I get numerous emails weekly asking me to read a book, and I used to download free Kindle books daily that I found on Twitter; so I’m not sure which of those things I did to find Stones by Jacob Whaler, but I’m glad I did. In Colorado, while skiing, teenager Matt Newmark finds a stone that changes his life when he is 22, after not letting him die at age 16. The year is after 2151, and people rarely go outside any more, there are Freedom Camps that want to rise against the establishment, Matt, a Japanese American and his girlfriend Jessica, who believes in Jesus, which is frowned upon in this decade. Then there is Kent Newmark, a lawyer who investigates corporate malfeasance, a Japanese history professor, a Shinto priest, and at the top of the food chain, a Polish Auschwitz survivor, Dr. Ryzaard, whose greed for power and control rivals Hitler’s. Ryzaard will do anything to get Matt’s newly acquired stone, even kill.
Descriptions were rich and layered, but my Kindle said it would take me 14 hours to read the book. I panicked! My Kindle is now two years old, and it readjusts based on my reading speed, but still, 14 hours? It readjusted at 12% to 8 hours and that’s pretty much, give or take, how it took me to read this 550 page book. I was intrigued! Stones (Data) had all the hallmarks of an amazing book: Love. Technology. Freedom. Power. Compliance. Individuality. Religion. Autonomy. Corruption. Control. Government. History. The Stones.
Besides the jax, and transports from DIA to Japan in six hours, it really didn’t seem like the future at all! Shinto gates every where. Japan in trade agreements with China and a hatred of America. The Bible out-dated. It could be a warped 2014! I liked the quotes from Art of War and the infusion of Japanese words. The level of corporate corruption was believable, but Ryzaard, well, I didn’t understand why he was so power-hungry. He wanted to make a world full of sheeple, which is exactly what Hitler wanted, and he had lived over 200 years and didn’t know that what he wanted was a bad idea. That seemed a little far-fetched. I had a hard time reconciling the fact that the SS killed his father, mother and sister; but Ryzaard was still OK with murder. He felt that murder benefitted him. He either was mentally ill or completely deluded. He was horrifically corrupt.
I also didn’t understand the shape of a woman and her saying We Are the Allehonen. Was Whaler implying that the shape of a woman means creation? I thought for all the time the book wasted on details that didn’t matter, they could have spent a little time on the Shinto priest explaining Allehonen better!
Kent is still grieving for his dead wife 12 years after the fact, which seems depressing and a bit unrealistic, he’s also a control freak about his son Matt. But Kent’s adventure cross-country from Colorado to New York City, traveling through the Freedom Camps, stealth and cloak modes for Matt’s and his jax, surveillance equipment and tricks of detection, and Kent unknowingly being followed by The Children. Unfortunately, while I lied Kent and all I got bored and started skipping all of his sections except for a cursory read to make sure I knew what was going on with his character. All of the elements built a marvelous plot that kept me steam-rolling through the book dying to know what happened next.
While it was an amazing book, my pet peeve was that the book was too voluminous! It was crazy long! This brilliant thriller was slowed down by descriptions, numerous POVs, and mundane scenes that were repetitive. Close tot he end of the book the plot soared! Unfortunately it happened so close to the denouement of the book that the reader couldn’t enjoy that great writing at the end!
Sadly the ending was ridiculous. Boring. Matt & Jess going of in to the figurative sunset, looking up at the starry sky and holding hands, kissing. They are together on Matt’s world. Ryzaard is alive, the Shinto priest is dead; and Matt will worry about Ryzaard destroying the world later. I would have preferred an analysis of what him and Jessica went through at the hands of the monomaniac and his minions.
@krautgrrl says that this a great book, suitable for 14 year olds and above. Don’t be bothered that you may skip a lot of pages, if it doesn’t hurt the plot for you, don’t worry about it. The book did get long, so it’s OK to stop, put it down and take a break, or skip pages. Enjoy! And look for me on the web and more of my reviews on Amazon.