Pay It Forward · Review

Book Review: The Legend of the Moonstone

Book – The Legend of the Moonstone
Author – Meglena Ivanova
Star rating – ★★☆☆☆
Would I read it again – No.
Plot – unique, intriguing, but lost something in translation
Characters – unidentifiable, not fully explored
Movie Potential – ★★★☆☆ (may be better on screen)
Ease of reading – not easy to read at all. Very hard to follow.


First off, let me say that I had real trouble with his book, for many reasons. However, it is important to remember that this is just MY opinion and it is not based on knowledge of the author or the subject on which the book is based (minerals and gems). It is neither an attempt to attack the author, as I feel this book HAS got potential, it just doesn’t work for me.

My Issues –

There are slightly odd choices in phrasing throughout the book and a lot of what I call ‘Mother Theresa’ moments, where the author tries to distil a message in a wise sounding way. It didn’t work for me at all. And it is frequent throughout the book. It is very hard to read, with run-on sentences that get you tied up in knots and force you to re-read them a few times to figure out what is trying to be said. It is often difficult to catch the meaning of what the author is trying to say and re-reading multiple sentences, many times, does ruin the flow of the story.

There are simple things that are being described in the most ‘intelligent’ sounding way, when they could be expressed in a much more simple way that would make it easier to read. The story also has a tendency to slip from past to present tense and there are particularly sentences that feel like the author is trying to tell the reader something directly, which feels very wrong to me.

There is a lot of factual information provided, about minerals, gems, which is not necessarily a bad thing. But, there are lots of ‘drops’ of knowledge, that jar with the reading flow, when mentioning the Moonstone, minerals and location knowledge that often disrupt the story for no reason. The information is neither necessary nor relevant to the story. E.g. Information about what towns/counties/landmarks etc with names, run along the map. This means nothing to me, since I’m in the UK and I can’t distinguish what these places are supposed to mean to me or where they are.

Small and big things a like, this book made my head spin. Small things like – claiming that ‘The Moonstone’ is one word, have my screaming at the book inside my head.

I also find that the formatting is jumbled throughout the story. The descriptive paragraphs are left aligned, but the speech are indented once throughout part of the story. This jumble makes it hard to tell if some things are speech or description until you get to the end of the sentence/paragraph and then you have to read it again to put it into the right context. Then it changes to a double indent in places, and then no indent in others. It is also quite hard to figure out who is talking at some points, because there are just continuous paragraphs of speech, with no indication of who is speaking.

I feel like there is also a misunderstanding of phrases, by the author, as things like “hanging on his lips” should really read “hanging on his every word”, because of the preceding and following events. Unless the author means that “the words were hanging on his lips”, but then again, that would be saying something which was already implied a moment before, so either way it doesn’t make much sense.

I am not, however, going to list all of my highlights or my issues, these are just the major incidences which ruined the flow for me. I am also not a big fan of BIG CAPITOL LETTERS IN THE MIDDLE OF SENTENCES. It irritates me and implies that the CAPITOL used is important. It often proves not to be. It seems a needless use of what could just be ordinary words in the story.

Story –

I think the Prologue, though difficult to read, was good. It began with a lecture in a University and it felt like a very clever use of character. The Professor allowed for a direct method of feeding facts and knowledge to the reader, without it seeming extraneous or boring.

There are moments where the story shines. Good use of visual description, emotive moments with the characters and such. The legend is a good story for the Professor to use in his class, giving a good way to teach future scientists to keep an open mind and always be open to new discoveries.

There are continuity issues that bug me, as well. Characters go from sitting to standing with no sense of movement or action; it just happens as if the latter action was how it had always been. I also find it very confusing and unfair of the author to tell us one minute that the name of the ‘child reborn’ is unimportant, only to go and name him later, without telling his name or who they are telling us about. I actually thought this was a continuity mistake, to begin with. The author mentioned Kyle, who had never appeared in the story before and then switched to talking about Daniel. I thought this was a simple matter of the author changing Daniel’s name during the writing process and missing one or two instances of the old name ‘Kyle’. However, it wasn’t until I read ‘Kyle and Daniel’ later on that I realised Kyle was the name of the ‘child reborn’. We just hadn’t been told so.

It is things like this that make the book extremely difficult to read, follow or truly enjoy. It is very confusing and hard to follow and it jumps often, which makes my head spin. There are a lot of cryptic conversations that feel like the author is trying to deliberately come across as mysterious, as if to hint at answers to come later. Only they don’t come later. They’re ignored and we are never to find out what they’re about. Which I believe is a ploy to make us read Book 2. Which I will not be doing.

I’ve found that sentences are most confusing when left incomplete, beginning with leading words such as Though, and never finishing the thought.

I find this whole book confusing and frustrating. It is a good story and it could have had me on the edge of my seat. It was short enough that I read it in one day, but that was because of my reading deadline and the previous difficulty I had with reading long sections in one go. I decided to bite the bullet and get it done. Sadly, it wasn’t read in one day because I couldn’t put it down. I would love to have loved this book – the basics of it are great, it is just the execution that make it one of those books that sits on the fence for me.

I could say that because of it’s potential and the guts of the story being great, I’m giving it 4 stars, but unfortunately, there are too many issues to allow that. I’m forced to cut that rating in half, to 2 stars to properly portray my issues and the disappointment that a book I really wanted to like just didn’t live up to expectation.

This book is an interesting concept, but very difficult to read. I don’t believe that any young adults or ‘kids’ as advertised, would be able to follow it. Reading this reminded me of trying to read Charles Dicken’s Bleak House. It has a very uber-intelligent, 1800s feel to the way the words are put together.

Characters –

I don’t have much to say about the characters of this book because I feel that they came second to the Moonstone and the legend. There was no background, no introduction, no emotional connection created between reader and character. I found the whole thing very detached and uninspiring. The ‘love’ between Kyle and Sophia is unrealistic, sudden and never even mentioned until it suits the story. Which is the same with her ‘love’ for Daniel. It seems very fake and forced to suit the plot, rather than being something that would have happened anyway, if the legend and the Moonstone had never existed.

It is also never mentioned until very late in that Daniel, the student, is Danny the little boy from the beginning of the story. Which I find very, very odd, because after the 10 years later part, we’re told that he would be twenty three, but the Professor never knew what had happened to him over the last ten years. It seems a bit disingenuous to say that and imply that he’s going to find out in some intriguing way, when all that happens is that we find out the truth a chapter or so later in an anti-climactic way. It felt very important when we were first told that, but it fizzled out to nothing when it could really have been a driving force of the story.

It also irks me that Kyle, Sophia and Daniel are called children, and act like it, even though they are in university. It would have been much better to make this a high school story, so that the personalities of the characters fitted their age.

It is a very irritating feeling to not enjoy a book. Every big event comes out of the blue, from absolutely nowhere, with no explanation and no reason. There isn’t very much description either, outside of the Professor’s lectures, which makes this even more difficult, as you go from people standing talking to suddenly bursting into action in the blink of an eye. Even re-reading the sentences and paragraphs doesn’t help in the slightest.

Overall –

If the kids can understand the often confused and out-dated speech then I’m sure they would love this story. But I have absolutely no connection to any of the characters, no care for the story or their fates and no interest in the search for the Bloodstone or finding out the elusive secrets and mysterious goings on hinted at in this book. Which is sad, because this is the kind of search that I would usually enjoy reading about. It was just too laborious to get through.