The dark wizard Malvel has become frustrated with Tom's success. So he gets revenge, unleashing his latest Beast, Soltra the Stone Charmer, into the marshes that border Tom's own village. As Tom races toward Errinel, all he can think about is his family--which is exactly what Malvel wants...
Ah, Beast Quest. A series that I have long since lost hope for, unfortunately. Though each sextet cycles into a new core plot, it's basically same-old, same-old all the way through--at least as far as I've read.
The best thing I can say for Soltra the Stone Charmer is that I was amused by how much the titular Beast reminded me of the episode of Inuyasha with the demon that pretends to be Izayoi--the monster in this episode is described as having no true face, and, if I recall correctly, attacks Inuyasha in a misty, bog-like setting similar to the one depicted in Soltra.
The worst thing I can say for Soltra is that the artist is clearly not reading the books, and whoever is giving him or her instructions on what to draw is sorely misleading the artist. See that cover up there? Soltra's bald, right? She's that way in the interior illustrations, too... but not the text. Whatever ghostwriter is behind the name Adam Blade for this installment describes the monster as having "auburn ringlets". Do you see auburn ringlets on that bald-ass head up there? Yeah, me neither..
Like I said, though, it's just the same typical Beast Quest tropes. Evil Beasts do evil things; evil wizard does... well, not very evil things, when you actually think about it; Tom the ludicrously competent and trustworthy preteen saves the day; Elenna the Faux Action Girl is damn near entirely useless while the author and the characters pretend otherwise. It's just a boring as ever, basically, and I think I'm getting burned out on these. Not stopping yet--still holding out for improvement!--but probably will soon. If it goes on like this, there's no way I'm reading another eighty of these.