Stone and a Hard Place
(Alistair Stone Chronicles 1)
by: R.L King
305 pages [Nook Book]
Occult Studies professor and mage, Alistair Stone, reluctantly accepts an apprentice and attempts to assist an old lady who senses something sinister in her home. Things don’t go according to plan.
Thanks to the wonderful ebook-hunting-entity known as BookBub, I got the first four books of this series for $.99. The excerpt that I read seemed promising. As it turned out, this book was alright, but also a little disappointing. I’m hoping that perhaps the second book will be better. Fingers crossed.
It starts off well enough. Cool nerds are my favorite, and Alistair fits that description nicely. Also, he’s British. I don’t know why that makes his character more appealing, especially since I can’t hear his charming accent in the dialogue, but it does, just a little.
There are two main problems with this story, lack of depth and a plot based on mistakes. Regarding depth, we know absolutely nothing about Alistair’s background. Even just a hint of something greater would have been nice, something to create a greater arc for the series, like in The Dresden Files books. Regarding plot, I can forgive the apprentice, Ethan’s, stupidity to a certain extent, but Alistair is continually unprepared and often overlooks key elements. I prefer a plot where people make good decisions and things still go wrong, rather than things going wrong because he was too busy to pick up the phone or grill Ethan on his extracurricular activities. There were just so many assumptions on both character’s parts driving the plot.
The magic was well enough thought out, with some rules and such to govern it, but I would like to know more about it. The supernatural “thing” was pretty cool, and its presence built up slowly, which kept it interesting. The ending was a surprise, even if it was a bit abrupt.
I feel like there is potential with this series and I’m not quite ready to give up on it yet, and not just because I want to get my 99 cents worth. Until next time…