Book Review: Stonebird by Mike Revell

Title: Stonebird
Author:  Mike Revell
Published: 5th February 2015
Publisher: Quercus Books

Twitter: @RevellWriting

When eleven-year-old Liam moves house to be closer to his grandma, he’s thrown into an unfamiliar place, with a family that seems to be falling apart.

Liam doesn’t remember what Grandma was like before she became ill with dementia. He only knows the witch-like old woman who snaps and snarls and eats her birthday cards. He desperately wants to make everything better, but he can’t.

Escaping the house one evening, Liam discovers an old stone gargoyle in a rundown church, and his life changes in impossible ways.

The gargoyle is alive. It moves unseen in the night, acting out Liam’s stories. And stories can be dangerous things . . .

But Liam’s grandma’s illness is getting worse, his mum isn’t coping, and his sister is skipping school.

What if the gargoyle is the only thing that can save Liam’s family?


Thanks to Quercus for providing me with a copy of Stonebird in return for an honest review. 

This is a powerful debut book from Mike Revell. It is a fantasy novel telling the tale of 11 year old Liam who is uprooted by his mother and moved across country to live near to his grandmother who is suffering from dementia. His mother is not coping well, turning to alcohol to blot out her troubles. Liam starts his new school and is immediately the target of bullies. Life is not going so well for him!

Liam then comes across an old stone gargoyle in a nearby church. He also comes across his grandmother’s diary, written in her teenage years. Through that diary, Liam learns the power of the gargoyle and uses this to try to fix everything that seems to be disintegrating around him. He soon learns that stories can be a very dangerous thing.

Stonebird is a poignant and heart-breaking story. Liam is having to deal with so much at such a young age. The way the author looks at the issue of dementia through a child’s eyes is incredibly well done.

Liam is a great character, so brave and determined to hold together his family and to do the right thing.

Whilst this book is perfect for older children, I think adults would enjoy the magic of the tale also.

I read this book in one afternoon and thought it was a truly beautiful and heart-warming story, from the aesthetically pleasing front cover until the very last page. Stonebird is a fantastic thought-provoking book with magic in each and every page. As the front cover tells us “Believe in the magic of stories” 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

About the Author

Mike Revell has always wanted to write for children. He studied Creative Writing at the University of Essex, followed by a postgraduate journalism course at Harlow College. Mike also has a passion for American Football, and when not writing fiction, he reports on the NFL for the Mirror newspaper. Mike grew up in Cambridge and now lives with his girlfriend and their new puppy, Toffee, in North Wales. Stonebird is his first novel.

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