Particular Stones is available for purchase at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.
Particular Stones by David J. Kirk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I usually divide books -by page count- into quarters, the goal being to read one-quarter of the book per day. I finished this book in three days.
The prose is militaristic, which probably comes about because Kirk is a Navy veteran. The writing is simple and efficient. There’s no flowery prose.
Orphaned boys come together to form a group that helps them survive an abusive orphanage in a futuristic world affected by climate change. If William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, George Orwell’s Animal Farm, and Stephen King’s The Body (Stand by Me) could have a love-child, it would be this book.
I also saw many parallels to the life and works of Henry David Thoreau – if you haven’t read Thoreau, I recommend doing so as an accompaniment to this book.
The story occurs in a school and I love how Kirk catches us readers up on the events that have happened between today and 3063, the year that this story occurs in, by letting us go to history class with the main character Dan. This was an easy way to get us info in short bursts without overloading us.
I had an issue with his use of the term ‘Ice Age’ at the beginning of the book (circa page 25). An Ice Age lasts millions of years. His ‘Ice Age’ lasts a couple of centuries, making it a glaciation period (in layman’s terms, this is often referred to as a ‘mini Ice Age’) and not an actual Ice Age.
I thought Kirk made an error, which was strange because most of his Ice Age information is spot on with what scientists know happened in previous Ice Ages (kudos for getting that information correct).
As I said, Kirk doles out information slowly so as to not overload readers, but this ‘slip of tongue’ haunted me for the next 185-pages. Finally, on page 210, Kirk clarifies that the event in his story is, in fact, a ‘mini Ice Age.’ Kirk probably chose to use the term Ice Age at the beginning of the book because most people don’t know the difference between glaciation and interglacial periods (let alone that there have been Ice Ages). By doing so, he avoided overloading readers with unnecessary details, which is commendable, but I wish he would have clarified this information sooner.
This is a minor issue that other people will probably overlook, as it doesn't take anything away from the story. It's not crucial to the plot; it's simply how Kirk bridges the gap between our reality and Dan’s world, but it hounded me for several chapters.
Another unusual feature of this book - Kirk gave two sets of minor characters the same names - two boys were named Frank and two were named Corky. Since the boys refer to each other by their surnames or a nickname, this makes the group feel realistic while avoiding confusion between characters. Overall, I think this little quirk contributed to the militaristic-style of the book.
I won a free copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads.
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