The Stone Lions by Gwen Dandridge | Dedicated Review
The Children’s Book Review | November 5, 2013
Paperback & eBook: 230 pages
Age Range: 10 and up
Publisher: Hickory Tree Publishing (August 14, 2013)
What to expect: Historical-Fiction, Mystery, Magic, Math, Art, Diversity, Culture
In 43 relatively short digestible chapters, author Gwen Dandridge has weaved a mysterious and magical tale centered round the historic 1400s when Arabs and Christians were at war over holy lands. Drenched in Islamic culture, the rich backdrop for this suspense-building novel is the magnificent Alhambra Palace (the renowned building of Andalusion Islamic history located in Granada, Spain) and its Court of the Lions that boasts 12 stone lion statues.
Ara, 12-year-old daughter of the Sultan, is a curious child entertained by the ideas of art, math, and magic. When her interests lead her to uncover that the Wazir, advisor to the Sultan, is up to no good with his dark mathemagics, a deeper issue of politics unravels and Ara has no choice but to embark on a dangerous problem-solving mission to protect the palace and it’s people. With the help of her cousin Layla, her eunuch tutor and the wise Tahirah (a famous Sufi mathemagician), Ara’s journey becomes one of dangerous adventure, companionship, trust and courage.
“She thought about the previous evening when she had felt evil magic closing in on Ara and had used her power to urge her away. The taint had left Tahirah weak. Sleep had eluded her. She wished her vision had been clearer. She needed this girl to confide in her, but how could she gain her trust?”
Dandridge uses the 12 Stone Lions to weave in lessons on values and transforming oneself through personal experience. Intellectual lessons in one-dimensional symmetry that are the key to unraveling the mystery of the novel are also smoothly intertwined with the story. Visual images of the symmetries are included, which help with the complexity of explanations for both the novel’s characters and readers, the images also aid in creating a mental picture of the magnificent setting—one that the author already does well through her choice of words and descriptions.
This original and culturally rich novel will appeal to readers with curious minds just like the strong female protagonist Ara. Recommended.
Add this book to your collection: The Stone Lions
For more information, visit: http://www.gwendandridge.com
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