Wednesday, 28 April 2021

#BookReview — Quetzalcoatl: Time Stones Book II by Ian Hunter #YoungAdult #TimeTravel @IanHunterAuthor




Quetzalcoatl: Time Stones Book II

By Ian Hunter



Publication Date: 21st April 2021
Publisher:  MVB Marketing- und Verlagsservice des Buchhandels GmbH
Page Length 295 Pages
Genre: Young Adult / Historical Fantasy / Time-Travel

Since finding her mother’s Time Stone, Jessie Mason’s life has been one challenge after another. Together with her fellow travellers, Tip, Kes and Abe, she is beginning to understand the incredible powers that the stones bestow on them. However, escape from the woodlands of 18th Century New York extracted a heavy price, for they left behind their aged mentor, Grandfather. Now Jessie must lead her friends in the hopeless task Grandfather set them: hunt down and destroy the Time Stones. As her consciousness awakes in the timeless void, she knows her leadership has already failed. Tip has severed the link which bound them together, Abe has disappeared, and she and Kes have arrived at some unplanned place and time.

Jessie quickly learns their destination is the centre of an empire; one in turmoil as it struggles to comprehend a changing world. With an act of self-preservation, she and Kes are unexpectedly thrust into the heart of a fractured Mexica nobility, desperate to halt the advancing Spanish conquistadors. Trapped and awaiting the inevitable clash of cultures, Jessie is immersed in a way of life, fascinating and disturbing in equal measure, that she knows will be brutally extinguished.

Abe’s sudden appearance places the friends on opposing sides, as Tenochtitlan, the fabulous capital of the Mexica, descends into savage violence. But Abe brings startling news, the man pursuing them through time, the man responsible for their predicament, is close at hand. They just have to find him, and his stone, in the chaos of battle.

With world history changing direction around them, Jessie and her friends are forced to decide which is more important: stone or escape. Finally, they discover only one course of action remains, they must fight to survive.



Too late, he understood the stone’s curse. It lay not in the stone, but in those who possessed it.

Jessie, Kes, Tiponi and Abe knew all about the power of the stones. They knew that they were both a blessing, and a curse.

Thrown together from very different eras, these four unlikely friends must complete the task that their mentor had set them. They must hunt down and destroy the Time Stones. But that was a task easier said than done…

The end of Quillan Creek and the Little War (Time Stones, Book 1) seemed so final that I was left wondering how Ian Hunter would approach Book 2. The dramatic ending of Book 1 hinted that all the protagonists had died but, of course, with the sacred stones that allow time travel, it made sense that they would escape death. Quetzalcoatl (Time Stones Book II) carries on the story of Jessie, Kes, Tiponi, and Abe. These four brave young adults must first survive this strange world that they have been thrown into, but they must also find each other, because only when united can they figure out why their stones took them to this place.

Having thoroughly enjoyed Book 1, it was with eager anticipation that I waited for Book II. Initially, I was slightly thrown by the beginning of this novel, for it opens in the home of a merchant who has in his possession a cursed stone - it must never be touched. He seemingly has no understanding of what the stone is and what it can do. But he keeps it carefully locked away and thinks of his son, who has travelled to the new world, seeking adventure and wealth. The importance of this merchant and his son only becomes clear at the very end of this novel. Indeed, there are many threads to this story, all woven intricately together to create a vast tapestry of myths, legends, history and magic.

The historical events that the friends witness is depicted with a tremendous amount of skill and knowledge. In this novel, the author asks his readers to question what a civilised world looks like. The Aztecs are seemingly barbaric with their human sacrifices and religion, but did that make them uncivilised? They had a very defined social structure, and I thought Hunter did a tremendous job in capturing the very essence of these people during this turbulent era. The Cortés’ siege of Tenochtitlan is depicted with a brutal reality that is almost tangible. Hunter has brought this era majestically back to life. It is a finely detailed reality with a very convincing visual presence. Like our four intrepid heroes, I too felt like I had fallen through time.

