- File Size: 5256 KB
- Print Length: 128 pages
- Publisher: NineStar Press (March 12, 2018)
- Publication Date: March 12, 2018
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07B6G9VSS
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,727 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
The Witch Stone (Court of Ash and Thorn Book 1) Kindle Edition
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With the court brutally murdered and his ex-boyfriend the only survivor, Cal has to somehow deliver the lodestone to the new Lord while managing to survive his so-called “helpers.”
When Cal opens his door to find his ex-boyfriend bloodied, bruised, and naked on his doorstep, he knows it’s not going to be a good time. On his heels is a demon and in his possession is the lodestone, which belongs to the Lord of the city to help him keep the magic in balance so it doesn’t destroy the city. Only, the Lord and her council are dead, and for some reason, the lodestone didn’t make its way to the new Lord.
Cal isn’t exactly using his brain when he decides to help his ex, Salim, but it’s not like he expected to be chased through town by a demon, nearly killed, and finally arrested. With the help of the emissary of Stonewood, Barney, whose day job is as a police officer, they manage to get off with a slap on the wrist and one more person to join their mission, which seems doomed to fail.
What they really need most is help from Cal’s family, the Changs. Only, the matriarch, his grandmother, would prefer he were dead … and that’s the least of his worries. What he gets stuck with, instead, is the Changs’ arrogant and stone-cold lawyer, Tony. It’s not exactly the band of “heroes” Cal was hoping for, nor is he particularly qualified himself, but they’re the only hope Longshore has of restoring the balance before the unrestrained magic destroys the city. In short, they’re screwed.
- The magic system is actually really interesting and varied. It maybe wasn’t explored in the depth that it could have been (should have been?), but it was definitely well thought out and varied. Each family is known for different things, and even members in the family have different specialties. Cal, for instance, absorbs power, while his cousin is a master scryer. The families are basically clans, and there are hierarchies and alliances between them, and different clans hold different amounts of sway and power, which made it very interesting having to negotiate between them.
- I was laughing so hard at some scenes, I had to put the darn thing down. A lot of the humor is tongue-in-cheek or just stretched and sometimes situational, which is amusing but not always funny. What I thought this book really excelled at was banter and dialogue. The way the characters interacted with each other was great in a lot of places, and I warmed up to the characters quickly because of this. Cal himself is also just funny in his narrative, which I really enjoyed.
- This was pretty much non-stop action right from the get-go. Never a dull moment, as the saying goes. Some might hate that, but being so short, it really pulled the story along and didn’t let up, which I felt worked fine. At no point did I ever want to set it down, and in fact, I just couldn’t get enough. The mystery was just enough to keep me interested, although I had pretty much solved it and guessed where the ending would go from very early on, so no surprises there. Still, I was invested enough in the characters where that didn’t bother me.
- OMG, these characters … I just can’t even. If someone can find a way to make Tony real so I can marry him, I will owe you a debt of gratitude and possibly our first born? I feel like that’d be a worthy trade. I’m also pretty sure he’s gay, but we’ll just overlook that for a minute and leave me to my fantasies, okay? These characters were all great. Even Salim, who was very whiny through most of the book (I mean, to be fair, he had a pretty good reason for it). They each had their own separate personalities, their own backstories and strengths. Grandmother Chang is easily one of my favorites, even though we don’t see her much. Just from the way the other characters talk about her, it’s obvious that she’s both a force to be reckoned with and not easy to get along with, which means I am SO LOOKING FORWARD to seeing more of her, hopefully, in the next books.
- The ending was so not what I expected, but I approve. Well, sort of. Okay, I’m torn. For reasons I can’t get into because of spoilers. It’s a bit of a cliffhanger, but not in a way that irked me or anything. There’s obviously meant to be more books, and it does end a bit abruptly, but not in a way that made me want to throw my Kindle out of exasperation. Which is good because, you know, it’s expensive.
- It was short. Like, really short. At only about 100 pages, that doesn’t leave a lot to work with, especially when you’re constructing a whole world and magic system, and it showed. A lot of things felt not fully developed or explored, which really took away from the overall story, in my opinion. It just felt rushed in some aspects.
- The backstory is slipped in in often random and sometimes confusing ways. Sometimes this worked out fine, and others I wondered why we were pausing from the plot at that particular moment to learn this bit of information. A lot of really pertinent information is slipped in this way, I feel, or things are alluded to or mentioned in passing and not expanded upon, so I felt like I didn’t always get a clear picture of the backstory or was confused by it. There was just a lot of things that were crammed into a really short book and it shows.
- The plot wasn’t entirely coherent. There was a lot of jumping and skimming, which, again, is probably a byproduct of it being so short. A quarter of the book is spent building up to this important moment that might save the city, even temporarily, and then when it comes down to it, the actual scene is skipped over. Doesn’t even mention whether everything went the way it was supposed to (but I assume it worked). Since there was so much build-up to it, I felt cheated and annoyed that it was glossed over so easily. As for the overall plot, without getting into any spoilers, I’ll just say that I’m still not clear how everything went down or even why. The “villain” didn’t seem to really have a strong motive, nor is there any mention of how they were able to pull off something of that scale.
- A couple of characters were obviously throwaways, even though they seemed to be important. They were basically deus ex machina. They showed up to serve the brief purpose they had and then totally disappeared again without much consequence or thought. Either that or they appear only when they’re needed, provided a teensy bit of backstory, and serve their purpose. Which is a shame, as they seemed like they could be interesting characters.
I WANT THE NEXT BOOK NOW. Why don’t I have it yet? ARGH. While there were certainly aspects of this book that I found disappointing, it was a really fun book. Though the world wasn’t fully fleshed out, I did love the magic system and the glimpses of the world we did get. It was fun and funny and had fantastic characters that I could both relate to and swoon over. I don’t know what more I could ask for other than just, you know, more actual book?
Disclaimer: I received a free eARC copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.