I had very high hopes for A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr. I wasn't disappointed. Sometimes a book comes along that you didn't know you were waiting for until you read it, and somehow your world is more complete. A Cast of Stones is one of those books. A fresh fantasy concept, an intriguing cast of characters, and one of the best-written anti-heroes I've ever run across make A Cast of Stones a true delight to read. 6 stars!!!
I'm not sure this book is one I would have picked up in a bookstore. On a whim I requested it for review and am thankful I did.
The Staff and the Sword: A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr is a medieval fantasy that had me hooked from the first pages. The main character is so very human, his struggles are so much like our own - of his (and our) own making, and his depth of character is surprising. There are many twists and turns in the story and I struggled along with the main character about who to trust.
While not a big fantasy fan, this one was perfect! There was not too much "fantasy" and a whole lot of medieval - a great balance. The church has too much power, the kingdom hangs in the balance and the battle for power takes a toll on the people. The stones and a stone reader's abilities were a fascinating portion of the story and I can't wait for book two to find out how the story continues. Thankfully, the wait won't be long. The Hero's Lot will be released July 2013.
I give this book 5 stars out of 5.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
A great frustration of many in the realm of Christian fiction is the lack of imagination or uniqueness. This may sound like a slightly exaggerated claim, but there is often a limit of Christian fiction that is not geared towards Amish romance, Old west romance, or murder and drama. None of these are a bad genre, or ones that should be dismissed or ignored, but these limit the appeal of Christian fiction. It is for this reason I was very excited when Bethany House announced the release of a new book by Patrick W. Carr A Cast of Stones: The Staff & The Sword.
Set in an almost middle age's world, A Cast of Stones is a book that gets off to a quick start with action, adventure, and examination of life. This is the first book in a series that Patrick Carr is offering, and it seems to be a story that will excite and enthrall. The story begins with a young man by the name of Errol who sets out on what seems to be a simple task, and one that he has done many times, but that quickly takes twists and turns that young Errol could not expect.
As the story progresses many changes begin to happen to Errol as his identity and character are challenged, and he must either stay who he is, or become who he was destined to be while being confronted with insurmountable odds. Throughout this story Errol is challenged with a pain that he had spent year suppressing through drink. Errol is not only haunted by these great pains, but also sought after by enemies whom he does not know, and thrown apparently off track by events outside of his control.
Patrick Carr did more than just write intriguing fiction with Cast of Stones, instead he also offers character lessons and moral challenges. In its pages Carr creates a mirror for self-examination. It is for this reason that I give this book five stars for interest, intent, and intrigue. If you love fantasy and adventure, then Cast of Stones: The Staff & The Sword is a book worth reading.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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.
Patrick Carr makes his debut with an epic fantasy that will engage readers as they venture into the world Carr creates, one on the brink of destruction where adventure awaits a reluctant hero.
In A Cast of Stones, Errol is the village drunk, not the sort of person you expect to do heroic deeds. Errol drowns his sorrows in ale, doing occasional errands to earn enough coin to buy more ale. He is hired by a church messenger to take an official communication to a recluse priest living in a rustic area. A simple delivery becomes deadly as an assassin hunts him down. He scarcely makes it alive to Pater's home but the letters are too damaged to read. Errol, Pater Martin and Luis hurry to reach the church messenger in the village. They are poisoned from the bread Errol brought from the village. Errol barely manages to get help in time. That's when their troubles really begin.
Once in the village, the church messenger gives Pater the message verbally. It requests that Pater travel to Erinon to meet with the others to cast the stones for the king's successor. But they face danger along the way. Errol discovers he can read the stones Luis casts. His new talent requires him to serve the church as a reader. Errol gives up his taste for ale, learns to read and fight, as he journeys to his new life. But someone is killing the readers in the church.
Carr's debut novel is filled with strong characters and a tightly-woven plot. Errol's story continues in The Hero's Lot (summer 2013).
Highly recommended for teen collections in public libraries and school libraries.
Disclaimer: Book reviews are my opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.