United By Pop received a free copy of Seven Trees of Stone in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are our own.
Title: Seven Trees of Stone
Author: Leo Hunt
Overall rating: 3.5/5
Great for: Fans of Charlie Higson, Christopher Golden and Michelle Hodkin
Themes: Young adult, coming-of-age, fantasy, paranormal, horror
The first book introduces the reader to Luke Manchett. The sudden death of his father leaves him with an unexpected inheritance: Luke has been left in charge of his father’s ghostly collection of eight restless spirits. And they want revenge for their long enslavement,
Luke has just thirteen days to uncover the secrets of the dark magic that has captured them and return the spirits to their eternal rest.
The second book sees the return of the just-as-reluctant necromancer, Luke. It is only months after his first ghostly encounter and his help has already been requested in returning some more restless spirits back to where they belong. Ash is the strange new girl at school and, whilst she has more knowledge than the fledgeling Luke, they must work together to help save her twin sister from the demons who possess her.
In the final book, ‘Seven Trees of Stone’, Luke believes he has left his (literal) past demons behind when he moves from his hometown. But New Year’s Eve sees him, and girlfriend Elza inexplicably returned to the forests bordering his childhood home.
A great spirit has returned. And it has brought friends from the spirit realm. The world is set to be overrun by the returned dead unless Luke, with the help of old friends, can devise a plan to stop them all.
Can I just say that I was initially intrigued by this book as the cover was giving me intense Nicholas Hoult in ‘Warm Bodies‘ vibes!
And this proved to be just as interesting inside as well as out! Each chapter began with a page featuring white writing on a black background, reversing the normal text layout. This added a layer of intrigue to the physicality of the book and compelled me to keep reading. A* publishing game!
And if the look of this book wasn’t enough to keep me reading, the story sure was!
Paranormal isn’t a genre I typically navigate towards, and neither is fantasy in an urban setting. For both of those reasons, I wasn’t sure how this book would appeal to me. However, I found that it made me re-question all I had assumed about this genre as it continued to blow me away with its moments of high drama and high-thrills.
The return of the un-dead can often be almost comical, in the media, and a topic I don’t find particularly terrifying. And yet here, the melodrama of the situations were kept at a low and Hunt added suspenseful and elongated scenes before every moment of action to heighten the tension of the story. This provided moments of haunting reprieve and tense silence between the scenes of active motion, and both worked together to make this a truly dynamic tale.
I also found myself able to easily follow the story, despite having not read the previous two books. Without seeming to info-dump, Hunt recaps the previous stories until the reader is all caught up on the former drama and can fully immerse themselves in the current predicament.
I’m looking forward to collecting the previous books and rereading the series again, from the very beginning, to see if the additional information will heighten my enjoyment of this final book. I’m also already keen to revisit this world, and plunge myself back into the riveting tale of Luke Manchett’s crazy life.