Sep 21, 2012

Posted by in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: Alchemystic by Anton Strout (The Spellmason Chronicles #1)

Urban Fantasy
September 25 2012
Mass Market Paperback
304 pages
ACE publishing
Received from publisher – Canada / US

Kick Ass Chick – Alexandra Belarus

From Goodreads –
Alexandra Belarus is a struggling artist living in New York City, even though her family is rich in real estate, including a towering Gothic Gramercy Park building built by her great-great-grandfather. But the truth of her bloodline is revealed when she is attacked on the street and saved by an inhumanly powerful winged figure. A figure who knows the Belarus name…

Lexi’s great-great-grandfather was a Spellmason—an artisan who could work magic on stone. But in his day, dark forces conspired against him and his, so he left a spell of protection on his family. Now that Lexi is in danger, the spell has awoken her ancestor’s most trusted and fearsome creation: a gargoyle named Stanis.

Lexi and Stanis are equally surprised to find themselves bound to each other. But as they learn to work together, they realize that only united can they save the city they both love…


Alchemystic is the first book in the new The Spellmason Chronicles series by Anton Stout.  Anton is an author that I have had on my radar for a while now but have yet to find the opportunity (or make the opportunity is more like it) to read him.  So when I heard that he was coming out with a new series, I was looking forward to jumping on its first book.  Yet as much as I was looking forward to reading this book, I have to say I was a bit disappointed.

This is the first book in a shiny new urban fantasy series so a certain amount of set up is expected, but I didn’t expect the beginning to feel so slow.  The first 100 pages I found that hardly anything happened. Okay, yes, we meet the characters and get a feel for the world and we meet Stanis and get an idea about carvings infused with magic and so on…but there wasn’t any real action or anything to keep me glued to the page.  Finally some interesting tidbits of information pop up and the main part of the story begins – Alexandra and her friends have to find the parts needed to ‘heal the stone’, basically making Stanis all that he could be and learning about creating more like him.  That part of the story is well done.

By the way, Stanis is a gargoyle.  Yup.  A stone statue that ‘comes to life’ in the night hours in order to help the Belarus family (Alexandra’s, or Lexi’s, family).  I enjoyed his character.  There is a certain child-like innocence to him that is endearing.

Lexi was a strong character but sometimes, when she started whining about not wanting to be part of the family business, I found her a tad annoying.  I don’t really blame her for complaining because her father is frustrating and her family is dealing with the huge tragedy that occurs at the beginning of the book, but still.  Enough is enough.  And before you ask, no Lexi does not get busy with a stone guy so get that out of your head.  I mean…ew.  This is not a romance book so for those of you who need romance in their books, this one is not going to be for you.

I really enjoyed Lexi’s friends Aurora and Marshall.  They were a hoot together.  I especially liked Marshall.  He is your typical geek…and thanks to my husband, I understood much of what he was referring too!  That alone made me giggle.

Something else I enjoyed was how some of the chapters were told from Lexi’s point of view and others from Stanis’.  I liked getting inside both of their heads.  Yes the odd time I would forget to read whose pov I was reading and had to go back a page or two to remind myself but that’s just me, being flighty while reading.  *grin*

Overall, the premise for this book is great.  Such a unique idea!  It’s just that the slow beginning was a bit much for me.  By the time the action hit, I was too far gone to thoroughly enjoy it.  I am assuming that the next book will move along a lot quicker since the world and the characters will have been established but really, it is an interesting book with interesting characters and I’m curious to see where the series is going.

3 stars

And p.s. and totally not about this book, Anton hosts a podcast called Once & Future and it’s amazing.  He interviews some of my favorite authors and the conversation he has with them is great.  You guys should check it out if you can.  🙂

  1. Maybe, it’s the kind of book I’d read. But not rush to buy since I have to read my millions of books first 😉

  2. I was wondering how this book was so thanks for the review. I think it’s difficult when it’s slow from the start because you don’t know if it will stay like that. But I confess I’m still intrigued and I think I’ll read it if I can.

  3. I’m not sure about this book, it sounds good but I’m not sure if it’s for me.

  4. Nice review Julie, thanks. I do love reading about Gargoyles. Have you read the ones by Marjorie M. Liu?

  5. Katherine Petersen says:

    I have to agree with you about being disappointed and the slow start. I had high hopes for this book but it didn’t come thorugh. I’ll probably try the next one and also Strout’s other series though.

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