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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Time of the Stonechosen by Thomas Quinn Miller is the second book in the Soulstone Prophecy series. Ghile has left home to begin his journey as the Stonechosen with Gaidel, Riff, and Two Elks traveling at his side to protect him. After a battle sends Ghile into the dreaming world, he learns to master his new abilities and discovers the mysterious Akira is trapped there and unable to wake. While he sleeps, his friends are taken into a village and given the seemingly impossible task of healing a boy or risk suffering the consequences. Dangers around Ghile grow as the dwarves continue to hunt for the Stonechosen and are getting dangerously close to finding him. As an unexpected power rises, Ghile will forced to make a difficult decision.
Thomas Quinn Miller has captured these characters in a way that's real and creates an emotional adventure. Miller explores several perspectives which thread together in a specific way to keep the adventure moving forward. The characters are a variety of human, dwarf, druid, and many others, but they all have an element of humanity to them that makes them real and layered. The characters present unique twists on some well-known ideas of dwarves, elves, and others. Miller balances out different worlds, all linked together, as Ghile goes into this dream place where his ghostly, dream-like mentors guide and teach him. Miller digs into each character's motivation and incorporates subtle scenes where you see moments of humanity. Even the bad characters have other sides to them that show them as more than just villains. Finngyr is a dwarf who is chasing after Ghile and all Stonechosen to kill them. By all accounts he's one of the bad guys, but there are little moments that dig into other sides of his character, including a moment where he's teaching two young dwarves how to properly saddle their griffons. It's little moments such as that one which make the villainous characters something more than just the bad guys. Ashar is one of the most complicated characters. Having been corrupted by revenge, his motives seem rather noble on the surface as he goes about trying to wake his sister up, but as the story progresses, his reasons are delved into further and tie directly into how the end of the story unfolds.
The world is dark and gritty as the humans are living in fear of the dwarves, of the cullers, and of the elves. Around every corner there seems to be yet another new danger that they have to work together in order to stop, which contrasts to many of Ghile's decisions to go off on his own. He quickly learns that he needs his friends more than he thinks. Ghile goes through a typical hero's journey in learning how to use his abilities with the help of mentors, but Miller twists the usual trope by directly tying his journey of self-discovery to how he becomes a hero. The decisions he makes are sometimes rash, but he's always accepting of the consequences and truly does his best to save others, which is what makes him commendable. Brilliant and captivating, Time of the Stonechosen is a thorough and vivid world with layered characters and non-stop adventure.