|Original Cover and Title|
Behind the ivy-clad walls of an exclusive boarding school, lurks a sinister web of corruption, scandal, and conspiracy.
American student Raven Stone has noticed something is horribly wrong. First there were the unexplained disappearances. Then there were the teachers’ lies. And now the death threats . . .
Also entangled in the disturbing turn of events is the enigmatic Kieran Storm – a fellow student with a killer intellect and a body to die for. He’s heading for trouble and taking her with him. Raven can feel herself falling in love, but can she trust a boy she knows almost nothing about?
Young Detective Agency Series:
Storm and Stone (now re-released as Struck)
Check out Joss Stirling's website for more information
As a huge fan of Joss Stirling's Benedict Brothers of course I jumped at the chance of reading her latest novel Storm and Stone. I'll tell you straight away that this is completely separate to her other series and the story has no paranormal elements but that doesn't mean it isn't a fabulous read and it's one I really enjoyed. I'm not sure if this is a stand alone story or the start of a new series but I'm really hoping that we're going to get to revisit these characters in the future, there is definitely plenty of scope for stories about this duo so I'm keeping my fingers crossed!
Storm and Stone is set in an exclusive English boarding school, one that caters to the children of the extremely wealthy and somewhere that students are supposed to make connections that will help them throughout their lives. Raven isn't from a well off family though, she is a scholarship student who has been allowed to attend the school because her grandfather is the school caretaker as well as her guardian. Raven has had it tough in the last few years, not only has she lost both of her parents but she was bullied badly at her last school and she just wants to find a place where she fits in. Things at Westron haven't been too bad, some of the kids may look down on her but she has a good friend Gina and the others tend to leave her alone. Well, they always did in the past but since the beginning of term things have become decidedly more difficult. Gina hasn't returned after the holidays so Raven is alone and she's facing accusations that she is a thief, Raven has obviously been set up but she has no idea why people have turned against her so suddenly.
The only people still taking to Raven are the new boys Kieran and Joe who seem willing to look past the rumours and see the truth. They not only believe Raven but also stand up for her against the others but it doesn't seem to make much of a difference, especially when Gina returns and acts nothing like the girl that Raven was friends with. Kieran and Joe seem to be on Raven's side but she knows they are keeping secrets from her and it makes it hard for her to trust them completely. But what are the boys hiding and why have they joined the school so late in the year?
I really liked Raven's character, she suffers from horrendous bullying that would break most people but she holds her head up high and refuses to let the bullies see how much she is hurting. Inside she is vulnerable and in pain but she has such a tough outer shell and appears to let things bounce off without effecting her. Kieran was fabulous too, he reminded me of a teenage mixture of Sherlock and Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory - he's supremely intelligent but completely clueless when it comes to social situations. The friendship between Kieran and Joe was great, Joe is much more relaxed and is an expert at making friends and fitting in something that Kieran struggles with, but together they make a great team. I loved how they both took such good care of Raven, they were annoyed with the way the others were treating her and determined to help her prove her innocence. The romance that develops between Raven and Kieran didn't feel rushed and I liked the fact that they became friends before anything else.
This story has a great underlying mystery but I don't want to say too much about that for fear of giving spoilers. My only complaint was that we didn't really get to see justice for Raven after one particularly horrible bullying incident - I wanted to see the culprits caught and made to pay for what they did but their actions were kind of lost within everything else that happened at the end of the book. The story definitely feels like a set up for the beginning of a series, again I can't say too much about why I think that without giving spoilers so I'll settle for saying that I'll be the first in the queue to buy any more books that Joss Stirling does write about these characters. If you enjoyed this author's other books then I'd definitely recommend giving this one a try, it doesn't focus quite as heavily on the romance as her Savants books do but what we get is well written and believable and I have high hopes for Raven and Kieran if we are given more books about them.
Source: Received from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review
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|New Cover and Title|