Jan 23, 2013

{Blog Tour} Book Review + Giveaway: A Cast of Stones - Patrick W. Carr

Title: A Cast of Stones (The Staff & The Sword #1)
Author: Patrick W. Carr
Release Date: February 1st 2013
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
In the backwater village of Callowford, Errol Stone's search for a drink is interrupted by a church messenger who arrives with urgent missives for the hermit priest in the hills. Desperate for coin, Errol volunteers to deliver them but soon finds himself hunted by deadly assassins. Forced to flee with the priest and a small band of travelers, Errol soon learns he's joined a quest that could change the fate of his kingdom.
Protected for millennia by the heirs of the first king, the kingdom's dynasty is near an end and a new king must be selected. As tension and danger mount, Errol must leave behind his drunkenness and grief, learn to fight, and come to know his God in order to survive a journey to discover his destiny.
I don't know if it's just me but when I'm about to read high fantasy novels, I try to ward off any expectations from my mind because they can only go either of two ways for me: hit or miss. Fortunately, A Cast of Stones didn't just hit the target, it went right through it.

The story opened by introducing us to Errol Stone, the town's young drunkard, offering to deliver a message to the local hermit priest in exchange of coin to buy more, well, ale. He is surprised when he gets a gold coin for a mere advance, but shakes it off as good luck. To his disappointment, his luck seemed to have ended there when he finds himself chased by an assassin. He reaches the priest's home, to safety - or so he thought, because instead of being relieved of danger, he gets thrust into a plot deeper and more dangerous than his drunken mind could've ever imagined.

For me, one of the things that make a good novel is character development, and Errol certainly grew a lot throughout the span of the book, but what I liked more about that growth is that it wasn't just physically - as in his body and abilities - but also internally as he fought his alcohol addiction. With that, he showed that anything can be done if one sets his mind to it.  

I think it's also worth noting that Errol never made me facepalm. Actually, none of the characters did, because this book was full of wise, colorful characters from both the good and bad sides which made it more exciting whenever they were pitted against each other.

Another thing I loved was how the fantastical elements laced in perfectly well with court intrigue, and how those two mixed raised the stakes even higher, not only for Errol, the main character, but for everyone in the plot.

With much action right from the start, and overflowing with secrets, surprises and revelations in an expertly-expounded world, A Cast of Stones has genuinely surprised me. The ending, though not a downright cliffhanger, left much questions unanswered for the sequel which I'm very excited for.

MY FAVORITE PART was Errol sparring with Liam. Oh, the foreshadowing ♥  

(book details from Goodreads.com)

About the author:
Patrick Carr was born on an Air Force base in West Germany at the height of the cold war. He has been told this was not his fault. As an Air Force brat, he experienced a change in locale every three years until his father retired to Tennessee. Patrick saw more of the world on his own through a varied and somewhat eclectic education and work history. He graduated from Georgia Tech in 1984 and has worked as a draftsman at a nuclear plant, did design work for the Air Force, worked for a printing company, and consulted as an engineer. Patrick’s day gig for the last five years has been teaching high school math in Nashville, TN. He currently makes his home in Nashville with his wonderfully patient wife, Mary, and four sons he thinks are amazing: Patrick, Connor, Daniel, and Ethan. Sometime in the future he would like to be a jazz pianist. Patrick thinks writing about himself in the third person is kind of weird.

$10 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 1/31/13
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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