Greg Spry's Reviews > Ruins on Stone Hill

Ruins on Stone Hill by F.P. Spirit
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really liked it

The Ruins on Stone Hill (Heroes of Ravenford, #1) by F.P. Spirit is a very enjoyable young adult novel in the swords & sorcery sub-genre of fantasy. The book serves as an origin story for a group of young heroes as they meet and embark on their first adventures together.

The prose and dialog flow very smoothly. Clearly, the author has great expertise with the written word and knows how to make action unfold. The main characters are well-crafted with unique personalities. Each quest or battle is compelling and easy to understand. The author makes well-thought out use of magic rather than invoking it as an overly convenient plot mechanism. Familiar fantasy tropes are leveraged uniquely and cohesively to make the story and world feel original. Even though the novel sets up for the sequel at the end, the book does more than enough to resolve its sub-plots in satisfying fashion.

While the pros greatly outweigh the cons, the novel does suffer from a handful of minor drawbacks. Too often, characters smile--or grin, smirk, curl their lips, or contort their mouths in various other versions of smiling. The frequency of smiling borders on comical. When characters smile too often, they can seem too self-assured, which can sap the tension out of a scene.

Also, the author has a slight tendency to over-explain. In general, writers should be mindful of the triple-redundancy that can occur when revealing what's going to happen, showing it happen, and recapping what happened. Take care not to reveal the exact same details in all three instances and don't make events unfold exactly as planned. That said, over-explanation typically leads to better reader comprehension than not including enough details.

Casual readers may prefer the straightforward good time offered by the book, but the content could seem a bit simplistic to the more sophisticated mind. It's good guys versus obviously bad guys with no significant conflict between the protagonists, few plot twists, and a light-hearted tone that tells the reader no real harm will come to our heroes. Many young adult novels include more adult situations, but this work keeps things G-rated. There's nothing wrong with that if the target audience is very young adults or readers who are looking to avoid bad language, sex, and extreme violence.

All in all, The Ruins on Stone Hill is a well-written and engaging YA fantasy novel. At some point, I will likely pick up book two.
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Reading Progress

July 2, 2019 – Started Reading
July 2, 2019 – Shelved
August 17, 2019 – Finished Reading

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