Stoneheart (The Stoneheart Trilogy #1)

( 72 )


When statues start coming to life, 12 year old George Chapman discovers that there are many layers to London, all intertwined in a timeless battle between those with souls and those without

A city has many lives and layers. London has more than most. Not all the layers are underground, and not all the lives belong to the living. Twelve-year-old George Chapman is about to find this out the hard way. When George breaks the head from a stone dragon he awakes an ancient power that ...

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When statues start coming to life, 12 year old George Chapman discovers that there are many layers to London, all intertwined in a timeless battle between those with souls and those without

A city has many lives and layers. London has more than most. Not all the layers are underground, and not all the lives belong to the living. Twelve-year-old George Chapman is about to find this out the hard way. When George breaks the head from a stone dragon he awakes an ancient power that has been dormant for centuries. Now that George has disturbed the fragile truce between the warring statues of London, he is forced into a race for survival where nothing is what it seems and and it's never clear who to trust. And this is just the beginning as the statues of London awake...

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Fletcher has an intriguing premise at the heart of his YA debut, the first in a planned trilogy, but the execution is flat. Twelve-year-old George Chapman is living a life that feels "pale and gray and washed out," missing his father and struggling to fit in. On a class outing to a museum, he is blamed for something he didn't do; in anger, he breaks a carved dragon's head protruding from a wall. Moments later, a stone pterodactyl on another wall comes alive and chases George through the streets of London. A man named Gunner comes to his rescue; he turns out to be a "spit," a statue made in the image of a living person and brought to life imbued with a bit of that person's spirit. Taints, conversely-like the gargoyles and dragons that suddenly pose such a threat to George-are dangerous precisely because they have nothing human in them. Stone carvings spring to life everywhere, furious with George for his act of destruction; a riddle contest with a nasty Sphinx reveals that George needs to find something called the Stone Heart to save his life and repair what he has broken. His quest takes him to an alternate, unseen London (one of many "un-Londons"), and eventually to a Minotaur's maze in the heart of the city. There is an ironic lifelessness to Fletcher's tale, particularly his protagonist who doesn't ring true; George is a bit more likeable at the finale, as he prepares to fight the murderous Walker in the sequel, but it may be too late for readers. Ages 10-up. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Rachel Myers
Twelve-year-old George Chapman can never catch a break. He is picked on by his classmates and finds no real solace at home. During a class fieldtrip to the history museum, George is accused of creating a scene and sent to sit in the security guard's office until the end of the trip. As expected, George does not stay seated and wanders outside of the museum, contemplating his plight and his future. While wandering around outside, George leans for a moment against some of the images of medieval beasts and gargoyles that had been carved into the side of the museum years before, and he accidentally breaks off the head of a stone dragon. George is mildly embarrassed at his delinquency, until a pterodactyl releases itself from the side of the museum and begins to chase him. George has awoken another level of the city of London. He has caused the statues of London to come alive. Unfortunately, there is only one other person in the city who can actually see the terrorizing statues, a girl named Edie who some of the "good" statues have cautioned him not to trust. Together, George, Edie, and some of the benevolent statues lead themselves on a treasure hunt around London in an attempt to put the statues back to sleep. British turn of phrase and vocabulary may distract the reader from the true heart of the story. The author obviously enjoys using metaphors and similes, which also tend to get tedious by the middle of the story. Fantasy readers will enjoy the new ideas about an alternate universe that frequently seems identical to real life. Reviewer: Rachel Myers
VOYA - Eileen Kuhl
Fletcher offers a terrifying mixture of demons, living statues, adventure, time travel, and a puzzling riddle in this complicated work of science fiction and fantasy. While on a trip to the Natural History Museum in London, George defies his teacher and is punished. In his anger, he breaks off a small piece of a carved dragon. This callous act results in the waking of another wicked world in London. George is terrorized by a plethora of stone gargoyles and other carved figures. He discovers statues with opposing natures that inhabit the underside of the city-heartless and cruel taints and spits who retain some of the kindness and humanity of their sculptors. A World War One gunner spit befriends George and explains his predicament. He must find the mysterious Stoneheart of London, return the carving, and make amends within forty-eight hours. He meets Edie, who is familiar with this sinister world, and together they attempt to decipher the many clues to locate the Stoneheart while they are fleeing the malevolent taints. Unexpected twists keep the action moving, the deadline is pressing, and the suspense never stops. Readers will be biting their nails until the conclusion. In the end, much is explained, but some of the characters and clues remain unclear. The title is very much focused on the landmarks of London, but the setting is described well for the unfamiliar reader. Readers who enjoy fast-paced adventure with an overlay of the supernatural will devour this story. Teens who enjoy William Sleator novels and Neal Shusterman's Full Tilt (Simon & Schuster, 2003/VOYA October 2003) will find this book thrilling.
School Library Journal

