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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Review – The Unhewn Stone By Wendy Laharnar

The Unhewn Stone

Title: The Unhewn Stone

Author: Wendy Laharnar

Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing

Buy Link: Buy The Unhewn Stone Here!

Rating: You Could Read

Reviewed By: Janelle


When teenager, Stefan Gessler, answers the call to restore his family's honour, he discovers it takes more than superior education and pride to equip him for life in the Middle Ages. His dangerous adventures threaten his courage and challenge his beliefs.

Immersed in the turbulent events of the Wilhelm Tell legend, Stefan pretends to be a wizard when an avaricious sibyl mistakes him for an alchemist. The shape-shifting sibyl and an evil knight have diabolical reasons to want the wizard dead.

Faced with his own demons and those of medieval Switzerland, how will Stefan complete his mission and escape the fourteenth century...alive?

Life in the Middle Ages is a dangerous game, even for Üserwäälti, the Chosen One.


I’m not sure if this book is too short or has too many sub-plots. Either way, none of them get enough attention to create any real tension. And some of them just seem to be...there. Like Cassandra, as in the Cassandra, the girl cursed by Apollo to see the misfortune of the future but have no one believe her prophecies. How the heck did she get to medieval Switzerland? And, why? She doesn’t contribute anything really.

This leads to a story that drags, as the characters wander place to place always in search of one item or another with a goal that isn’t always clear.

This story also stumbles over a personal pet peeve: random foreign words. The story takes place in Switzerland, I get that, but I don’t speak any of the four languages recognized. And every time I came to a non-English word or phrase, it threw me out of the story, and sent me wandering over to babel fish. This is never good, they are completely unnecessary when there is an English word that makes more sense. While I can see it adding a hint of authenticity and depth to a work, even if the reader is bi-lingual, the change is very jarring.

There are of course exceptions to this: one, when there is no good translation, and two, when there is no translation at all. Take a word like youkai, translated roughly from Japanese you get demon or spirit, but that isn’t really what it means. Or a word like Rhwe, a South African word that means to “fall asleep on the floor without a mat while drunk and naked.” There is just no word in English that means that.

Overall, this story is pretty average. It has plenty of plot-points, but none are given enough attention to really stand out.

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