Review: The Carnelian
I give 3 stars to books I enjoyed while reading, 2 stars to books I had a difficult time wanting to finish. For me, this is a 2-1/2 star book.
The Carnelian is a middle-grade fantasy about Beebop and Nana and their two grandchildren. Beebop’s amateur gem-collecting gets his family into trouble when they find a stone that turns out to be the magical prison of an elf. When the grandkids disobey Beebop and Nana and free the elf, they all end up on an adventure to the elven world, where they must help their elf friend recover the power-wielding jewels that can save his kingdom.
I enjoyed the detail and thought that went into creating the world of Celahir. Light elves and dark elves were well described and intriguing. And there was some fascinating lore on gem stones and their powers. All of this, however, is just background to the story. As for the story…
All in all, I was bored by the “perfectly polite” family. I didn’t feel interested in these characters—there just wasn’t much to them. (I spent half the book assuming the kids’ parents were dead, only to find out they were just on a camping trip.) The over-the-top Tolkien pilfering was a bit annoying, too. The storyline itself was almost interesting … though I was distracted by the constant repetition, too much “telling”, and lack of professional editing. The book could benefit from more “showing” and conversation, instead of the constant narration and mundane coffee-pouring and cake-baking.
The Carnelian should appeal to those who aren’t sticklers about grammar, who like an innocent writing style, don’t need to feel attached to the characters, and just want to enjoy an old-fashioned adventure with magic.