Heart of Stone

2012. 416p. 978-0-38575-243-5.
Gr 5-9–After vanquishing one of four powerful witch sisters who control the world’s essential elements in Mistress of the Storm (Random, 2011), Verity Gallant and her friends have enjoyed an idyllic summer in their cliffside hometown of Wellow. Strange events soon shatter the peace, however: the earth is eroding away beneath their feet, causing hazardous conditions, and insidious white sand suddenly seems to be covering everything. It soon becomes apparent that these are the machinations of the Earth Witch, turned to stone and smashed into millions of pieces long ago by the cruel-hearted Wind Witch, and now determined to re-form into a vengeful whole and wipe out every “happy-ever-after” along the way. Relying once again upon hard work (including library research and brilliant code-cracking), danger-fraught investigations, and hard-earned insights, Verity and her compatriots must put together the pieces of a twist-turning mystery and try to stop this formidable new enemy. Built upon a bulwark of intricately wrought backstory and mythology, this satisfying fantasy combines fast-paced adventure with slow-brewing suspense that is both spine-tingling and delightfully unsettling. The characters are multidimensional, with heroes who experience moments of jealousy or selfishness, and villains capable of remorse. Enhanced by funny banter and believable emotions, Verity’s relationships with her peers–including a budding romance–are deftly drawn, as are her own insecurities and revelations. Reading the first book first is not necessary, but those who have will better appreciate this well-written and richly imagined offering.–Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal
Verity Gallant (Mistress of the Storm) faces another danger from the Keepers of the Elements. Again searching for clues in ancient books, Verity and friends try to stop the vengeful Earth Witch, who's ravaging their harbor town of Wellow and attempting to wipe out all happiness. An evocatively described seaside setting, mystical elements, and a tense climax will enchant fantasy lovers.

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