Kingbeast's Lair

Growling about the RPG industry and my gaming life. RPG and anime reviews from a passionate fan. (Formerly John's Hero HQ.)

Review Of Stone And A Hard Place: Alastair Stone Chronicles Book 1

May 31, 2015 By: John Taber Category: Fun Reads, Media Interests

Stone And A Hard Place

-== What is it? ==-

Stone And A Hard Place is a modern urban fantasy tale of a quirky college professor who is secretly a mystic master. It was published in 2015 by R.L. King (aka Rat) through Magespace Press.

The book has a color cover and an entirely black and white interior. The book is 5.25” x 8” and is 363 pages in length. I am reviewing a print copy that I bought through Amazon.

-== What I Like ==-

My favorite part about the novel is the main character Doctor Alastair Stone. Dr Stone is an intriguing mix of a serious professor of magic and curious young man. Alastair is less Obi Wan and more 10th Doctor Who. His journey through the book takes him past many ups and downs and proves that he is not invincible. He is a careful planner but is willing to step up even though he knows he is far less powerful than his adversary. Dr Stone’s reason for facing these terrible threats, “somebody has to.” Love it. 😀

The way magic is explained in the book is by action. King does not spend tons of time explaining how magic works in her world but instead jumps right in and tackles the story. It is refreshing and allows the reader to focus on the characters and story instead of the “nuts and bolts”.

The antagonists in the story are pretty great. I don’t want to give too much away but the trio that oppose Stone are flawed yet powerful and undisciplined…a dangerous combination. At points I enjoyed reading their thread quite a bit.

The last 60 pages or so of the book ratchet up the tension to a powerful ending. I rarely read novels these days that hook me so hard that I can’t put them down. The end of Stone And A Hard Place did that for me. 🙂

-== What I Don’t Like ==-

I thought the beginning of the book was a bit slow. Some side characters needed to be introduced to the reader so that their importance to Stone was set. Sometimes it felt like they could have used less coverage.

At one point it became clear to me that one of the side characters was definitely going to be a “red shirt” (ala Star Trek). This is to be expected to make a punch to the story but it felt a bit too much like it was on rails.

-== Summary ==-

Rat has provided a great start to what I hope will be a long series of adventures for Dr Stone. A dashing opening act for a charming leading man.

I give it 9 out of 10 paws.

You can buy Stone And A Hard Place from Amazon in digital and hard copy. The hard copy is $14.99 at this URL. The digital copy is on $2.99. What are you waiting for!?! GO BUY IT! 😀

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