This was a joy to read—clever, refreshing, and very relevant. Molly, a teenage girl, finds herself in a strange position. Famous statues around London have come to life, claiming that they want to help humanity save the planet after centuries of abuse. Almost everyone welcomes them, except for Molly. She suspects ulterior motives, but what can she prove by herself? Armed with a big brain and few allies, she races to unravel the mystery of the awakened statues.
Stonechild touches on a lot of issues, from conservation and history to the significance of statues and remembrance. These form pockets of depth in a fast-paced and very amusing narrative. Shorter chapters would have made it easier to process all the intrigue, but the story, including its twists and historical details, is a breeze to get through anyway.
The characters also carry the plot very well. Molly’s inquisitive and rebellious personality takes the cake as she butts heads with authority figures made of flesh, stone, and metal. Her presence in the whole situation makes it even more engaging and meaningful. The secondary characters are nicely developed too, but various statues that make an appearance in the book are especially interesting, like Churchill, Holmes, and Shakespeare. Lots of funny and insightful moments break up the action, creating a very enjoyable pace.
Overall, Stonechild is a great example of modern magical realism. It’s an easy-to-read yet surreal story that plays with important societal issues in order to deliver powerful messages. Apart from laughs, puzzles, and adventures throughout London, you get thought-provoking morsels to chew on, concepts that matter to real life as much as the narrative.
If you enjoy a simple and exciting writing style with deep undercurrents, as well as vivid ideas and images, this is a great book to pick up next. You’ll devour it before you know it and learn a few things in the process.