Patrick Carr has created a magnificent storyworld in A Cast of Stones. His characters too are diverse and realistic. The hero experiences a great deal of growth throughout the novel and the plot rarely slows. I will read the sequels if my library does get the next two in.
But I did have a problem with the casting of the lots. Now, I do l know of the lot casting in the old testament to determine the will of God, but what is done in this world looks a lot more like divination to me, which is highly forbidden. The characters making the lots don't focus themselves on God or his will when crafting, frankly I can hardly see where he enters the casting at all. And if God were controlling the lots, shouldn't the cast always be right the first time as God is always right? But instead the casters have to cast dozens of times to make sure it's correct.
Doesn't sound like God does it? If it wasn't for this massive issue I would have rated the book much higher. But The Cast of Stones just feels too wrong to be right.
Title: A Cast of Stones (The Staff and the Sword book 1)
Author: Patrick W. Carr
My Rating: 5/5
I honestly had no idea what to expect when I picked up this book to read it. What I found was a delightful surprise. With an entirely unique spin to the typical story of kings, adventure, sword fights, and quests, this book grabbed my attention and had me hooked to the very end.
Errol Stone has no idea of the amazing talent and potential that he possesses. He sees himself as almost anyone else does. As a drunk. However, when someone offers to pay him for delivering a message, he quickly accepts, thinking that the money would help him to purchase more ale. What follows this seemingly simple task is an unforgettable, and unpredictable adventure that will change his heart, and his destiny.
I absolutely loved the setting of this book. Carr did an excellent job at painting a vivid picture of Errol's surroundings that helped me to become much more engaged in the plot. The time and culture in which this story occurs drew me in quickly and easily. Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed was the way in which Errol's character matures, changes and learns throughout the book. This made him seem so much more real and believable. I soon became very attached to his character, and found myself rejoicing in his victories and grieving over his trials.
My only negative remark in regards to this otherwise wonderful masterpiece would be that at times I felt that particular characters entered and left the story far too quickly, leaving little time for them to truly become developed or contribute much to the plot. I found myself waiting for them to somehow be worked back into the story, thinking that they had left far too abruptly, but they never did. However, this is only the first book in the series, so perhaps Carr plans to reunite the characters in a later book.
Over all, I would say that this creative, engaging and wonderfully written book is one that I would most definitely recommend, and greatly enjoyed!
Note: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. However, my opinions are my own.
Errol Stone is good at one thing: drinking himself into oblivion. Having the reputation of the town drunk of Callowford, his one goal in life is making another coin to pay for another night of loose living in the local tavern. Doing any and every odd job for the advancement of his vice, his ears perk up immediately upon the arrival of a nuntius who wishes to deliver letters to a hermit priest who lives in the forest. Despite everyone's doubts, Errol is determined to deliver his messages, collect his other half crown, and spend a week in the tavern nursing his habit.
But along his journey, he meets an assassin that will stop at nothing to take Errol's life. Bewildered and confused, Errol runs as fast and as far as he possibly can. Barely escaping with his life, he stumbles into the home of the hermit priest, Martin and his servant, Luis. Once he recounts his story and tells them the messages were ruined along the way, Martin and Luis begin packing to leave. Stunned at the turn of events and having no other choice but to go along with them, Errol is sucked into the mysterious quest that leaves him with more questions than answers. Compelled into service for the church, Errol has no choice but to go along for the ride. Will he prove himself to be a reader of stones and worthy to cast lots to save the kingdom? Or is he really just the useless drunkard that everyone believes him to be?
I was quite impressed by this novel, simply because whether you like fantasy fiction or not, you're going to love this tale of redemption, forgiveness, and second chances. I've always avoided this genre simply because of the magic, sorcery, superstition, and nonsense that seems to accompany this kind of story. But Carr made this a humorous, believable tale that kept my interest up till the last page. I am anticipating the next installment in the series, and would recommend Carr's first novel to teenagers and adults alike.
This book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.