Saturday, 23 June 2012

The Stone of Arveqtuit

Title: The Stone of Arveqtuit
Author: Thomas Albert


Score: 7/10
Chart Entry Point: 12


The Stone of Arveqtuit (pronounced Ar-vek-too-it) does not feel like your standard fantasy book. Indeed, when I first began reading the book I compared it in my mind as being somewhere between Indiana Jones and the Da Vinci Code. Although I could use those comparisons for almost the whole story, when I finished reading the book I couldn't compare it to anything I've read before...

It's the second or third from last chapter that does it. It would be difficult to convey exactly how I felt without revealing the ending, but it is a chapter that both cements this book as a fantasy novel and provides the most unexpected twist that I believe I've ever read. It is simultaneously the most and least orginal ending I've seen. I'd encourage people to get the book just for the disbelief you'll experience when you finished the book. Is it a good ending? I really can't decide. There's a wrapping up of most of the books plotlines prior to the final revelation - only the politics plotline truly remains unclear at the end - and to be honest, this unusual ending doesn't really impact the story too much, so I came to the conclusion that I didn't need to classify it as good or bad, even if I was able to.

What I will classify as good was the writing style. I've reviewed quite a few independantly published books - and of them all I felt that so far this was the most polished, most professional feeling book, in the appearance as well as the content. While the dialogue was a little stiff in a couple of places, overall the book was easy to read, and more than that - enjoyable to read.

I mentioned earlier that it was similar to Indiana Jones and the Da Vinci Code. The former is because, at least in the first part, it's an excursion to a place fraught with natural danger. The latter is because it involves history and isn't quite as "swashbuckling" as Indiana Jones is. Either way, the story begins with a university professor going on an academic journey before being swept up into the tale of a mysterious artifact - in this case the eponymous "Stone of Arveqtuit". After the first section of the book though, there wasn't much of a sense of danger. While there was a few action scenes, we never really feel that the characters are in much danger until the climax of the story - and even then the conflict part is over quickly. If I'm honest, I felt the climax actually felt a bit rushed, and unhinted at (and that's not including the bizarre twist I mentioned earlier). What I mean by that is that prior to this scene, we have no idea of the conflicting character's motivations - or his abilities, and the book takes only a chapter or two to both introduce and deal with them. This runs throughout the book, with some storylines lasting only for a short while, or being forgotten for periods - and the main storyline - "what is the stone?" - doesn't seem to really motivate the events of the book.

One thing that I did quite like about the book is that clearly a lot of research had gone into the writing of it - especially in the section set in Britain. I don't know if the author knew that I was British when he asked me to review the book, but he certaintly couldn't have known that his characters visit several of my favourite places in England and Scotland. Much of what he wrote about those places were accurate, and I'm led to believe that many of the other things he wrote about were accurate too. Even the Scottish politics, were written pretty accurately (even if they are a little out of date by now). There was some steroetyping in there of course - for instance, I don't know ANY british people who toast only one side of the bread...

Overall, I really rather enjoyed reading the book, the parts were actually divided in sensible places, and it was well written and professional. However, I didn't feel that the plot was particularly strong. I'd still recommend it because it is a very interesting read - but look out for the ending!

More Information

Main Protagonist(s): 3 males
Main Antagonist(s): 1 male, 1 female
Main Relationships: Heterosexual, but not featured largely
Genre: Fantasy
Brief Synopsis:

The Stone of Arveqtuit is the timeless story of the struggle of one man caught between the supernatural world of primitive cultures and the scientific world of today. Only he can dis­cover the secret that bridges the gulf between them.
-Author/Book Site

ISBN: 978-0-615-53296-7
Amazon Link: UK | US (Kindle Format Only)
Barnes & Noble Link: US (Harcover)
Published: December 21, 2011
Publisher: Stone Giant Press, LLC

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