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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

The Singing Stone by Gary Venn

So much of what is coming out now is just magnificent. The writing is sublime, the narratives feel fresh, and the selections available to young people create this pantheon of opportunities for young readers to discover their favourite book so much more easily than 30 years ago. And it is books like The Singing Stone that add to this environment.

The Singing Stone is a magical and mystical experience for younger readers to enjoy. It is set in our very own little town of Coromandel, where writer and illustrator Gary Venn grew up. Yet, perhaps most importantly, it doesn’t have that seemingly ubiquitous cringe factor that can come with reading a novel set in New Zealand. Often when there is a narrative set here, it’s easy to find yourself switched off by either the overly colloquial language of the dialogue or the settings never seems quite right. With his years of experience, Venn manages to make this part of the nation come alive and speak to the reader.

Miles, our main character, is in for a change as his parents move to the Peninsula and purchase a motor camp. As he begins to search and learn more about the people and the place, he discovers a hidden power from a red stone - The Singing Stone.

The stone itself becomes something of a character in this well-written twisty turny narrative where Miles must overcome a number of obstacles that border more on some chilling series on Netflix to a usual adventure series in book form.

Venn utilises his knowledge of the local area to include well-placed facts and locations that are off the beaten track but have a worldliness about them while keeping that New Zealand vibe.

Overall, this is a must-read for anyone in their early years at high school. It is fast-paced, energetic and exciting - well worth the effort!

Reviewer: Chris Reed

Bateman Books


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