Gr 5-9

Charlie Fletcher's sequel (2008) to Stoneheart (2007, both Hyperion) is another fast-paced saga of warring statues in an alternate London. George, 13, and his sidekick Edie, with the help of the statue, The Gunner, fight to establish peace among the warring statues and the humans. The evil Walker kidnaps The Gunner and imprisons him under the city, where he has buried the bodies of several girls and women from whom he has stolen heart stones. The Gunner must fight his way to the surface and return to his plinth before midnight or suffer death as a statue. Meanwhile, George must fight and win three "duels" or die. While all this is transpiring, Edie is captured by The Walker and is forced to "glint" or see the past for him. Actor Jim Dale does a fabulous job of narrating the story, giving it an immediacy that is arresting. He seamlessly slips between characters' voices, giving each one a unique persona. Suspenseful music opens and closes the story, adding a nice touch to an extremely well-done performance. Listeners will be able to more fully understand the action taking place in this volume after reading/listening to the first book. A fine purchase, especially for libraries that circulate the print version.-Kathy Miller, Baldwin Junior High School, Baldwin City, KS

Kirkus Reviews
This series opener has appealing motifs but is tedious and longer than necessary. Twelve-year-old George gets in trouble on a museum field trip, stalks outside and angrily swings at a small stone carving. Shockingly, the dragon's head comes off in his hand. From that moment on, stone creatures are after him. A stone pterodactyl slides off the building and gives chase; as George races madly away, three stone salamanders join the pursuit. A statue of a Gunner from the Great War steps in and blasts the creatures to bits, but the respite is temporary. George has upset a balance he doesn't understand. His quest to put things right is aided by the Gunner and also by Edie, a girl of George's age who channels the past. They move through London, fighting desperately and seeking explanations from sphinxes and statues. Fletcher's action sequences are disappointingly dry. More intriguing are his philosophies about stone and "makers" (builders), and the protagonists' family histories, but these are too sparse, leaving the whole unsatisfying. (Fantasy. 10-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780545033206
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/1/2008
  • Series: Stoneheart Series, #1
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Charlie Fletcher has written for television, film and as a newspaper columnist. He lives in Edinburgh with his wife, two children, and a terrier called Archie. This is his first book for young readers.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 72 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Stoneheart is Great Beginning of a Trilogy

    "On a school trip to the Natural History Museum in London, a 12-year-old loner named George is banished for something he didn't do. Angry, he lashes out and breaks off a dragon's head carved onto the wall of the museum. Next thing he knows, a pterodactyl carving comes to life and begins to chase him."

    And so begins George's adventures in "unLondon." He is soon chased by many fanciful creatures come alive from stone statues. He first encounters Gunner, a statue of a World War I soldier, who helps to save the boy from the pterodactyl. The pair soon meet up with Edie, a "glint" with the power to see the past.

    In order for George to go back to the London he knows, the London where stone statues don't come to life, he must return the broken dragon's head to the Stone Heart. Gunner and Edie, plus a cast of other characters, help George in achieving his objective.

