Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Book Review - The Cornerstone

The Cornerstone by Nick Spalding
Review by Jacqui Slaney
 The Cornerstone
Amazon recommended this book to me due to my previous purchases. I did not know the author, but the book was so cheap, I did not think there was much of a risk. After I had bought it, I then spotted some reviews, which said the book was slanted towards the young adult market-, which worried me slightly, but thought I would still see what the book was like.
This is the description:
On a gloomy Thursday afternoon, Max Bloom enters his local library in a last ditch attempt to stave off an epic case of teenage boredom. Among the hushed stacks, he discovers The Cornerstone, an ancient book tucked away on a dusty, forgotten shelf. Opening the cover, Max is instantly transported to an alternate dimension full of things intent on killing him - thus avoiding boredom with remarkable success.
He meets a beautiful girl called Merelie (brilliant), who tells him he could be a Wordsmith, a sorcerer able to craft magic from the written word itself, one strong enough to save both their worlds from the Dwellers - hideous monsters from beyond the universe (not so brilliant).
This all sounds completely unbelievable. The kind of thing you would read in a fantasy novel. However, the Cornerstone doesn't lie... and the danger is very real.
In a world threatened by monsters, where books are worshipped and powerful magic exists, Max Bloom must make a choice: close The Cornerstone and run home - or trust Merelie, become a Wordsmith, and save two worlds from certain destruction...
 The story begins on a boring wet Thursday with a teenager entering a library. Perhaps not the most promising start you would think to a fantasy novel, but you would be wrong. Due to some lost keys, Max follows a mysterious note to a doorway to another world. He then meets a girl, is told that he can do magic and so save the worlds from the Dwellers (monsters). The characters are original as is the story, it may sound on the surface as something you have read before, but this story still had a new feel to me.
Thanks to the excellent writing, you get the perfect picture of a bored teenager, and it is Max’s thoughts and conversations with others that make you laugh. The humour is well done, not forced and is just a natural part of the book, it is also quite English as well, so the reader is not given any puzzling American references, which do pop up in some books.
The magic used is cleverly done with the power of the written word having much more of a meaning in this world. The descriptions of the parallel worlds with the Chapter Lands and the different houses are well done, and you do want to read more about them.
I know I had been worried about a few reviews saying the book was for the younger readers, but I need not have feared. Though the heroes are young, the book is good enough to be enjoyed by anyone of any age. The writing is fast paced and the story is not too long, I read this in about roughly two halves and loved every minute. If you want a easy to read fantasy novel then this is definitely for you.  The ending was good, and leaves it possible for a sequel, for which I will keep my fingers crossed.
10 out of 10