In Thunderstone (Legacy in Legend Book 1), by Barbara Pietron, teenage Jeni goes to Lake Itasca, Minnesota with her extended family to release her grandfather’s ashes into the headwaters of the Mississippi river. She expects a quiet time of family bonding, but the only other relative close to her age is her annoying cousin Tyler.
When Jeni picks up a little souvenir of her trip, she chooses a strange cat-like statue. But Shattered Ice, a modern-day apprentice to the traditional Ojibwe medicine man, is also looking for the statue, which turns out to be less of a unique souvenir and more of a powerful artifact. One of Tyler’s stupid pranks accidentally activates some of the artifact’s legendary powers, dragging Jeni and Ice into a dangerous adventure.
Ice eventually explains that the statue isn’t an odd scaled cat, but an emblem of a mythical water monster (like the Friendly Ones in Greek myth, just saying the name can attract unwanted attention from a frightening creature). The story uses a lot of interesting Ojibwe legends and customs to create a magical adventure story. The modern-day dangers come directly from the old legends. Like Jeni, I was already interested in classical myth, and loved discovering other ancient stories.
Jeni is a fun protag for a YA adventure. She loves reading and old myths, and she’s also very brave. When she discovers her role in all the supernatural events, it goes against everything she knew about herself, and there’s a coming-of-age element here too. She’ll have to trust Ice, someone she barely knows, and even make an alliance with her annoying cousin, because she needs to protect people from the tricky mythical monster.
Without revealing too much of Jeni’s discoveries. I can at least say that her role wasn’t just a random encounter with a weird statue. there’s a satisfying ending to their dangerous adventures in this novel, but their battle again supernatural enemies is far from over. Thunderstone is the first in the Legacy in Legend series, plus an additional prequel, Heart of Ice, about Ice’s past before this novel opens.