book reviews by Althea

**** The Jewel and Her Lapidary – Fran Wilde

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The Jewel and Her Lapidary
The Jewel and Her Lapidary by Fran Wilde

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed Wilde’s ‘Updraft,’ although I thought it was a bit too similar to Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s ‘Greensky’ trilogy. When I saw this at the library, I thought I’d give the author a second try.

The concept of jewels that are invested with magical powers isn’t a new one, but this slim novella gives the idea a fresh-feeling twist. In this fantasy world, a kingdom has been based on the harnessing of jewels’ power. Only certain people can ‘hear’ these magical jewels, and those people end up being either ruling royalty – or bondservants sworn to those royals. This society has a long tradition – but as our story opens, we’re in the midst of a bloody palace coup/invasion. Everything has been thrown into chaos, and the only two survivors of the palace massacre may be a young princess (the “Jewel”) and her bondsmaid (the “Lapidary.”)

Of course, the usurpers have dastardly plans for these two – and the girls will have to overcome their traditional roles and what was always expected of them, and use all their ingenuity to try to extricate themselves from what may be a no-win situation.

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