February 13, 2013

Gabriel Stone and the Divinity of Valta Blog Tour


Goodreads say:
GabrielStone is a twelve-year-old boy still reeling from the unsolved disappearance ofhis mother. With a dad who’s hard to relate to, and mounting pressures atschool, Gabriel lets off steam by hiking in the place where his mother was lastseen. There, Gabe and friends find a crystal that proves not only beautiful,but magical beyond their wildest dreams. Only, magic and beauty come with aprice: in order to return home, they must save the dying world of Valta. 

Now, I don't usually read middle grade, but I had to read this book because of the beautiful cover and intriguing summary. Gabriel Stone is a cute middle grade novel, that I found the action similar to Rick Riordan's Heroes of Olympus series. Gabriel Stone deals with a rather heavy topic for a middle grade as Gabriel's mother has gone missing. There are lots of mythical beings and settings in Gabriel Stone as something that reminded me like the settings in Alice in Wonderland but with the weirdness amped even higher than Tim Burton's version. Overall, this is something I'd recommend to middle schoolers as well as older people; anyone who enjoyed Heroes of Olympus would also like this. 

Today, Shannon Duffy stops by and talks with us about the world-building in Gabriel Stone.

At the beginning of the story when the main characters are still home in Willow Creek, I set up a small town setting with of course the woods and the hiking terrain—and those magical water falls.
Once we get to Valta, and even though it’s fantasy, it still has to be a place where humans can survive or else we wouldn’t have a story, right? So I made Valta into a parallel world. Everything is there for humans to survive: the climate, air quality, water etc. But to make it more interesting, I made Valta the polar opposite of Willow Creek to give it an edge. In other words, if it was winter when they left Willow Creek, it’s summer in Valta.
So, now that my three middle graders can physically survive in Valta, I then built on that to give it the fantasy elements, sprinkling in tons of magic like sparkling gold mountains, large dragon-flies, viral produced evil creatures, talking animals, a giant, ghosts, menacing shadows, death mongers, a wizard, magical powers…and the list goes on and on.
Thanks for inviting me to your blog today!
~ Shannon

Thanks Shannon! So, if you like middle grade books, fantasy, and fantasy for middle grade peeps, then you're sure to enjoy Gabriel Stone.

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