Friday, October 18, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Stonecast

Stonecast (Spellmason Chronicles - Book 2) by Anton Strout

Publication Date: 09/24/2013
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Ace
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 304
ISBN-10: 0425256405
ISBN-13: 978-0425256404

(Received for an honest review from Ace)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Anton Strout on the WEB: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Books in the series:

Alchemystic (2012), Stonecast (2013)

Coverart: Click the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.

Excerpt from Stonecast, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.


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.


Anton Strout's second book in the Spellmason Chronicles, Stonecast is novel filled with magic and mayhem. Urban fantasy readers will enjoy the world building in this book, as it begins to open up a lot more supernatural possibilities for the series. Strout has done his homework, which gives an authenticity to the book that is missing in so many urban fantasy titles. The return of Kejetan isn't far away and Lexi and her friends Rory and Marshall are preparing for the worst, while her gargoyle protector Stanis is waging his own war against his father. There is a lot of tension in this novel and Strout gives it such a sense of urgency that readers will be biting their nails in anticipation of what's to come!

I simply loved Alchemystic, the first novel in this series and I was waiting with baited breath for the sequel to come out. Stonecast was certainly no disappointment. All of our favorites characters are back, albeit in a somewhat different way. Strout starts to really expand the world building in this one. He alluded to the fact in the first book that spellmasonry was the only magical element introduced to the world, but in Stonecast the reader gets to see a broader spectrum of the magic that exists in the world Strout has created. I liked the fact the author is adding new facets of magic with each novel. There are so many ways this story could evolve as these elements are introduced. It certainly keeps the reader guessing.

Lexi is the last spellmason, but she apparently is not the only purveyor of magic. I liked the fact that Strout is giving the reader a lot more information in Stonecast, about the craft of spellmasonry itself. As Lexi tried to learn and perfect her abilities, the reader gets to see more about how the alchemy works. It's interesting and with Lexi's personality, it's fun to read about. She has a knack for getting herself in some serious predicaments. And this time she doesn't have Stanis to rely on to get her out of them. I liked the fact that Strout is developing relationships in Lexi's life beyond that of the bond between her and Stanis that has now been broken.

In the first book we saw a lot more of Marshall and Rory than we do in Stonecast and that was a bit of a disappointment. But Strout is continuing to show the loyalty and friendship that exists between them. I felt like we saw a lot of growth in Lexi in this book, but also some good changes for Marshall as well. I loved his kind of geeky awkwardness in the first book, but he almost came across as a big overgrown kid. In Stonecast he is coming into his own a bit and that was a nice touch.  

Stanis has been taken by his father Kejetan. He is sacrificing himself in order to protect Lexi and her world. He has convinced his father that he holds the key to spellmasonry in order to keep him away long enough for Lexi to prepare. But he isn't sitting idly by while she is doing all the work. Kejetan has found a way to try to force Stanis to do his will and he is fighting desperately against it. I liked the fact that though Stanis and Lexi are no longer bonded, there is still a deep since of loyalty and longing between them. The attraction they both feel is certainly an interesting idea, since he is made of stone and she is human. 

Strout adds a new love interest for Lexi in this one, creating a bit of a triangle that it will be interesting to see which way it goes. Caleb is an interesting character. I couldn't quite figure him out. Half of the time I thought he was a bad buy, half the time, not so much. He is certainly self serving, but he's honest about it. He's in it for what he can get out of it. But there is definitely something brewing between him and Lexi. I liked the addition of Caleb and the possible direction he can take the series, but I'm team Stanis all the way. LOL.

I really enjoyed this one and it's a series that urban fantasy and paranormal enthusiasts should try. It has some light hearted moments as well as some serious adventure and a touch of romance. There is something for more than just one kind of reader here. A great addition to the series!

Stonecast is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Anton Strout is the author of the Simon Canderous novels and the Spellmason Chronicles. He lives in New York.

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Stonecast by Anton Strout.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US Addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, November 1st.

1. Please leave a comment describing a magical gift you would like to possess and what you would do with it.
2. Please fill out the FORM.


traveler said...

the wish of magic that keeps us all healthy and in wonderful strength. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

jmcgaugh said...

I'd love to have a magical gift of healing, which I would use for same.

Victoria Zumbrum said...

I would love to have the gift of healing and helping people. Thanks for the giveaway.

NoraA said...

I was able to get the first book in this series from my local Brooklyn library. Unfortunately for some reason they haven't ordered in the sequel and I'm royally annoyed at them.

I hope I'm the luck winner so I can finally see how things are progressing in the story.

bn100 said...

to teleport, so I can travel easily

justpeachy36 said...

There are so many good magical gifts that a person could have. The gift of healing of course is huge. I think I would also like to acquire the gift of knowing when someone is lying or not... LOL

Lexi H said...

Oh how I love UF and paranormal, so how did I miss book one?!
And how could I not want to check out a book where the heroine is named Lexi ;)
Now, if I only had the ability to pause time I could stop the clock, not worry about cleaning the house, and read.

Michelle Willms said...

There are so many magical gifts I'd like to have. Perhaps if I could control the elements...but I would also love to be a healer..., I think healing might be best. A nice peaceful gift would also help keep my ego in check.