Thank you to Laura Hatch Rupper and Covenant Communications for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway.
Book: Nora and the Sacred Stones by Laura Hatch Rupper
Release Date: June 1st 2021
Tags: Fantasy | Middle Grade | Young Adult | Novella | Magic | Family
Trigger/Content Warnings: Ableism
Trespasser, Thief, Assailant—these were never titles Nora planned on. She was just trying to protect her sister. With the help of her little brother and his best friend, Nora embarks on a life-or-death quest that could rock the very fabric of their society.
After breaking into the royal palace, Nora discovers that the ancient power of the sacred stones is more than just a legend. But in her desperate attempt to help her sister, Nora may have awoken something deep inside the earth—a power she doesn’t fully understand. As Nora flees, she accidentally encounters Prince Kyn, heir to the Liardian throne. She narrowly manages to escape, but now the young prince knows who she is and what she looks like.
Eager to prove himself to his father, Prince Kyn leadsa mission to find Nora and bring her back to House
Liard. Unfortunately, his search is riddled with obstacles he never saw coming. Kyn soon realizes he needs Nora’s help more than he could have possibly imagined. In fact, the whole world does.
I was contacted by Laura back in May to read her debut middle grade fantasy and you know that ticks all my boxes. I’m glad I accepted, even if it took me a while, because it was a lot of fun to read.
Nora and the Sacred Stones is about a young girl Nora who sneaks into the palace to use the stones that the royal family has. There are seven sacred stones that each have their own properties. No royal family in their lands has a hold on all of the seven sacred stones as it is believed that this will give immense power to the family that does. Nora is after the healing stone. She wants to create something to cure her sister of her disability. She bumps into Prince Kyn as she does and leads both of them on an unique journey.
I really liked the world that this book takes place in and I would really love to learn more about it. The amount of worldbuilding we got for the length and the kind of story, was enough. But I just would have liked to have stayed longer in this world. I want to learn more about these sacred stones and the different families and mining they do. The combination of enough world building but still wanting to learn more is always a good balance to have. Because it will draw readers back to you.
Nora is also just a fun character to follow. She is the older sister to two siblings, and especially with her younger brother she has a loving sibling strife going on. It was fun to read on the page and you could see that despite their snaps at each other they truly cared. She is very focused on curing her sister but she has a good heart. She doesn’t lose sight of the things that are happening around her.
On the other hand we follow prince Kyn as he tries to catch up to Nora to bring her back to the palace. His father insists on him bringing along the kings best friend, older and experienced knight. Their relationship slowly develops over the pages where I think Kyn at some point is actually quite happy that he came along. Kyn is his own person, even if his father would like him to be a bit harder in his decisions. He tries to stand by that as much as he can.
As all comes together I would have liked to have read more of this world and these characters and I hope that Laura will write more in this world.
I think the one downside to this story for me was the curing of a disabled character who is only mentioned. This is one of those things that requires a lot weaving to get right. And it certainly is something that has to come from the disabled character themselves. Talking over a disabled character to cure them can be very hurtful to the disabled community.