Review: Gifted by HS Stone

Rating: Maybe

Perhaps it’s because I’ve seen several variations on this theme, but this story, for all of its promise, felt flat. Which is a shame, because I really enjoyed Stone’s other novel, In The Hands of Children. After reading this, I think it probably should have been labelled as middle grade rather than young adult, and a few tweaks would have kept it perfectly in line with this.

Gifted-cover2This young adult fantasy follows twins, Voima and Vennd, who are quite different. Voima is a giftless young woman, while Vennd is gifted with the power of nearly-instant healing (Think Wolverine pre-adamantium skeleton). This story bounces between their POVS and the king’s, who is capturing all Gifted people and making them fight to the death. We don’t really receive a clear explanation why, but power-hungry as he is, it’s self-explanatory.

The twins have a close relationship, and it’s obvious as the story unfolds that they’ll do anything to save each other. The stakes become clear when Vennd is discovered and captured by the king’s men.

This leads on to what made the story flat to me. Rather than experiencing the ensuing drama through Voima (or Vennd), most of her POV is spent reacting to things, rather than the story coming alive. I very much felt, at one point, that she was a character going through a plot rather than a person experiencing a horrifying, life-changing event. Part of it is because of how the scenes play out, with her reacting constantly without significant, real change from beginning to end. Part of what plays into this was constantly being told about her emotional state rather than experiencing it with her.

Having said that, the plot is fun to read through. We watch Gifteds struggle against the king and his sister’s tyranny. We get to experience life as Gifted’s on the run and how they manage to survive in a world which hates them. The cast is lively, and with more space or in future novels, would really shine on their own.

If you enjoy a quick, good read with an adventure fantasy plot, then this book would definitely appeal to you.

Gifted can be purchased at Amazon.

This Week’s Read: Gifted by HS Stone

In a kingdom where the Gifteds are captured and thrown into fights to the death, Voima is fortunate that she is just a Regular. However, her brother, Vendd, isn’t so lucky. Since his Power started manifesting itself, the siblings have lived a life on the run, barely escaping the king’s soldiers. Just as Voima and Vendd have settled into a new home, a fleeing Gifted enters their lives, begging for help Gifted-cover2but bringing soldiers after him. Despite the siblings’ efforts, the soldiers discover Vendd’s Power. Now Voima, an outmatched Regular girl, must find a way to defeat the kingdom’s most dangerous Gifteds in order to save her brother from certain death.

Gifted can be purchased at Amazon.

 

Even before he could read, H.S. Stone wanted to write a book. Fascinated by the stories that seemed to leap from his kindergarten teacher’s books, he went home and wrote his own book, with illustrations and bound by staples. Of course, since he didn’t know how to read or write yet, the book was full of gibberish. Undaunted, H.S. eventually mastered the ABC’s and continued to write throughout his grade school years, adolescence, and into adulthood. Despite earning a degree and working in a field not related to writing, he continued to pursue his writing passion. H.S. Stone’s publications include novels aimed at Young Adult and Middle Grade readers as well as several short stories. He currently lives with his family in the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

 

 

Author Interview: HS Stone

InTheHandsOfChildrenToday I’m delighted to have In the Hands of Children author HS Stone join me for a little one-on-one. After reading his book, I had a few questions.

Even before he could read, H.S. Stone wanted to write a book. Fascinated by the stories that seemed to leap from his kindergarten teacher’s books, he went home and wrote his own book, with illustrations and bound by staples. Of course, since he didn’t know how to read or write yet, the book was full of gibberish. Undaunted, H.S. eventually mastered the ABC’s and continued to write throughout his grade school years, adolescence, and into adulthood. Despite getting a degree and working in a field not related to writing, he continued to pursue his writing passion. Numbers Plus Four, a collection of short stories, was H.S. Stone’s first publication. He followed that with his first novel, George and the Galactic Games, and two additional books. H.S. Stone lives with his family in the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

What prompted the idea for In the Hands of Children? It seems like tough subject matter to tackle.
Like with many stories I write, the original idea from which this story sprung was different from how it eventually turned out. My inspiration for writing the story came from my concerns about how much we rely on technology today and how specialized everyone’s knowledge is. We live in a society that relies on other people to provide most of the things we need – even food and electricity. And God forbid if the Internet ever went down! I wanted to explore what it might be like if the people who have the knowledge to run the world were suddenly gone, and those who survive have to re-learn how to live with what’s left behind.

I really appreciated Kyle’s character, and actually he might’ve been my favorite (though I loved Amy quite a bit, too). Did you intend for him to be a heroic character, or was that something that came out through the writing?

I’m a sucker for heroes who save the day and happy endings in stories, so Kyle was always going to be a hero in my mind. He’s also the type of hero that I enjoy reading about — one who doesn’t know that he is and never intended to be a hero but becomes one because something inside drives him to do good when the situation demands it.

Hannah is a fantastic character, very strong and protective of her little sister. What went through your mind as you were writing her part of the story?

I have two kids of my own, and when I wrote about Hannah and Amy, I tried to imagine what it would be like for them if my wife and I succumbed to a pandemic and left them alone. It’s a horrible thought and a scenario that I hope never occurs, but some of the things that Hannah did for Amy are what I hope my son would do to protect his sister.

Your book has kind of a cinematic feel to it. Is that an aspect of your writing, or did that come through the story itself?

That’s an interesting question. Certainly, the story itself lends a cinematic quality in the way that it was told, but I’m not sure if that’s also part of my natural writing style. It’s not something I consciously decided to do. Now I’ll have to keep an eye out for it in my other books!

What can you tell us about future plans?

Since In the Hands of Children, I published my third book, Beyond New Eden. I’m currently working on my fourth novel, which is an as yet untitled YA sci-fi twist on alien invasions. I’ve always wanted to write an alien invasion story, and I hope this one will be different from any you’ve read or seen in movies before. The plan is to release the book by January of 2014.
Sounds fantastic!
In the Hands of Children is available at
Amazon
Smashwords

This Week’s Read: In the Hands of Children – H.S. Stone

 

InTheHandsOfChildren

The H5N1 virus was the deadliest disease in the history of mankind. Not only did it spread rapidly, reaching every corner of the globe, but it also resulted in an inconceivable 100% mortality rate among adults. Within a month, almost every human being became a victim of the virus. All that remains of humanity is a handful of “immune” children. Except that they aren’t truly immune. The virus lurks in their bodies, ready to strike when they reach maturity. Kyle, Hannah, and Amy are three immune kids who find themselves thrust into a lonely world after losing the people they have known and loved. No longer able to rely on the company, wisdom, and experience of adults, they must survive in the harsh post-pandemic world with only a handful of other immune children. But the trio soon learn that dying from H5N1 isn’t the only thing they have to worry about.

In the Hands of Children is available at:

Amazon

Smashwords

About the author:

Even before he could read, H.S. Stone wanted to write a book. Fascinated by the stories that seemed to leap from his kindergarten teacher’s books, he went home and wrote his own book, with illustrations and bound by staples. Of course, since he didn’t know how to read or write yet, the book was full of gibberish. Undaunted, H.S. eventually mastered the ABC’s and continued to write throughout his grade school years, adolescence, and into adulthood. Despite getting a degree and working in a field not related to writing, he continued to pursue his writing passion. Numbers Plus Four, a collection of short stories, was H.S. Stone’s first publication. He followed that with his first novel, George and the Galactic Games, and two additional books. H.S. Stone lives with his family in the San Francisco Bay Area.