Madeline Oliver has never wanted for anything, but now she would give anything just to breathe. Jason Wu skates through life on jokes, but when a tragedy leaves him guilt-stricken, he promises to tell only the truth, no matter the price. When a mysterious stranger name Hanali appears to Madeline and offers to heal her in exchange for one year of service to his people, Madeline and Jason are swept into a strange land where they don’t know the rules and where their decisions carry consequences that reach farther than they could ever guess.
If you've read my reviews before, you know I LOVE portal fantasies. Into the Hazelwood, has been one of my favorite books so far this year. Getting the chance to read a portal fantasy, like The Crescent Stone was an exciting opportunity, because it gives me a chance to explore an entirely new and unique world. I couldn't wait to see what Matt Mikalatos had created!
I definitely loved the world of The Crescent Stone. While the characters often relate their new home to portal fantasies they're familiar with, like Narnia and Harry Potter, it really is an entirely unique concept. I enjoyed the dynamic between the humans and the fairy-like people of The Sunlit Lands. Their relationship is something new and refreshing to a genre where humans are usually considered hostile or completely foreign. In this world, humans and well integrated and an import part of society. I enjoyed learning about that relationship and the history of the world.
The plot of the book is high stakes from the beginning. We learn right away that Madeline has a lung disease and will die soon. The tension and action only builds from there. There are few moments of rest of reflection in this book and the plot is propelled by intense action, one event right after the other. While this isn't always a bad thing, I did get a bit of whiplash when I started this book, as I didn't get much time to get to know the characters before the plot started in full force.
I struggled with the characters in this book the most. Madeline was unique and memorable, due to her disease, but not because any part of her personality was especially outstanding. On the other hand, Jason, has a dark, veiled backstory and outrageous personality. I struggled to take Jason seriously as a character, as he didn't seem to take the plot seriously much of the time. While I understood his important role in the overall story arch and the need for some comic-relief from time to time, his contact joking during dark and strange situations made him hard to believe for this reader.
In The Crescent Stone, author Matt Mikalatos created a new and exciting world that I thoroughly enjoyed exploring. The plot is fast paced, which makes this a great quick read for portal fantasy enthusiasts. The main characters in this book weren't my favorite out of portal fantasies I'd read, but if you enjoy a plot-driven story with a light-hearted tone then Madeline and Jason will be the perfect fit for you!