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Review: Stonecast by Anton Strout

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Stonecast
Author: Anton Strout
Reviewer: Gikany and Una
Rating: C, 2.5 Stars


What We’re Talking About:


Note: This review contains minor spoilers.

Stonecast is the sequel to Alchemystic in the Spellmasons Chronicles.  Sadly, we were disappointed in this much-anticipated continuation of the journey of Alex and her friends through this fascinating new world.  The elements that we enjoyed most in the previous novel were missing from this edition, making it a slow and difficult read.

Alex is still struggling to understand and use her spellmason abilities so she can save Stanis from his father.  While she is currently unable to live in her previous home, she has set up a new lab – in the building where her brother had “allegedly” died.  When Alex finds an intruder stealing from her grandfather’s supplies, she discovers she is not the only “mystical” person in this world.  This means that Stanis’ father is not the only person looking to control Alex.

Stonecast takes a very different path from the previous novel.  As Alex works to find and free Stanis, she discovers the unlikely ally in Caleb.  He is an alchemist – not a true stonemason, but able to do something similar through potions and spells.  However, Caleb’s only loyalty is to himself, and he only worries about his wellbeing and his wealth.  We learn early on that not only is Caleb the thief, but also working with Stanis’ father to break Stanis.  The torture we experience through Stanis’ point of view is disturbing and not for the faint of heart.  For Gikany and Una, it was too much.  It is not just a moment of torture but several chapters’ worth.  This led us to deeply dislike and distrust Caleb causing us to be completely flabbergasted by Alex’s immediate attraction to him.  We understand the concept of love at first sight, but seriously?  He robbed her, harmed her and Rory, and she finds herself in love?  And yet, she doesn’t trust him…how do you love someone if you cannot first trust them?  This whole scenario just struck a wrong chord with us.  Alex seemed to have some very definite moments that felt out of character and just wrong.

Our favorite parts of the previous novel were Alex’s friends: Rory and Marshall.  In this novel, Alex attempts to protect her friends from harm by avoiding them, and we lost that.  There are very few moments of the banter and camaraderie that we had become attached to.  It is sorely missed.  The repartee between Caleb and Alex is not as carefree and fun-loving.  It is hard to have witty banter between your heroine and the man you know is responsible for Stanis’ torture and continued enslavement to the big-bad.  The fact that Caleb puts his pocketbook first before any sense of right and wrong cannot be so easily forgiven.

This leads us to a serious issue we felt plagued Stonecast.  There was so much potential to the addition of the world of Spellmason Chronicles of not just Caleb but the family’s spiritual advisor, Desmond.  There could have been some interesting twists utilizing Desmond.  However, just as Devon (Alex’s brother) is very one-dimensional and uber-evil, Desmond was just as one-dimensional.  There was no depth or complexity to these characters.  Although Caleb is more two-dimensional, it was done in a very bi-polar fashion.  He was either entirely good or entirely bad, and people are just not this way.  We believe that people are shades of grey from an inner defining moral core and that our book characters should be as well.

Stonecast sadly fell flat for us and did not live up to the potential we saw in this world and the characters.  Although we are unsure of another novel in this world, based on the ending – it could continue or end.  We are not sure we would pick up the next novel, even though we are a bit curious over what the future holds for Stanis.  However, if you have read Alchemystic and would like to see some poetic justice at work in regards to Devon and Stanis’ father – you might just want to read this.

2.5 stars: Finished it, had issues with it (C)

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About the Book:


Alexandra Belarus was an artist stuck working in her New York family’s business…until she discovered her true legacy—a deep and ancient magic. Lexi became the last practicing Spellmason, with the power to breathe life into stone. And as her powers awoke, so did her family’s most faithful protector: a gargoyle named Stanis. But when a centuries-old evil threatened her family and her city, Stanis sacrificed himself to save everything Lexi held dear.

With Stanis gone, Lexi’s efforts to master Spellmasonry—even with the help of her dedicated friends—are faltering. Hidden forces both watch her and threaten her, and she finds herself suddenly under the mysterious wing of a secret religious society determined to keep magic hidden from the world.

But the question of Stanis’s fate haunts her—and as the storm around her grows, so does the fear that she won’t be able to save him in her turn. 

Release Date: September 24, 2013
Publisher: Ace
Series: Spellmason Chronicles #2
ISBN: #978-0425256404
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format(s): Paperback (304 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher

Purchase Info:
Stonecast (Spellmason Chronicles #2)

Reviews in the Series:
Alchemystic by Anton Strout (Spellmason Chronicles #1)

  • Judy-Ree

    Well, damn. I was really hoping that the series would get better, not worse. I think that I will skip this one then and just call it done. Thanks for the review.

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