George has never been one to stand up for himself: that kind of behaviour only leads to life smacking him back down. When he's kicked out of a class trip at the Natural History Museum for another boy's disruption, he punches at a statue of a dragon on the outside of the museum, breaking it. To his shock, his actions bring another statue to life, and he finds himself running from a stone pterodactyl that no one else can see. No one, that is, but a girl named Edie.Saved by the Gunner from the Royal Artillery Memorial, George is informed of two important facts: breaking the dragon statue has somehow caused him to fall into a reality (and unLondon) that lives alongside our own and in killing the pterodactyl the Gunner has broken the tentative peace between two factions of London's statues -- the human-shaped "Spits" and the animalistic "Taints", the latter of which seem bent on killing George for breaking the dragon statue.Alternate-dimension stories are common, but in bringing the statues of London to life, Fletcher has created a world that we feel we can fall into as easily as we can blink.Fletcher's background as a screenplay writer is evident in his very vivid descriptions. The writing is perhaps heavy in the number of similes employed, but it is rare indeed to find one that is not fresh and interesting.Stoneheart is the first in a trilogy and I recommend picking them all up together. Though not exactly a cliffhanger, Stoneheart ends with a firm push toward the sequel Ironhand, a push I am not entirely unhappy to receive.When summarized, this book sounds like a mid-grade novel, but the language and plot elements are difficult and dark enough that it makes a better home in the teen section. I'm eager for my oldest nephew to read this book, but he's a little too young for it yet.A note on the reader:Jim Dale is most known as "the voice of Harry Potter" and holds the Guinness World Record for the most character voices developed and recorded for a single project (146 voices for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows). In his recording of Stoneheart, his expressive voice only assists Fletcher's excellent description and consistently fresh metaphors.This review also appears at Boxes of Paper.