Review: A Cast of Stones by Patrick Carr

About the Book

In the backwater village of Callowford, Errol Stone’s search for a drink is interrupted by a church messenger who arrives with urgent missives for the hermit priest in the hills. Desperate for coin, Errol volunteers to deliver them but soon finds himself hunted by deadly assassins. Forced to flee with the priest and a small band of travelers, Errol soon learns he’s joined a quest that could change the fate of his kingdom.

Protected for millennia by the heirs of the first king, the kingdom’s dynasty is near an end and a new king must be selected. As tension and danger mount, Errol must leave behind his drunkenness and grief, learn to fight, and come to know his God in order to survive a journey to discover his destiny.

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You know me, I like me some fantasy and this book? Me likey.

I saw this book on a blog tour invite months ago and as much as I wanted to join the tour and get the chance to review the book, I just couldn’t add another book to my massive review pile. Weeks later I saw that it was free on Amazon Kindle so I grabbed it without hesitation. I didn’t get to read it until days later and that was only because my sister read it and said it was really good. I trust in sister dear’s good taste so I veered away from my review pile for a moment and read the book. I’m glad I gave in to curiosity because this was such an enjoyable read.

Magic! Fantasy! Adventure! Booyah!

The writing and style flowed easily and the pace moved quite nicely, so it wasn’t hard to get into the story. From start to finish this book was written beautifully. I am always in awe of writers who can be clever with words when describing scenes. Take the opening lines for example:

Smells of earth and dung drifted slowly past the fog in Errol’s brain. His skin prickled with cold. Water and ooze soaked his threadbare garments and he shivered. Cruk had thrown him out of the tavern. Again. Hanks of brown hair dripping muck hung across his vision. The ringing of Liam’s hammer just across the street paused, then started again with light tapping blows, as if in laughter.

I mean, right? These are just simple words but they are cleverly strung together and form good visuals for me as a reader. Well, the book isn’t jampacked with descriptions like these but I liked it and it made reading the book a breeze.

I liked how the characters were developed, especially the main lead. Errol didn’t come off as your typical hero at the start, but he went through that ‘hero’ transformation over the course of the story and became someone more than he ever thought he could be. I also liked how you could always feel that there was something more to the characters than meets the eye. I loved the depth in the characters.

Another thing that I really liked was the unique and logical magic system. I know logical may not exactly be a word that you would describe magic, but I really appreciate it when the magic system in a novel has some sort of structure or explanation, something not necessarily scientific, but something that makes sense. For example, in some novels you have characters that conjure fire out of thin air and there’s no real explanation, while in other stories you have characters that harness the energy around them to create fire out of thin air. Big difference, right? In short, I found the magic system in A Cast of Stones quite original and pretty cool.

Lastly, I liked that the story had its share of darkness. There was fighting. Blood was spilled. Folks died. Evil hovered everywhere. Nothing too dark or gory, but just enough.

Overall, this was a pretty good read. This book had all my favorite elements–great writing, complicated characters, a sound magic system, awesome adventures, and a little darkness to balance out the light.

I can’t wait to read the next book in this series. :)

Note: I purchased my own copy of this book. All opinions and views expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Patrick Carr was born on an Air Force base in West Germany at the height of the cold war. He has been told this was not his fault. As an Air Force brat, he experienced a change in locale every three years until his father retired to Tennessee. Patrick saw more of the world on his own through a varied and somewhat eclectic education and work history. He graduated from Georgia Tech in 1984 and has worked as a draftsman at a nuclear plant, did design work for the Air Force, worked for a printing company, and consulted as an engineer. Patrick’s day gig for the last five years has been teaching high school math in Nashville, TN. He currently makes his home in Nashville with his wonderfully patient wife, Mary, and four sons he thinks are amazing: Patrick, Connor, Daniel, and Ethan. Sometime in the future he would like to be a jazz pianist. Patrick thinks writing about himself in the third person is kind of weird.

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