Fantasy, Young Adult/Children

Nora and the Sacred Stones by Nora Hatch Rupper

This is a young adult/middle-grade book that I would have rated higher if not for the romance angle between the main two characters. It felt a little unnecessary, given the other relationships explored during the adventure. This might just be me, and the children of the age group might appreciate the ending more, but I do not know for sure.
To backtrack a little and go back to the story itself, it is a short story that feels like it could be part of a larger world with complex worldbuilding involved but surprisingly works well as a standalone as well. This latter part is quite rare in my experience.
This story is quite strong and does not over-explain itself making it entertaining for even an adult to read and enjoy. Nora is always trying to help her family. The world she lives in has forgotten the old stories, but royalty has preserved the stones and used marriage as a way of keeping ownership in check. The stones give out some form of energy that is utilized in specialized ways. Nora, however, seems to be able to harness it much more easily. In order to save her sister, and using snippets of information, she finds herself in a royal palace in the dead of night to try and create an almost fictional elixir.
Nora’s adventure alone is not the bulk of the book. The trading and travelling in this new world were quite fascinating to watch. I am guessing my nieces would really like the way things play out. There is treachery in the air as well as uncertainty. There are growth arcs for several of the characters, making it a very good book for children looking to branch into more thrilling adventure/fantasy worlds.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is based on my own reading experience.


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