“The Stone Lions” by Gwen Dandridge

Recommended to me by: Knowing the author and reading early drafts long ago

I expected this book to feel a little repetitive since I read so many early drafts. Instead, it was riveting! I found myself not wanting to stop to go to bed, and wanting to pick it up again the next morning instead of working. (I did exercise some self-discipline.)

I sent off that copy to my sister for her kids, and ordered a few more to give to families with kids of the right age. I love that it centers on girl and women characters, as well as teaching about Muslim culture, the Alhambra, and a little math.

The only issue I had is that even though characters advocate for mercy toward the villain, we only see him acting in evil ways. In my experience, the worst villains are nice most of the time, especially to people with more power. One-note evil breaks my suspension of disbelief more than mathemagics.

Highly recommended for girls, boys, and anyone who is tired of the same old tropes in fantasy.

Content Note: Some cruelty to small animals, and off-stage violence at the end, so not appropriate for very young readers.

Available at Amazon.com.

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