There is a lot I can say about this book, both good and bad. Nalena (Nali) as a main character can both be observant and painfully obtuse, especially when the reader can figure it out and she’s sitting here with a, “Huh?” look on her face. There are two moments of this that made me want to reach through the book and throttle her. First, there are the Veritas, which are introduced early in the novel. Nali is told they can “hear everything” then remains confused as the Veritas in question is seeming to answer things out of nowhere. It was too obvious and with all of the things going on around her it should not have surprised her as much as it did when it came out what it was. The distraction she might have felt might have been a good excuse if Provencher had used that as a handicap for her, but instead the distraction during this scene was hardly mentioned and therefore just made Nali look a bit dim.
The second instance is the continued reference to Garrett, the love interest, being her Vieo. Yes, having it not explained to her actually did appear natural. Authors often use the trick of, “We can’t tell you now, you will find out later,” but instead as Nalena asked about it the girls simply wanted to giggle at her ignorance and some of the men just didn’t have time for her. It was natural, but still she should have suspected what it was much sooner.
This book is written by an independent author, it is the second in the series. This means it is judged a little more roughly than the first one. This also means mistakes in grammar are picked apart more. As an independent author the one thing that must be done is this book should have been tread over with a fine toothed comb. Whoever edited this novel did Provencher a huge injustice. There were errors that should not have been made starting at about 20% in and then pretty much every 2-3% after. There were two on one page in one spot. The ending became worse, like the editor just didn’t care towards the end. When it should have been, “me” there was “I” and vice versa, and I’m not just talking about when the teenagers spoke to each other. Errors in majorly published books make me cringe, but they are far and few between. Errors in an independent author’s work only reflects badly on one person and as it is harder for an independent to find readers, it’s probably smart to look these over more clearly.
Now, for the plot itself. Keystone takes a much different approach than Cornerstone. Cornerstone is about a normal teenager girl discovering a world of protectors she did not know. The second is about a girl who is now one of those protectors and trying to protect the very planet itself. It’s a sudden change and might be jarring for some, but it crosses over naturally. The novel takes place almost immediately after the last one so there hasn’t been months to get used to what has happened, which is brilliant and more stories should do just that. When picked apart this is an excellent plot, and while there is a romance in this, Nalena and Garrett can continue their relationship, the romance does not threaten to take over the plot.
As a young adult novel I don’t judge some of the “coincidences” as harshly as I would other novels, because young adult primarily is not about absolutely helpless situations but is a coming of age with magic thrown into the mix. Provencher captures that beautifully and every character that she focuses on grows throughout this novel. Garrett is the only constant, but it’s a natural constant.
I recommend this novel, even if it reached a sophomore slump, I still give it 4 stars and think this is a series worth buying for your teen daughter, or even pre-teen daughter. The romance is light enough that you don’t have to worry about what your child is reading, and even the scenes that involve death are a read that will not weigh heavily on them later, while leaving an impression.
Reasons to Read:
– Great storytelling
– Character are interesting
– The system is entertaining
– Well written
– Surprisingly well adapted for all age groups
Reasons not to read:
– Has moments of inconsistencies
– The editor didn’t do a great job (pet peeve of mine in case you can’t tell)
– Sometimes you really must suspend belief