Cover Image: The Stone Road

The Stone Road

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Member Reviews

This is a weird fantasy and I'm slowly liking weird SFF books, as of late. I'm glad Erewhon Books is providing a lot of weird SFF books for readers like me out there. I'm also glad that this book is a standalone, because ever since I learned I have ADHD since January 2020, my attention span reduced to that of a goldfish. Hence, I'm sort of glad everything sorted out through a satisfying ending in one book.

First off, the good things. I like our protagonist, Jean's voice and her way of seeing the world. She's not a know-it-all like her Nan, neither is a swashbuckling daredevil like her mum used to be. She's practical and pragmatic. She does things after thinking them through and isn't one to do impulsive things. She's also accepting of circumstances and doesn't whine or lament over the series of unfortunate events that always happen on her birthdays. She knows she's no regular kid and her family is no ordinary family and hence all the bad things in her life. But this doesn't mean she's a passive, limp noodle. She acts when she needs to and reacts when she needs to. That's what I love about her. Jean March is a cool protagonist.

I also like the supporting cast. Nan March is an affectionate grandma who possesses a rough diamond personality. She loves Jean with all her heart but doesn't pamper her or sugarcoat the truths of the world from her. Ella March is a douchebag mum with reasons. Lolly is a good friend who provides some comic relief and support whenever needed. The Huskling King is my favorite, with his witty banter with Jean and lots of sarcasm. Mark comes way too late to cut a mark on the story. The Graceful Man unfortunately feels like a two-dimensional villain whose worst, most disturbing traits makes me go "Meh". He could use some more development, IMO.

My three complaints now. First, no chapter breaks. Like none! The eARC was broken in 5 parts and none of them had individual chapter breaks. It was hard to keep on reading after the first 10-15 pages without a break. Things kept happening and kept threading into another event that kept happening. I really don't like long, long, long chapters with no breaks. Really exhausting and it just ruins your mood to continue the book.

Second complaint, the setting. I felt like most of the things in this setting happened without reason. This world has so many similarities with ours, yet nothing to explain things. Why are the March women destined to have an arch nemesis? What's the reason for this arch nemesis' existence? What if one girl was born with no arch nemesis? Other than being their evil counterpart, is there no other purpose to these nemesis' existence? What or who decides what kind of nemesis a March girl gets? What if the March family gets a boy child for a long time? Or someone is born without any abilities that make the March family the walkers? What are walkers and what's so special about them and how have they come to be? What's the In Between? How many powers do the March women get? Do they all get the same power? How powerful can you become? Is there no choice to choose a different life? So many things in this world are left unexplained and I don't like it, tbh.

Third, that ending. It felt like deux ex machina. Too easy, too brief, another thing left unexplained (or maybe I am dumb, who knows ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)

Anyway, if you're up for a weird fantasy of powerful women, intriguing villains, and a coming-of-age story about a girl slowly coming into her calling and her powers, this book is for you.

Thank you, NetGalley and Erewhon Books, for providing me with an eARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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The Stone Road is not your typical coming of age story to be read in a few days. The language and story are a puzzle you have to piece together just as Jean starts to piece together what her life is supposed to be. If you're brave enough to stick with it you'll be rewarded with a most unique adventure filled with love and loss, heart break and redemption.
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I received an ARC of this title via NetGalley (Thank You!) in exchange for an honest review.
I really enjoyed this world once it got about halfway through. The beginning was enjoyable too but so much new terminology is thrown at you with no pause that it is hard to keep up at first. And it in a dystopian world vastly different from ours it can leave you in the dark. With so much thrown in at once it felt a bit rushed. However if it was longer and more drawn out I would have easily have given it five stars. The world has an ambiance reminiscent of the world of Sabriel. One that is sad and well acquainted with death and taking on family inherited jobs. This would be an especially good read for an autumn evening curled by a fire.
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This is such a quietly epic fantasy with so many rich details. My favorite kind of book is one that takes its time laying groundwork, ultimately culminating into something beautiful. This is gonna be so perfect for fans of THE STARLESS SEA and I am also very excited to read more work by this author!
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I envy those readers who can enjoy a good story even when there's something not quite right with the writing...for alas, I am not one of those readers. Which made The Stone Road pretty excruciating.

ARCs often have typos and things; that's okay, we all know an ARC isn't the same as a finished copy. And part of me wants to say that this issue is just down to the fact that this isn't the finished copy of The Stone Road. But I don't think it is; it's just too prominent.

Here's the problem: The Stone Road is packed full of commas that should not be there. Jamieson uses commas where semi-colons or full-stops are required - and then throws in a bucket-more of commas just to be safe. I made it 21% of the way through this book - what my Kindle estimates to be around page 90 - and it was just pages and pages of sentences like this;

"there was a nearly empty bottle of bourbon in there, it had been full the last time I saw it, I unscrewed the cap and had a whiff: it made my eyes water."

Or

"And Nan, would be mad, but she'd know what I was."

And then, bizarrely, there are times where the commas that *should* be there are just...not.

"A hundred little things maybe more that kept this place alive."

All three of these quotes are from *one page* of this book.

It's a real shame, because if you lifted away the commas that shouldn't be there - and dropped them into those places where they *should* be, instead - I think this could be a really lovely book. I read the entirety of Part One, and there was enough groundwork laid that I was interested in seeing where the story was going. But the rhythm of the writing is just so jarring that I can't stand it.

DNF.
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