The final installment in the Five Stones Trilogy pits the inhabitants of Ayda against power-hungry rogue leader Dankar.
Picking up where Book 2 left off, evil Dankar of Exor, on the magical fog-shrouded island of Ayda, is massing his armies of mutated Exorians to capture the stones of power so that he controls all of Ayda. The Thompson brothers—Chase, 13, Knox, 12, and Teddy, 6, all white—have returned to Ayda from Fells Harbor to fight against him. Their mother, Grace, is also there, as well as biracial and bicultural (Haitian and French-Canadian) Evelyn Boudreaux, 13. But try as they might, Dankar’s power appears to be unstoppable, and all of Ayda despairs. It doesn’t help that Louis, Dankar’s favorite soldier, is really Edward, Grace’s brother, who disappeared years ago. He has no memory of this, however, and instead of helping his sister and nephews, he cooperates in Dankar’s cruelty. Morgan holds the complex plot deftly, alternating the third-person narration through the points of view of several main characters (Dankar, Chase, Knox, Evelyn) chapter by chapter. With clarity and economy, she intertwines back story, setting, adventure, and philosophy in convivial balance, and she admirably maintains the individuality of her very large cast of characters (helpfully delineated in a guide at the back). She tests her characters sorely and sometimes violently, but it’s always in service of the plot.
Teeming with adventure and philosophical richness, this trilogy closer excels. (Fantasy. 10-14)