in life, and the reader can see how he grows as a character. I really liked him and his new friends, and I think young readers will be able to relate to him. McHugh also includes historical people who made a difference in this world. It's a great way for kids to get a history lesson. I love books that immerse young readers into history.

As with any time travel novel, the reader has to suspend belief at times—I marvelled at how easily Jason could gallop at top speed on a horse—but I was so engrossed in the story that I didn't care since it is fantasy after all. The book ends with a cliffhanger (oh no!), so I can't wait to read the second book titled Washington's Stone. If you like time travel and action adventure this is a great series to start. Highly recommended.

Note: This book is rated V = violence for battle scenes with swords and guns. Not gory or bloody. There were also some mild religious expletives. (Oh my G*d)
I will count this book toward the following challenges: My Personal Time Travel Challenge
To read more reviews, visit the Pump Up Your Book Tour Page.

About the author:
PT McHugh didn’t start out as a storyteller. He was, however, born into a family of that encouraged imagination. He became a fan of history in school and then went to college to become a construction engineer, to build a world of straight lines, angles, and equations.

He was just as surprised as everyone else when he realized that he believed in magic, and might just know the secret of how to jump through time. Since then, he’s been researching the possibility and learning everything he can about history. Just in case the opportunity arises.

PT was born and raised in New Hampshire and currently lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife, two daughters, and a dog named Bob, daring to dream of alternate worlds and cheering for his beloved New England Patriots.

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Reviewed by Laura

Disclosure: Thanks to the publisher and Pump Up Your Book Virtual Tours for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

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