I absolutely loved Truthstone by Mike Shelton and rate it at full stars! While this book has some of the familiarity of many fantasy fiction books with gems holding powers and different sects having little bits of powers from the stones. There are also completely new ideas and unusual concepts to make this book really interesting. The action and character development entice you to read far too late into the night.
One might read a stereotypical description of this book along the lines of: “These characters are sent on a quest to find some gems and, you know, save the kingdom. They set sail on a ship, but they encounter some problems with their plans…” But this book has so much more! One needs some familiarity to a plot line to give a solid foundation, but Mr Shelton gives us so many twists and turns with small adventures mixed into the larger events that this tale keeps you captivated. It would be a boring task to have their plans always succeed as envisioned, but this adventure is full of antics, danger, and a few good tricks.
The character development is even stronger than the action. Each character has strengths (though they may be learning them) but they also have faults or habits that make them come alive. For example, Shaeleen, the main character is learning a whole new skillset around truth and deciphering people’s intentions, but through it all her sweet tooth stays strong. Also, her father is a carpenter, and occasionally while setting a scene she observes something about the grain of wood of a specific wood in a hand rail, or the polish of wooden furniture. These little details give veracity to her character as well as allowing the reader to better picture the scene. For example, “Shaeleen ran her hands over the smooth banister lovingly.The wood grain in the maple had been stained to standout perfection.” (Loc 3138) Many people might notice the smoothness of the banister, but their character might not touch it lovingly. Some characters might notice the grain of the wood. Only a few characters would note that the material was maple, which is indeed, a beautiful hardwood.
I recommend this book to a wide range of readers. As an adult, it held my attention, but it is written simply enough for a YA audience. There is a little fighting, but no graphic violence or sexuality. I would be comfortable with this book in any public library or classroom and I already recommended it to my son. Pick up a copy of TruthStone and enjoy it cover to cover!