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I Belong


Review: Alchemystic by Anton Strout

Title: Alchemystic

Author: Anton Strout

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: The Spellmason Chronicles (Book 1)

Publication Date: September 25, 2012

Format: Paperback, 292 Pages

ISBN-10: 1937007790 (Penguin/Ace)

ISBN-13: 978-1937007799 (Penguin/Ace)

Reviewed by: Kristie

Synopsis:

AN OLD FRIEND OF THE FAMILY…

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…

Quick & Dirty: A slow start but some peculiar characters and mythology make this Urban Fantasy a humorous read.

Opening Sentence: Waking was easy.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Alchemystic sets up the beginning to an inventive and fun new series. Alexandra Belarus has no desire to go into the family business of real estate. Her family owns quite a few properties in the New York City area and they also have a legacy of amazing artwork created by Lexi’s great-great-grandfather. All she wants to do is create artwork and sculptures like her grandfather did, but she’s not very good at it, and when her brother dies in a terrible accident she is left no choice but to go into the family business.

Unbeknownst to Lexi, she is descended from a Spellmason who used alchemy to create a living gargoyle with a soul, a gargoyle that has been tasked to protect the Belarus family. Lexi is being hunted by a group of strangers for that Spellmason knowledge. After being saved from an attack, Lexi confronts her savior and learns about her heritage in which she immediately immerses herself in learning all about her grandfather and Stanis, the gargoyle. Stanis has little to no memory of his life before so Lexi enlists the help of her friends Rory and Marshall into unlocking the secrets of Stanis’ creation.

Alchemystic begins with Stanis awakening after years of sleep, an intriguing beginning but then gets off to a slow start setting up the world before the mystery and action kick in. When the action does start, these are some of the best actions scenes I have read this year. I would absolutely love to see these scenes on the big screen, especially the one in the underground tunnel.

Alexandra does have some personality flaws. She is often aloof and she kind of turns into a mad scientist as the story progresses. I could just hear her mad cackling as she is experimenting with her new found knowledge. Lexi is privileged to have two really good friends that stand by her even as she seems to be going crazy. Rory and Marshall each bring something to the table that helps Lexi with her search to awaken Stanis’ memories. They also help bring comic relief into what could be a dark storyline.

Overall, Alchemystic has an excellent mythology to build upon for subsequent novels in this series and I am intrigued about where this story moves next. I will pick up Stonecast with a little bit of trepidation but I know I will be fully entertained by Rory and Marshall.

Notable Scene:

“I’ll grant you that it’s fantastic,” she said, “but I’d rather know exactly what’s bringing it to life.”

I am,” I said, unable to hide the harsh tone in my voice.

She walked over to me and got right in my face, meeting me with as much attitude as I was giving. “Are you sure?” she asked. “Because I’m not.”

“Why not?” My clay figure continued walking in little circles on top of my art station as I pulled my focus more to dealing with Rory.

“Why not?” Rory repeated. “Because Alexander warned you in his books of trickster and malevolent spirits! Consider that grotesque that watches over your family. That creature isn’t just reacting to your control, your pushing and prodding of it. It acts on its own. There’s life to it. Giving something life doesn’t just happen in a vacuum. Until you figure that out, you need to stop this. Now.” She grabbed both my arms hard, as if she were trying to restrain me, which set me off.

She wasn’t wrong. There was certainly more to Stanis than stone. But I was frustrated with what felt like an interrogation. I shrugged her off and stepped back, raising my voice.

“Did you just see what I did here, Ror?” I shouted. “Did you?”

She nodded but didn’t move, only meeting me with silence.

“Jesus, can’t you just be excited for me?” I said. “I find one thing that breaks me out of the monotony of learning the real estate market of New York City,  and you can’t just join in the fun for a single moment—“

“Lex,” Rory said, looking over her shoulder. Her voice was stern, but I was having none of it or her attitude.

“Let me finish!” I shouted.

Rory waved me over without turning to even look at me. “Can’t,” she said. “Too important.”

“Tough,” I said. “What I have to say is important to me.”

She grabbed my arm and pulled me to her. “You need to calm down,” she said.

“Why?”

She pointed at my art station. “That’s why.”

My tiny figure shook on the table, looking like a junkie going through withdrawal, the bulk of its body falling over as the brick dragged around the tabletop, and it wasn’t alone.

Every other piece of stone or clay on the table was also in motion. Bricks, lumps of clay still in the package, and even fragments of discarded stone twitched and slid around the surface, many of them threatening to tear apart the pages of my great-great-grandfather’s secret book.

The Spellmason Chronicles:

1. Alchemystic

2. Stonecast (September 24, 2013)

FTC Advisory: Penguin/Ace provided me with a copy of Alchemystic. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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