Isle of Blood and Stone: Tower of Winds, Book 1

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Isle of Blood and Stone: Tower of Winds, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Historical fantasy weaves clever mystery plot.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

An alternate history with a Mediterranean inflection, Isle of Blood and Stone uses its mystery plot to explore issues of loyalty and perseverance.

Positive Messages

Personal comfort should never stand in the way of the truth. Compassion for the poor and sick is a valuable trait.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Elias, Ulises, and Mercedes are extremely loyal to one another and to their families. Mercedes is outspoken, protective, and handy with bow and arrows. Many view Elias as a troublemaker, but he takes his duties extremely seriously. Ulises does his best to be a fair but respected ruler.


Violence plays a central role in Isle of Blood and Stone, which opens with a mass poisoning and the kidnapping of two young boys. Other violent scenes include the beating of a 9-year-old girl, the death of an elderly woman, and a villain having his tongue cut out.


Elias and Mercedes gradually act on their romantic feelings for each other and share some passionate embraces.


"Damned" and "bastard" are as rough as it gets.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Poisoned wine is used to kill almost everyone at an outdoor meal.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Isle of Blood and Stone is a historical fantasy by Makiia Lucier (A Death-Struck Year). Set in an alternate ancient Mediterranean, the novel opens with a mass poisoning and has other scenes of violence, including the brutal beating of a 9-year-old girl and the death of an elderly woman. A couple shares some passionate embraces, strong language is minimal (just "damned" and "bastard"), as is drinking (an incident of poisoned wine). The book is notable for its diverse cast and emphasis on the power and value of loyalty.

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What's the story?

As ISLE OF BLOOD AND STONE opens, the discovery of two mysterious maps turns the lives of Elias, Ulises, and Mercedes upside-down, The maps hint that the true heirs to the throne may still be alive 18 years after the mass poisoning that dramatically changed the kingdom of St. John del Mar. Elias vows to follow the clues wherever they may lead, especially if the quest might reveal the whereabouts of his missing father. The stakes are high, though, and he will need the support of his friends Ulises and Mercedes if he hopes to survive learning the truth about the tragedy.

Is it any good?

In historical fantasy, the rules of royal succession can provide plenty of motive, and this well-plotted mystery uses the gambit of missing heirs to fuel its twisting narrative. In Isle of Blood and Stone, author Makiia Lucier balances action and character-driven plotting. Elias, Ulises, and Mercedes are a formidable team, and Lucier makes each of those characters worth rooting for. She also concocts some suitably despicable villains. Magic doesn't seem to be a part of his world, but Isle of Blood and Stone is likely to satisfy readers who enjoy a satisfying whodunnit.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Isle of Blood and Stone addresses themes of loyalty to family and community. Why do the characters persist in a quest for the truth, even when it's not in their best interest to do so?

  • Is keeping secrets a good idea? Why do people withhold information from each other? What can be the consequences of doing so?

  • How is violence used in Isle of Blood and Stone? When is it useful, and when is it harmful?

Book details

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For kids who love mystery and fantasy

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