Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Reviews: Alchemystic, Stonecast and Incarnate (The Spellmason Chronicles 1 -3 ) by Anton Strout

Series:  The Spellmason Chronicles 1
Publisher:  Ace, September 25, 2012
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages
List Price:  $7.99 (print)
ISBN9781937007799 (print)


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…

Stacey's Thoughts

This is a great book! It is original, funny, and full of action. Lexi Belarus has lived in New York City her whole life. Her family has lived there for many generations and has a successful real estate business there. Lexi’s great-great-grandfather, Alexander Belarus, left quite a legacy for his family, but not in real estate…in art. Alexander was a great stone sculptor but he also knew magic. He was a spellmason. He could bring the stones to life. Before his death, he left a protector for the family behind him: Stanis…who happens to be a gargoyle. (Don’t worry…he’s a handsome gargoyle!)

Lexi’s older brother has just been killed in an accident and now it’s up to her to take up the family business of real estate. Sadly, it rips her away from her true passion: art. Up in the study that belonged to Alexander she learns about the true family legacy and how to work spellmasonry. When Lexi is attacked, questions arise. Was her brother’s death really an accident? Who could have wanted to hurt the Belarus family? With Lexi’s friends Rory and Marshall (who delightfully remind me of Clary and Simon from The Mortal Instruments Series) Lexi finds out things she did not want to know about her brother and her great-great-grandfather’s past before he came to America.

Stanis, the stone flying man (who prefers to be called a grotesque…like that somehow is better than gargoyle!), is a pretty awesome character and quickly learns about the fragile humans in his care, emotions, and Lexi. He feels a strong bond with “his maker’s kin” and always knows when she is going to be in trouble. Don’t worry, this book was not about a helpless damsel in distress with a strong man to save her. Lexi and Rory kick some ass themselves but gladly use Stanis as backup. Even though it is dangerous, Lexi makes it her mission to restore four pieces of his soul that were removed, placed in stones, and hidden around New York City.

The ending of this book was totally unexpected…I’m going to start the second one tonight. I’m already chomping at the bit for the third installment. I love it!

Series:  The Spellmason Chronicles 2
Publisher:  Ace, September 24, 2013
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages
List Price:  $7.99 (print)
ISBN:   9780425256404 (print)


Alexandra Belarus was an artist stuck working in her New York family’s business…until she discovered her true legacy—a deep and ancient magic. Lexi became the last practicing Spellmason, with the power to breathe life into stone. And as her powers awoke, so did her family’s most faithful protector: a gargoyle named Stanis. But when a centuries-old evil threatened her family and her city, Stanis sacrificed himself to save everything Lexi held dear.

With Stanis gone, Lexi’s efforts to master Spellmasonry—even with the help of her dedicated friends—are faltering. Hidden forces both watch her and threaten her, and she finds herself suddenly under the mysterious wing of a secret religious society determined to keep magic hidden from the world.

But the question of Stanis’s fate haunts her—and as the storm around her grows, so does the fear that she won’t be able to save him in her turn.

Stacey's Thoughts

The story opens up about six months after Alchemystic wraps up. During this time, Lexi has been studying the spellmason ways, but sadly, without Stanis. We still get Stanis’s point of view in this story, which I think is a really great feature. It really shows off the author’s skills to switch characters like that, especially because they are so different! In Stonecast, a new character is introduced. Is he a friend or foe? Whose side is he on? Can he be trusted? 

Rory and Marshall are still best buds with Lexi, along with the cool little creation, Bricksley. Awww. I love that little guy. With Lexi experimenting in animating stone, especially more life-sized creations, life gets a little dangerous for the fragile humans…including Lexi. A creepy secret society presents itself and demands Lexi help them, which understandably leaves everyone on edge. To make matters worse, the Servants of Ruthenia are still causing trouble and Devon with them! But the biggest problem: the magical binding agent to bring stone to life, called Kimiya is running out. Without that, there can be no more spellmasonry…ever! Despite all of her great-great-grandfather’s works, books, and puzzle boxes, there doesn’t seem to be a recipe for it anywhere. Is this going to be the end of the Lexi’s spellmasonry, even though it just started?

This series makes me smile. I love the witty comebacks, the nerdy references, and the mystery of the grotesques. I’ll have you know that Mr. Strout writes one hell of a woman! I was about halfway through with the first book (Alchemystic) when I flipped to the back of the book and discovered the author was a he! His writing only gets better in Stonecast.

Series:  The Spellmason Chronicles 3
Publisher:  Ace, September 30, 2014
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
List Price:  $7.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780425273555 (print)


When Alexandra Belarus discovered her family’s secret ability to breathe life into stone, she uncovered an entire world of magic hidden within New York City—a world she has accidentally thrown into chaos. A spell gone awry has set thousands of gargoyles loose upon Manhattan, and it’s up to Lexi and her faithful protector, Stanis, to put things right.

But the stress of saving the city is casting a pall over Lexi and Stanis’s relationship, driving them to work separately to solve the problem. As Stanis struggles to unite the gargoyle population, Lexi forges unlikely alliances with witches, alchemists and New York’s Finest to quell an unsettling uprising led by an ancient and deadly foe long thought vanquished.

To save her city, Lexi must wield more power than ever before with the added hope of recovering a mysterious artifact that could change her world—and bring her closer to Stanis than she ever thought possible…

Stacey's Thoughts

And the bad guys just keep on coming! Alexandra, Rory, Marshall, and Stanis have been trying to gather the new grotesques that have been flying around NYC, and it’s no easy task. The gang is glad to do it since the spell that made the grotesques did save their butts six months ago. Spirits who did not pass on are now inhabiting Alexandra’s great-great-grandfather’s work and not all of them are friendly! A murderer’s spirit is now in a heavenly and nearly indestructible form and he’s picked up right where he left off when he was alive.

Can’t everything just be like it was? Oh, how I long for the good old days! Everyone has messy, busy, crazy lives right now: Alexandra is with Caleb now but once Alexandra finds out about an interesting conversation Caleb and Stanis had, is he even worth it? Marshall is now a budding alchemist with his own tricks but has he been hanging out with the right crowd? Stanis and Emily. Are they meant to be?

I’m very sad that this will be the last we hear from the gang. I will miss them a lot! The bickering, gaming and nerd references, and yes, even the fighting. I sincerely hope Strout will consider continuing this world, even if is just with ebook shorts. Until then, I’m making up my own sequels. Thank you Anton Strout for a wonderful series!


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