Review: Stonecast by Anton Strout

, by Kt Clapsadl

Stonecast by Anton Strout
Spellmason Chronicles #2

The adventures of a girl and her gargoyle continue in the second installment of this “thrilling, funny and eerie” fantasy series. —Romantic Times on Alchemystic

No Stone Unturned...

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.

STONECAST is a rather tough nut for me to review as I feel overly disappointed. I had largely been anticipating this release as the first book in the series sucked me in with its uniqueness. I wanted to know more about this fascinating world, and to see what would happen next after the way things ended before. However, I had a suspicion when things opened up in this book six months later with no real progression that the almost too slow pace from the last book (as far as answers go) would be even worse. And I was right. In fact, things just seemed so all over the place that it was hard to follow anything, let alone try and navigate the complexity of the spellmason and alchemy aspects.

One of the strongest points of the previous installments was the cast of characters and their dynamics, which unfortunately just wasn't the same this time around, specifically the one between Lexi and Rory/Marshall/Stanis. By this trio not really being quite so prominent this time around, a lot of the awesome witty repartee seen before was lost. Instead, Caleb was brought in. And if you've read my review of ALCHEMYSTIC, you'll know that I was lamenting the last of romance just a bit. Now, I could kick myself for ever making that statement as I think the romance in STONECAST was one of the biggest derailing factors. This isn't a spoiler as it's revealed early on, but Caleb is Stanis's torturer, and while Lexi doesn't know this fact, it's nearly impossible for the reader to connect with him due to that knowledge. I'm honestly at a loss for what to say or think about this as I could not stand his character one bit, and that more than anything kept me rather disconnected from the book.

As I think back to my experience while reading STONECAST, I'm honestly not sure why I continued to push through the book. Perhaps it was due to the left over spark of affection for the characters and my desire to know how the story played out. But even as I kept waiting for things to turn around, they never did. I'm not quite sure how it happened, but this series seems to have completely derailed, which really is a shame as I saw so much potential in the first installment. That being said, I may still continue on with the series, especially if it winds up being a trilogy, but I'll more than likely read more than a few reviews first to gauge things going in.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Other Reviews:
     That's What I'm Talking About
     All Things Urban Fantasy
     The Irresponsible Reader

Previous Books:
     1. Alchemystic

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