Thursday, November 4, 2010

My Review of Petra: City in Stone

Here's a description of the book from the author's website:

"She believed the city hidden in rockwould protect her from the past—until it threatened to destroy her future.

Cassia, a destitute young woman in need of hope, seeks refuge for her little boy in Petra, home of his dead father’s estranged family and capital of the flourishing Arabian empire. Surely this rock-carved city, hidden away between towering sandstone cliffs, can protect them from their past and provide for their future. But the boy’s father was not the man she believed, and when a murderous queen plots to take Cassia’s son, her hopes of security are ripped away.

As the plot against the young Alexander unfolds, Cassia finds unexpected allies in the mysterious followers of The Way, who sacrifice everything to help Cassia rescue her son from the queen and her pagan gods. But it will take more than these new friends to save her son.

It will take a power beyond any Cassia has known—and a faith that can save a city."

My Rating: Spring/Summer

My Review:

T. L. Higley knows how to make history real for the reader! Although Petra: City in Stone has a different flavor than the first three books in Higley's "Seven Wonders" series, it is by no means less intriguing! In fact, because the story takes place about 100 years after Jesus' death, after the start of the church, the spiritual aspects of this particular book are even more prominent than in the "Seven Wonders" series.

Once again Higley drew me into a different time and place that became almost tangible. Her descriptions of Petra--of all the details from the weather to the stone carvings--are incredible, and the tension of the situations in the book is powerful. It was inspiring to read about the faith (and the courage that came from their faith in the Lord) of the members of the early church, and it was certainly a moving lesson of trusting in the Lord and not in one's own strength.

The romance is not quite as prominent in this book as in some of Higley's other books, but it is still there and still touching. Although the very last part of the book seemed to be resolved a bit too quickly to match the authenticity of the rest of the book, it was still satisfying. The brief mention of Pompeii in this book certainly leaves the reader with a desire to read the next book in this series, Pompeii: City on Fire (coming June 2011)!

*With thanks to the author for providing me with an Advanced Reader Edition of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*

Note: Since this was an Advanced Reader Edition, some changes might have been made to the final edition which would not be taken into consideration in this review.


Julia M. Reffner said...

Amber, I liked your review and now I can't wait to read the rest. Which is your favorite?

Amber Holcomb said...


Thanks! :)'s hard to pick a favorite! City of the Dead was the first one that I read, so it's kind of special to me in that sense. :) But I did really love Shadow of the Colossus, as well as Guardian of the Flame, and all are filled with history and romance!

I saw on her website that she's working on the next book in the "Seven Wonders" series, possibly entitled Garden of Madness, so I'm excited about that!


Unknown said...

Sounds fantastic, thanks for the review!

Kav said...

Okay, where have I been that I haven't heard of these before??? Aaaaaaaghhhhhh! I can't keep up!!!!

Am I right in assuming that while this is a series it doesn't matter which book you read first?

Oh -- and thanks for the review.

Amber Holcomb said...


You're welcome! :) Petra is fantastic, and I hope you get a chance to read this book, as well as Higley's "Seven Wonders" series!


Amber Holcomb said...


Well, you've heard of them now, right? ;)

Petra: City in Stone is actually the first in a new series, so if you pick the one up that I just reviewed, you'd be totally fine. :) The other series I mentioned to Julia is the "Seven Wonders" series, which actually can be read out of order (as I did) because each one is a stand-alone.

There are 3 books in the "Seven Wonders" series, and the author is currently working on the fourth one.

As I said above, Petra is the start to a new series, and the next one (Pompeii: City on Fire) is coming out this next June.

Hope that wasn't too confusing! Be sure and check out the link in this post and take a look at the author's website. :) It's a new website, and it will show you all of her books and her current project.