The Gift Stone

Book One of The Gifted Series

Young Adult - Sci-Fi
362 Pages
Reviewed on 11/27/2017
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.J. Simmill for Readers' Favorite

Bianca Rowena brings you a story in The Gift Stone which could be straight from Star Wars. The Gift Stone is the first book in Bianca Rowena's The Gifted Series. Rita was raised by the temple as a temple girl, but following an encounter with Takano Rynn, leader of the dark army, she fled to the obscurity of Central City, where she could be lost in the crowds. Takano had been on a rampage, murdering anyone within the temples, and any who would dare oppose him, all in search of the Gift Stone. It was rumoured it could bring his evil reign to an end, so he knew he had to find it before someone else could use it against him. When his path crosses with Rita's, he sees something familiar in her, something he can use to make himself stronger. Fleeing to Central City, Rita makes new friends and allies, but the threat is far from over. Both Takano and Dukath are now aware of her, and will stop at nothing to seize her. Women are rarely born with the Gift, and Rita herself does not believe she possesses it. But there are things occurring that even she cannot ignore.

Bianca Rowena has written an entertaining and fantastic fantasy/science fiction book. I really liked Rita's character. For such a young woman she carries a lot of weight on her shoulders, from loneliness and knowing she is different, to being fearful of her actions and weaknesses. The Gift Stone will make an excellent addition to any fantasy lover's library. It starts with promise and builds up momentum the deeper you journey through the tale, from surprising allies and hidden secrets, to unlikely friends, betrayal, and danger. Rita makes some difficult decisions which shape her character and growth, but also drive the readers' deeper attachment to the characters. The Gift Stone has twists and surprises, and an element that will satisfy even the pickiest of science fiction and fantasy fans. I really enjoyed this book.

Liz Konkel

The Gift Stone by Bianca Rowena is the first book in The Gifted Series. Rita is an ordinary Temple Girl until one night she sees the leader of the Ruling Order, Takano Rynn, and his army heading for the Temple she calls home. After she defeats Takano in a fight, she flees to a nearby city where she ends up in the middle of the Opposition's battle against the Order. As she tries to blend into her new surroundings, she makes friends with a charming robot named Beeps and discovers a startling secret about her past. She's drawn to Takano in a way she can't explain, and is surprised to find that he may not be what she thought. He says he needs her help to defeat a greater evil, but after all the stories she's heard can she trust him? Can she trust the connection between them?

Rita's world is flipped upside down when Takano and his army arrive at her Temple, which takes her away from a fairly sheltered life and thrusts her into the grittiness of the city. She doesn't understand a lot of her new surroundings, and is pretty naive about the world. The Gift Stone is her coming of age journey as she searches for her destiny and the role she plays in the battle between good and evil, while also coming to turns with the power she has. Rita has a strong arc as she settles into her destiny and has to learn how to use her power. Bianca Rowena blends science fiction and magic in this dark world, fitting the two perfectly together with flying ships, robots, and magical abilities.

The world is dark and dangerous, but there's also a sense of hope in the darkness, seen primarily in Rita's positive outlook on the world, finding the good in evil. She sees through the stories and the evil that Takano has done, making him a compelling and potentially redeemable character. Her friendship with Beeps is the most charming part of her journey as the two form a strong bond and the robot provides a lot of the humor. The Gift Stone is an exciting adventure and a journey of self-discovery with heart, humor, action, and an adorable robot you'll wish was your friend.

Caitlin Lyle Farley

Rita is running one morning when she sees soldiers of the Ruling Order headed for the Temple she calls home. She hides in the trees and does what she can to distract the soldiers, even fighting Takano Rynn himself. She defeats the leader of the Ruling Order and flees, leaving him to die. Central City becomes a refuge for Rita as she leaves the Temple behind. Murderers aren’t welcome in the Temples. Two kind strangers, Parrin and Star, help Rita through her first day in the city, but unexpected danger separates Rita and Beeps the robot from the others. The Ruling Order knows Rita is Gifted, even though she doesn’t, and is determined to capture her. The Opposition is just as determined to recruit her into their ranks. Only one of them can find her first.

My first impression of The Gift Stone is that it appears to be inspired by Star Wars: The Force Awakens. There are several subtle similarities, enough to evoke a sense of familiarity and nostalgia, but the grander scale of the plot and characters is entirely Bianca Rowena. The Gift Stone is an engrossing adventure that was so much fun to read. Rita is a realistic, well-rounded character and Beeps is a charming sidekick. The affection between the two transforms this odd team-up of convenience into an endearing friendship. Expect the unexpected with the plot of The Gift Stone as Rowena twists the classic hero’s journey to produce a unique tale of self-discovery and redemption.