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Anton Strout
Ace, 304 pages

Anton Strout
Anton Strout was born in the Berkshire Hills and lives in Jackson Heights, New York. His short story "The Lady in Red" can be found in the DAW Books anthology Pandora's Closet and a tie-in story to Dead To Me entitled "The Fourteenth Virtue" can be found in DAW's The Dimension Next Door in Fall 2008. He currently works in the exciting world of publishing and yes, it is as glamorous as it sounds.

Anton Strout Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Dead To Me

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Katherine Petersen

Alchemystic by Anton Strout is the first book in a new urban fantasy series called the Spellmason Chronicles. Alexandra Belarus learns of her family history when she's attacked one night and saved by a stone gargoyle animated by her great-great-grandfather's spellmason abilities. Alexandra's danger awoke the gargoyle, which was created to protect the family.

Alexandra is a struggling New York artist although her family is in real estate including a Gothic building in Gramercy Park they call home. Once she gets to know the winged gargoyle named Stanis a bit more, Alexandra yearns to learn more about putting spells into stone, learning her history and her great-great grandfather's secrets. But others want his secrets, too. Can Alexandra find stones that will give Stanis his full power before the bad guys find them? The house is still under protection, but how long will that last?

I had high expectations for this book for some reason, and I like the premise and many of the main characters, but the story got off to a very slow start. I'm hoping the next books will have more action and that most of the slowness in this first one can be blamed on setup. While I liked Alexandra okay, she tended toward whininess about having to work in real estate after a family tragedy early in the novel. That said, I adored her two friends, Rory and Marshall, a dancer and a geek respectively. Their banter was refreshing. Stanis's character, too, had an endearing quality of innocence that was easy to enjoy.

The story had more action as the four moved forward on their quest to find the pieces of Stanis to give him back his sense of self and his memories. The whole concept of stone and spells is fascinating, and Alexandra has to puzzle through her great-great-grandfather's notebooks to find the necessary information. There are some great action scenes especially the one in the club, but be forewarned and don't expect tons from the first 100 pages. If you can manage that, then you'll probably enjoy the story.

Strout tells the story from both Stanis and Alexandra's viewpoints which give it a nice touch.

Copyright © 2012 Katherine Petersen

Katherine Petersen started reading as a young child and hasn't stopped. She still thinks she can read all the books she wants, but might, at some point, realize the impossibility of this mission. While she enjoys other genres, she thrives on fantasy, science fiction and mysteries.

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