The Clonestone by Ali Foster
With Olive the Oracle’s words ringing in his ears, Noname sets out to battle the fearsome Ginogle—half eagle, half ginomee, and sworn enemy of all wild ginomees. After scaling the lofty Mountain of Mirrors, Noname realises he is the only one who can retrieve the legendary Clonestone. Can he find it before the Cheating Giants use it to create a monster even more terrifying than the Ginogle?
So begins The Clonestone, the second book in author Ali Foster’s Ginomees Trilogy series. In the first book, The Rejects, a group of discarded garden gnomes, or ginomees, turn their backs on the boredom of a lifetime in the garden and set out in search of adventure. When a good dead goes wrong, Noname and his friend Flutey are forces to fly over the Tripletoe Mountains to win back the hats stolen by a band of wild ginomees.
The second book is quite intense. It opens with a ‘changing’, where our hero Noname becomes a wild gnome rather than the boring garden variety. The book leaps straight into the scene, and as such is not designed to be read as a standalone from the first. The book also leaps straight into gnome language, with dropped endings on words and slang, which requires brain power from the very beginning. The bickering between the ginomees also slows down the pace a lot and distracts from the story. This is not an easy end of the day read.
There are also a lot of characters to keep track of and Foster doesn’t really spend a lot of time developing the majority of them. It’s hard to find a character that a reader can really identify with. While Noname may be the main character, he didn’t really resonate. While he has definitely grown from the first book, he still feels underdeveloped.
While the story is imaginative, it feels too much for the audience it is intended. Pitched at the junior reader, it’s a little too intense and over-focussed on a Lord of the Rings-eque feel. It’s hard to imagine this being a widely read book, but it will appeal to a small clique of fantasy fans.
Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser
IFWG Publishing, RRP $32.