Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr

A Cast of Stones by Patrick Carr doesn’t start out as one of the most original fantasy novels I’ve read, but I thoroughly enjoyed it all the same. It has the simple old man who is not what he seems, the regular guy who turns out to be a Captain of the Watch, the orphan with the hidden talent. And the Prophecy, oh the Prophecy. It is very slow starting as the world is built and the characters are introduced, but I was thoroughly engaged all the same.

It is refreshing that the hero, Errol, is the drunk in the gutter, not Liam, the gorgeous, good-hearted, and innocent young man who blushes when a woman makes eyes at him. There are a lot of male father figures to keep straight, one of whom goes from untrustworthy assassin to trusted rescuer a little too quickly. But by the end of the book I felt like I had a decent handle on them all.

The idea of “readers” who carve lots and use them to determine what choices to make was intriguing. Errol’s coming-of-age journey was varied and kept my interest.

There are plot holes, but they didn’t bother me too much. The book definitely wrapped up too quickly and somewhat unsatisfactorily – this first book in the series does not stand alone. But the last 100 pages were excellent, and I hope the next book picks up where they left off. If you enjoy traditional epic coming-of-age fantasy stories, I recommend A Cast of Stones. 

The Galesburg Public Library has all three books in the series, in the adult Fiction section under CARR.

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