Review: The Ruins on Stone Hill

Goodreads link: The Ruins on Stone Hill (The Heroes of Ravenford #1)
Author: F. P. Spirit
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: 4/5 stars

The Ruins on Stone Hill is pretty much what I expected: a classic adventure in the style of Tolkien and Dungeons and Dragons. A brace band of heroes, looking to make names for themselves, undergoes a series of quests to help the town of Ravenford. Along the way, they make friends and outgrow some of their youthful mistakes.

The story is light and easy to follow, suitable for a children’s book. Although the characters are quickly identified as a human warrior, a gnome cleric, an elf mage, and a halfling rogue, they do have distinct personalities and secrets that come out over the course of the story. The highlight of the book is their friendship. And the action is steady, with lots of battles and dangerous encounters, without being too graphic. There’s also a good amount of humor mixed in.

I had two minor problems with this book. One, all of the main characters are male, and the main purpose of secondary female characters was to fawn over the human warrior. Lloyd barely had to open his mouth before the young women were obviously attracted to him, and started doing him favors. The only female warrior they encounter is described as “sultry” and emphasis on her “ample bosom” even in the middle of combat. Two, the random use of Asian terms in a pseudo-European setting. For example, the rogue Seth insists on calling himself a ninja, even though he had typical rogue abilities like lock picking and stealing; while warrior Lloyd talks about channeling ki. None of these words appear to be used in their original context, so it seems as if the author used them just for an exotic flavor, and they stand out as odd.

In the end, however, there was a satisfying conclusion with the promise of more adventures to come. An enjoyable read for all ages.


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