    In the beginning of the book, George is feeling sorry for himself because his father is dead and his mother barely has time for him. Edie is portrayed as a cold-hearted survivor who has always looked after herself. But during the course of their adventures through the unusual streets of London, their characters start to evolve.

    Some of the other interesting characters from the book are the Sphinxes who only give answers in riddles, the Clocker who continually marks the time, the Black Friar who tells them where the Stone Heart is, the Walker who is pure evil incarnate and the Minotaur who is part bull, part human and all bad. We also get glimpses of dragons and gargoyles. Fletcher has turned a collection of the actual statues around London into an astonishing assortment of personalities and monsters.

    Although marketed to children and young adults, I don't think I would recommend this for younger children mainly because of some of the scary and dangerous situations George and Edie encounter, but I highly recommend it for older children and teenagers, as well as adults like me who love young adult books. This is the first book in the Stoneheart Trilogy and as soon as I put the last period on this post, I'm ready to start Ironhand, the next book in the series. The final book is entitled Silvertongue.

    Charlie Fletcher is a British author and screenwriter. Stoneheart was shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award in 2007. There is a movie in development for release in 2010.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    A great book read by one of the best

    "Stoneheart" is one of the best books I've read and listened to this year. Charlie Fletcher has written an inventive page-turner and Jim Dale, one of the finest audio book readers, adds his usual flair to his reading. Even though this is considered a book for middle-grade readers, I have recommended this book to a number of adults who have enjoyed it as much as I.

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  • Posted July 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Good Read, but may not Completely Win the Reader's Heart

    "Stoneheart," by Charlie Fletcher is the first installment in the "Stoneheart" trilogy, soon to me made into a movie. Containing a good amount of action and adventure, this book is a good read, but may not completely win the reader's heart and stick in their mind forever.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2008

    This book rocked!

    I read this book and couldn't put it down.!!!!!!I've also read the second book.If you read it, you'll find that Fletcher states 'you can't change the past, even though it hasn't happened yet' ''Hint. If you've read this book and are reading this, this quote connects to the Frost Fair incident.' This book rocked. I liked how George has gotten braver throughout the book. If Charlie Fletcher dosen't write the third book- I will be sad and a little angry!!!This series rocks.My copy has been worn out and the pages are falling apart!!!!!!!!!that's how much I love it! Charlie Fletcher, if you're reading this, Please hurry with the third book!! I can barely wait!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2008

    Enjoyable reading

    While considered a 'teen' book, I found this to be quite enjoyable and similar in structure The Golden Compass series. Nothing real heady here, just an enjoyable venture.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2007

    Twisting and Turning, This Ends With A Jump Off A Cliff

    How should I begin? This book begins when slightly troubled George Chapman brakes the head off a dragon stature. Bothe he and Edie are good people deep down, yet they have anger management issues. Anyway, he now has the stones rattled, and taints are after him. It is an unsuial book, and the author has a ralatively good vocabulary dispit the short sentences and paragraghs. I am not sure about the way it ended, nor how edie fits in in that particular mannor, and I still thinkin about the mirrow, the knife,the hat, the Frost Fair, and the friar. I read an reviwe by Snowstorm, and yes, it seems as if something between the minnows and the objects are conected, and, perhaps,the friar is hiding something because of that. I would give this book two stars, though I chose the three marking because 'disapointing' is not the word I would use. I do want to find out what happens, thouhg, so I might get the next book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2007

    A reviewer

    If you haven't read this book yet: A great book. I love the short sentences, the plot, and all the quotes. I just wish Fletcher would explain a little more. For all of you who have read this book: See, here's what I think: I think that the Black Friar and the Walker are connected somehow. After all, I suspect that the Black Friar is also a Servant of the Stone. Or something like that. That's why he looked so eager for the dragon head, because he wanted to go and make his amends. Also, they both had those mirrors - the mirrors that have the Gunner's knife and hat. And I wonder... What if the mirrors transport you to another time? Like to the time of the Frost Fair? I guess only time will tell...

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    Posted September 16, 2009

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    Posted March 2, 2009

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    Posted August 6, 2009

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