Release Date: Sept. 25, 2012
Spellmason Chronicles #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format(s): Paperback (290 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
About the book:
AN OLD FRIEND OF THE FAMILY…
Alexandra Belarus is a struggling artist living in New York City, even though her family is rich in real estate, including a towering Gothic Gramercy Park building built by her great-great-grandfather. But the truth of her bloodline is revealed when she is attacked on the street and saved by an inhumanly powerful winged figure. A figure who knows the Belarus name…
Lexi’s great-great-grandfather was a Spellmason—an artisan who could work magic on stone. But in his day, dark forces conspired against him and his, so he left a spell of protection on his family. Now that Lexi is in danger, the spell has awoken her ancestor’s most trusted and fearsome creation: a gargoyle named Stanis.
Lexi and Stanis are equally surprised to find themselves bound to each other. But as they learn to work together, they realize that only united can they save the city they both love…
What G & U are talking about:
Alchemystic is the debut novel in the Spellmason Chronicles. Mr. Strout delivers a light but intriguing glimpse into a fascinating element of the paranormal, the gargoyle.
Overall, Gikany and Una enjoyed Alchemystic. It was a refreshing change of pace in our typical reading schedule. The urban fantasy world that Mr. Strout has created is fascinating with the theory of alchemy. It is our world with a part peeled back to reveal the magic and skill behind some of our greatest icons: turn of the century buildings and most importantly their architectural decorations. People have been awed and fascinated by gargoyles for centuries and it was exciting to have a series that has them as part of the core. We are only given a small glimpse into this world, and considering where Alexandra is left, we hope to experience much more.
Alexandra is our main character and the majority of Alchemystic is told from her point of view. Gikany and Una enjoyed watching Alexandra come into her birthright, but we felt she was a tad whiney, which lead to us characterizing her as a bit of a spoiled brat. Not too flattering for an adult who should know that sometimes in life you must do/work for the people/things you love. That life is not always what you want or pretty. Her brother, Devon, however, was the epitome of a villainous character. His characterization was completely exaggerated. No one, in our opinions, can be without any redeeming qualities, but Devon is.
However, Alexandra does have those moments where she just clicks and works. She sacrifices and accepts and it is amazing what she accomplishes. We feel her two awesome sidekicks were the catalyst for these moments in Alchemystic. Marshall and Rory are outstanding as supporting characters. Gikany and Una absolutely loved Marshall – who does prove that gamers can be sexy in a mild and understated way. He was just lovable and added so much to the novel. Rory is a riot. Who knew ballet could be a deadly form of combat?!? Rory is Alexandra’s best friend from childhood and in many ways her guardian and guide. Rory is determined, loyal and grounded. The witty banter between the three of them is priceless.
Stanis is the other point of view provided in Alchemystic. He is the gargoyle, or as he prefers, grotesque. He was created by Alexandra’s namesake, her great-great grandfather Alexander, to protect the family. The bond that develops between Stanis and Alexandra is enchanting. Watching the unfolding of Stanis’ past was fascinating as well as watching him adjust to this age and the interactions with Alexandra. We also enjoyed the relationship that develops between Alexandra, Marshall, Rory and Stanis. As tentative as it begins, we enjoyed watching it grow into friendship.
Overall we liked Alchemystic. It was a much needed change of pace. We enjoyed the light nature of the novel and especially the scattered allusions to pop culture (and gamer culture). If you are looking for something different in the urban fantasy realm, you might want to give the Spellmason Chronicles a chance.
Liked it – recommend (B+)