4 out of 4 stars
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The Singing Stones by C. M. Ryba is the second book in a supernatural science fiction series for children. Seth and his two friends, Luke and Cecily, live and attend school in the Midwest in the not-too-distant future. These children all have special abilities that allow them to participate in what is called the Resistance. Seth is a prophet, Luke is a healer, and Cecily can communicate with animals.
As a part of the Resistance, these children work with some of their teachers to protect people and the environment from Professor Maldron and the Institute, an agency that performs experiments on people and the environment in order to find new energy sources. In his search for alternative energy sources, Professor Maldron has even unwittingly begun tapping into a supernatural realm and engaging “Fallen Servants” in his experiments. Conversely, Seth and his friends in the Resistance work with “Servants of the One” to counteract Professor Maldron's plans and help those who have been hurt. Specifically, in this novel, the children help a town and the surrounding wildlife when the Institute's experiments begin to cause illnesses in both the people and wildlife.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. As a fan of children's literature, I am glad that I have found this gem of a series. Even though the children are only about 11 years old, they make a point to think about their choices throughout the book, and they are not afraid to ask for help or guidance from the adults when things get hard or they make a poor choice. I like to see this thoughtfulness encouraged in children, especially at this age, and I enjoyed watching our heroes as they grew and learned from their mistakes. Plot lines move very well and keep the reader engaged throughout the book. The amount and quality of the science contained in this book cleverly put one foot into the science fiction genre, while the supernatural elements keep the other foot firmly in the supernatural genre. I felt the author was well informed and unafraid to research either science or supernatural elements.
The only fault that I can find with the book is that the vocabulary might be slightly advanced for the typical 11 year old. That said, the author uses the words well, so the context clues would likely allow a child to understand the words most of the time. I have also found that eReaders also make it so easy to look up words that this may not be an issue for a child enjoying this book on one of these devices.
Ryma definitely wrote this book for a Judeo-Christian audience. Choosing where to place one's faith acts as a major theme throughout the book. Readers that have enjoyed books by authors such as Wayne Thomas Batson or Bryan Davis will likely enjoy this one as well.
While The Singing Stones does take a moment to remind readers of the action in the first book in the series, Servants of the One, I would still recommend reading the first book before diving into this one. Most of the initial character development happens in the first book, and readers that skip that one may miss out on some of the connection to those characters.
The Singing Stones earns a solid 4 out of 4 stars. Only a handful of minor typos existed in my review copy, showing that the book was professionally edited. I enjoyed reading about these engaging, thoughtful, and encouraging children that grow and mature throughout the book. As an adult who works with children, I think characters and stories like this one inspire kids to make thoughtful choices. Ryma chose major themes are appropriate for this age group and still provide something for an adult to consider, making this a great children's book for an entire family to enjoy together.
The Singing Stones
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