Friendship is a theme that runs throughout the length of this novel. There is a strong sense of camaraderie that is dependent upon mutual support, both emotionally and physically. This especially applies to Jessie and Kes, who are connected in a way that the others are not. However, this connection comes with its own set of challenges, because there is a simmering romantic attraction between the two, which in turn leads to irrational feelings of jealousy. This unexpected jealousy brings a new dynamic to the friendship group. Hunter certainly has a great understanding of human fallibility and because of this all of his characters are believable.

There is nothing about the four protagonists of this novel - Jessie, Tip, Kes and Abe - that screams heroism, and yet, through no choice of their own, they become the heroes of the day. Their everyday fight to stay alive is eclipsed only by the knowledge that the stones have taken them to this era for a specific reason. The horrors that each of them have witnessed could have destroyed their fragile mental health, but together they are a strong team that can weather the storms.

Jessie was one of my favourite characters in Book 1 and she continued to be so in Book 2. Jessie is a young woman who is constantly out of her depth. Because of the magic of her stones, she can understand what everyone is saying and, although initially the Aztecs look at her with contempt, they soon change their mind when Jessie is forced into a situation where she has to use her stones magic to stop someone she loves from being sacrificed. This immediately changes the Aztecs’ opinion of her. Some think she is a messenger from the God, Quetzalcoatl. While others think she is Quetzalcoatl. Either way, she is at the mercy and generosity of the Aztecs until it is safe for her to search for Tiponi and Abe. She also has to wrestle with the question as to why the stones had brought them here. I thought Jessie’s depiction was sublime. She has been torn, as all the heroes in this story have, from her own time and finds herself in a very foreign world, but her courage and her unwavering sense of loyalty makes her a protagonist that a reader can get behind and root for.

Another character that I simply adored was Kes. Kes sufferers horrendously at the hand of the Aztecs, and if it were not for Jessie and his stone, he would be dead. Kes, like Jessie, takes his responsibilities seriously, and he also tries to see the bigger picture. I thought Kes’ depiction was fabulous.

Unlike Book 1, Tiponi and Abe are very much secondary characters, as the author concentrates on Jessie and Kes’ journey. I liked the fact that Hunter decided to focus on these two, as it is their experience, their understanding, and their relationship that I had become invested in. Hunter certainly seems to know what his audience wants!

Quetzalcoatl (Time Stones Book II) by Ian Hunter is a tautly gripping novel that is written with a sensitivity to the era it depicts, but it is also a story packed with adventure and magic. Hunter’s vivacious storytelling made this novel impossible to put down. It is a story that has been penned with an impressive sweep and brilliance.

I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde
The Coffee Pot Book Club.







Ian Hunter



Books have been an important part of my life as long as I can remember, and at 54 years old, that’s a lot of books. My earliest memories of reading are CS Lewis’, “The Horse and His Boy” – by far the best of the Narnia books, the Adventures series by Willard Price, and “Goalkeepers are Different” by sports journalist Brian Glanville. An eclectic mix. My first English teacher was surprised to hear that I was reading, Le Carré, Ken Follett, Nevil Shute and “All the Presidents’ Men” by Woodward and Bernstein at the age of 12. I was simply picking up the books my father had finished.


School syllabus threw up the usual suspects – Shakespeare, Chaucer, Dickens, Hardy, “To Kill a Mockingbird” – which I have reread often, and others I don’t immediately recall. By “A” level study, my then English teachers were pulling their hair out at my “perverse waste of talent” – I still have the report card! But I did manage a pass.


During a 35 year career, briefly in Banking and then in IT, I managed to find time, with unfailing family support, to study another lifelong passion, graduating with an Open University Bachelors’ degree in History in 2002. This fascination with all things historical inspired me to begin the Time Stones series. There is so much to our human past, and so many differing views on what is the greatest, and often the saddest, most tragic story. I decided I wanted to write about it; to shine a small light on those, sometimes pivotal stories, which are less frequently mentioned.


In 1995, my wife, Michelle, and I moved from England to southern Germany, where we still live, with our two children, one cat, and, when she pays us a visit, one chocolate labrador. I have been fortunate that I could satisfy another wish, to travel as widely as possible and see as much of our world as I can. Destinations usually include places of historic and archaeological interest, mixed with a large helping of sun, sea and sand for my wife’s peace of mind.

 

Connect with Ian:

Website • Twitter • Goodreads.

 

 



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See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx