By: M.J. Evans
Publisher: Dancing Horse Press
Publication Date: October 2016
Reviewed by: Kristi Benedict
Review Date: September 28, 2016
There is a legend known throughout the land of Crystonia that foretells that the rightful heir of the kingdom will be wearing a silver breastplate adorned with four stones, the Stone of Mercy, the Stone of Courage, the Stone of Integrity and the Stone of Wisdom. However, in the last century and a half no such ruler has come forward and this has thrown the kingdom into a war between the races, with each wanting to rule the throne. Now, more than ever Crystonia needs someone to unify the land and rule with an honest, steadfast hand before an all out war destroys everything. Unknown to anyone but a select few, the silver breastplate is being forged and it will be given to the most unlikely person - a person no one ever dreamed would rule Crystonia.
In a small village a sixteen-year-old Duende girl named Carling worries little about the problems going on in other parts of the land. The Duende race is known to be very peaceful, keeping to themselves and their specific tasks, as Duende are known for their beautiful artistry in carpentry, weaving, and other domestic skills. The most rebellious thing Carling does is go out hunting with her lifelong friend Higson and practice her aim with a bow and arrow. In fact it’s on one of these hunting excursions that Carling and Higson came upon a group of young centaur fillies playing in a meadow. It was rare for Duende and Centaurs to mingle so Carling and Higson decided to take a moment and enjoy watching the fillies have fun. The fun, however, is short lived as a group of enemy centaurs burst through the bushes and attempt to kidnap the group of fillies. Without thinking of the consequences, Carling and Higson begin firing arrows at the enemy centaurs wounding them enough that they run back into the woods, leaving the young fillies behind.
Of course the herd of centaurs are extremely grateful for Carling and Higson’s bravery. The young Duende are a little surprised that they acted so quickly, deciding to fight back against the group of enemy centaurs which they soon learn are called the Heilodius herd. Through the struggle for power the Centaurs had divided into two groups - The Minsheen Herd who preferred keeping peace while the Heilodius Herd wanted to start war with the Cyclops to win the throne and rule Cystonia. Even though the Minsheen Herd is overwhelmingly grateful for what Carling and Higson did, this act causes a terrible chain of events that lead to the destruction of the Duende village Carling calls home. Now, whether she likes it or not, Carling is thrust into the conflict that she never wanted to be a part of and matters are complicated further when she finds the breastplate...
As soon as I heard the description of The Stone of Mercy I knew I wanted to read it and I was not disappointed. The unique fantasy world filled with unforgettable creatures created by author M.J. Evans is a wonderful escape into a great adventure. The main character of Carling grabbed at my heartstrings instantly and I felt as if I was right there next to her though the entire book, through the battles, the tears, and the triumphs. The end of this book leaves on a nail-biting cliffhanger as well, and I cannot wait until the next installment comes out so I can continue this adventure.
Quill says: A breathtaking adventure that I cannot wait to continue!
For more information on The Stone of Mercy: Book 1 of the Centaur Chronicles, please visit the publisher's website at: www.dancinghorsepress.com