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Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Cast of Stones by Patrick Carr

It started as a friendly dare on Mike Duran's blog by Rebecca Luella Miller. It morphed into an itty bitty sensation as the chosen book turned out to be free on Kindle that week (I'm curious if there's been any impact on sales of book two, Hero's Lot).

I was reading Anna and the Dragon at the time, so I didn't start A Cast of Stones until two weeks ago. Here's the short version: I really liked it. Anymore, I like any book that holds my attention and makes me want to keep reading to find out what happens next.

I wasn't sure I would. I read Katherine Coble's review and she had a few issues with it - number one in my brain being lack of description. I hate that. However, I read on and by the time Errol is slipping and falling his hungover way through a series of waterfalls called The Cripples, I was hooked.

This story reminds me of Dragondrums by Anne McCaffrey crossed with Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. A coming of age survival story with plenty of action without a lot of romantic entanglements (not yet, anyway). I did not notice any particular lack of description, so I guess he instinctively told me what I wanted to know.

Mike Duran says A Cast of Stones doesn't come close to Name of the Wind, but that's like saying a painting hanging in an Italian gallery doesn't come close to a Rembrandt. Doesn't make them bad paintings. Just means they aren't Rembrandt. The writing style was clear, easy to read and well-paced. The story didn't leave me as emotionally exhausted as Name of the Wind, either, which I appreciated.

I loved that Errol's weapon of choice is the staff, and I love the description that surrounds his use of it. Don't see many staff-wielding main characters, but I want to see more of them now. Nicely done.

The lots are an interesting idea, especially how they're divorced from faith in God. The church uses (monopolizes?) them but the ability seems a generic talent some people have. It's a complex concept that seems consistent within the world view so far. Nicely done.

The folks in the story are different people, too. When the cast includes many supporting characters, it's important they all have something unique to add to the story. Nicely done.

In short, I found more than enough interest and action to pull me through the whole book without any "oh, come on!" moments and buy book two when I reached the end. The ending wasn't as cliff-hanger-y as some series I've read and had book two not been available, I would have been OK emotionally until it was.

I'd give it 4 buttercups because I really liked it, although not enough to buy the paper book. We'll see if how the series ends changes that decision. 

I finished book two, Hero's Lot, last night, so I'll probably talk about that tomorrow.

Happy Thursday, dear readers. Find a good book and take 'er out for a spin today.

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