Spirits, Graves and Stones (Book 3 - The Stones Tr...
Spirits, Graves and Stones: the dance of a child soldier (the Stones Trilogy) (Volume 3)
Age Range - Mature Young Adult
Genre - Adventure
Five Star Award

LitPick Review

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Age at time of review - 23
Reviewer's Location - Yucaipa, CA, United States
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The third and final installment in Donna White’s “The Stones” trilogy, Spirits, Graves and Stones ties up the loose threads left by the previous two stories. After getting caught by the Arrow Boys, Bruce is able to meet up with Charlie again, but the two of them realize that they have been separated from Sam and Scott and soon become worried about where their friends might have been whisked away to. The stones often don’t move people in groups to the exact same location, and Bruce and Charlie are left wondering where Sam and Scott are. They do, however, know where Naboth has been captured by the LRA. They track down Naboth and, with a plan in place, decide to try to bust him out of his internment. Through implementing this plan, Bruce and Charlie find out where Scott is: he is to be killed by the LRA by hanging. Needing to save both Naboth and Scott, the boys are left with a difficult decision: save one of them, save both of them, or die trying either of the previous options. But this will soon become not the hardest decision they will have ever had to make.

Unbeknownst to Scott, Bruce, and Charlie, Sam has been transported to her friend Eseza. Sam and Eseza are left with choices of their own: do they stay in town and care for Eseza’s baby along with the rest of the terribly sick townspeople, or do they leave to try to help save other children being abused in Kony’s army?  They will soon learn of even harder decisions to cast stones on and how those decisions shape lives the girls never even imagined they would.

All the children come to understand that sometimes choices are not easy to make, and regardless of the outcome, one must stand by one’s convictions no matter the cost.

 

Opinion: 

The plot moves very well once things are established and set in-motion. The plot is fast-paced, engaging, and glides easily from incident to incident, moving the storyline along at a great and fairly even pace.  I have always appreciated the writer’s ability to really grasp plot devices and how they are used to make a wonderful novel come to life. The plot was excellent in this novel.

Additionally, I enjoyed this novel because not only were the plot and pacing on-point, but the beautiful descriptions of the surroundings made me feel as if I had been whisked away and put right smack in the middle of Africa myself! The author weaves a fantastic tale of intrigue and mystery, while still keeping descriptions of surroundings masterfully concise yet not so brief that the reader is left not knowing where the story is taking place.

Overall, this being the final addition to the trilogy of a true story based on horrific events made this book hard to read at times. The graphic violence was hard to stomach, especially knowing that this story is based on real-life occurrences. I greatly enjoyed this book, even with the violent streak it might have held, as it ultimately taught one great lesson that every reader would be wise to take away: no matter what struggles you must go through in life, being kind to one another and helping each other out when necessary always ends in sunshine and never in rain. Being kind to one another and reaching out a helping hand is always a good thing to do, even if the person you help ends up never helping you in return. 

Ultimately, I walked away with a solid grasp of the horrors that Kony and his army did to the poor children of Africa, and my heart broke for the sorrow that mothers and fathers went through in losing their children to a madman. I deeply felt the care and conviction that Eseza felt for her child and the pain it brought her to harm him when given no other choice. I felt the same things that Sam, Bruce, and Scott felt as they tried to help those less fortunate than themselves. On the flip side, I also felt the satisfaction when things went right for our heroes; I felt the joy that the children of Africa felt as they played rousing games of football, and I felt happiness at their screams of joy as they toppled over the mighty Sam in a wrestling match. I felt hope when Eseza finally got help for her PTSD, and I continued to hope that her treatments went well and that she would finally be cured of the so-called “curse” she carried from her burdened past. 

Masterfully weaving both darkness and light into a tale filled with tragedy, heartbreak, joy and laughter, White is an excellent author. I would recommend her books to anyone wanting to read something that will not only make them think, but also make them consider what they can do to help someone else in need.  This novel will be a welcome addition to my library, and I look forward to reading other books by Donna White in the future.

 

Rating:
5
Content Rating:

Content rating - mature content

Explain your content rating: 

The label of “mature” doesn’t fully describe just how graphic this novel is. From the onset, we see illegal poaching, hangings, murder, blood and gore, violence, military violence, PTSD and symptoms and side effects of it, child sacrifice, abuse of many kinds (domestic, emotional, physical, psychological, and sexual), torture, self-mutilation, self-harm, body mutilation, suicide, dysfunctional families, child marriages, brainwashing techniques, depression, anxiety, anger-issues, life-and-death situations, sexism, misogyny, rape, child rape, and underage pregnant girls… all of which are described in detail throughout the rest of the tome. There are themes of spirituality and religion present in this novel, as well as scenes regarding magic and the proper and improper usage of it; voodoo is mentioned a few times, as is witchcraft. Heavy-duty curse words are not frequent in this novel but are still peppered throughout. This novel is definitely for a more mature audience and as such, parents/parental guardians, teachers, and/or librarians should definitely look this book over before giving it to a child/student, particularly if the child/student is more sensitive to any of the previously-mentioned materials.

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