A Cast of Stones by Patrick Carr

castofstonesReview by Jill Williamson

I liked this book so much that I endorsed it, and they put my endorsement on the cover! How cool is that?

Errol, a young drunkard, accepts a mission to deliver a package to a priest in exchange for a gold coin he knows will provide ale for days. But on his way, an assassin tracks him, tries to kill him. He barely escapes with his life and is nursed back to heath by the priests. It is there that Errol learns he has a rare gift or reading casts, and he begins an adventure that will take him to the palace in Erinon, if he lives. 

What a rare delight to find such wonderful writing! This is an engrossing first person narrative of an epic fantasy adventure. Errol is a sympathetic hero who we long to see succeed in the world. The originality of the method of casting lots by priests was fascinating as was Errol’s choice of a staff as a weapon. Carr created an extraordinary start to what promises to be an extraordinary saga. Two thumbs up. Read it!

Age Range: 16 and up
Genre: fantasy
Part of a Series: The Staff and the Sword, book one
Pages: 432 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Released: 2013

AND– As part of my Support an Author plan, I’m going to purchase a copy of this book and give it away.

Leave a comment below telling me one of your favorite fantasy elements from a fantasy story. This could be a character like Saphira the dragon in the Eragon books, the One Ring in the the Lord of the Rings books, the pensive in Harry Potter, or bloodvoicing magic. Winner chosen at random. Giveaway open to US addresses only. Ends February 28, 2013.


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50 Responses to “A Cast of Stones by Patrick Carr”

  1. In D. Barkley Briggs’ The Book of Names, I liked a character’s ability to control things if he knows their true name.

  2. Melinda says:

    When I read fantasy, I love all the elements that go into world-building–the history, the geography, the languages, all the cultural tidbits that work into the story and make the setting seem like a real place to the reader. Tolkien’s Middle Earth is, I think, the ultimate example of fantasy world-building. This looks like an interesting book and I would love to win a copy!

  3. Vallery Kotila says:

    I love the Chronicles of Narnia stories! Susan’s horn is my favorite fantasy element! It is a true symbol of hope!

  4. Tine says:

    What I love most about fantasy stories is that you can go as far and as wild as you want. For example: The fenix in the Harry Potter books is based on a legend. And why can’t legends be real? Hey, if you want to think so, it is!

    Would love this book by the way 🙂

  5. Faye says:

    I really like how in stories like Ella Enchanted or other tales how there is always something different, quirky, and powerful about the main character that makes their life remarkably different, even if it is that they are not perceived to be powerful!

    • Jill Williamson says:

      An underdog with a special ability is often the hero of epic stories, huh, Faye? I love Ella Enchanted, btw. Good one!

  6. Dennis says:

    I like the element in fantasy that is also an element in most good stories: the struggle of good versus evil. Getting to know the characters and cheer them on as they make their journey through this battle is what brings the stories to life.

    • Jill Williamson says:

      I don’t think there is any story more powerful than good vs. evil, Dennis. You’re so right.

  7. Stacy says:

    I feel like I am betraying you for reading someone else’s book but I do have to say A Cast of Stones looks really good.

    • Jill Williamson says:

      LOL! Stacy, that’s so funny. There are lots of good books out there. I’m always thrilled to find new ones I love. 🙂

  8. Tracy says:

    In The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, I was intrigued by the concept of stormlight, which is used for currency, illumination and as an energy source to fuel supernatural abilities. I find it interesting that the only way you can replenish this valuable substance is by enduring brutal highstorms.

  9. One of my favorite fantasy elements is from Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart Trilogy. I loved how Mo and Meggie could read words and they’d come to life–literally pulling characters out of their stories, for example.

  10. Julie D says:

    Wise old men. I know it’s cliche, but I like the idea of someone who has gotten old but still has a lot to share with people.

    • Jill Williamson says:

      Me too! And I hope young people will think I’m a cool mentor someday instead of a crazy old lady, even if that might also be true. LOL!

  11. Jake says:

    Hm. “Favorite” questions are notoriously hard, so I’ll have to answer off the top of my head.

    But there’s one scene in the Lord of the Rings that never fails to…move me? It’s not *emotionally* moving, but it creates this sense of awe. It’s when the Fellowship is nearing the Falls of Rauros and they pass by the two statues of Isildur and Anarion that guard the entrance to Gondor. Combine that with the soundtrack…ahhh. It’s incredible.

    • Jill Williamson says:

      I know! I hate when people ask me for favorites too, Jake. There are too many cool things to pick one favorite. Those are awesome statues. I know exactly what you’re talking about. It’s epic.

  12. Rachelle says:

    In Karen Hancock’s Guardian King series I loved how they could “throw” the light.

  13. Nettie says:

    I love the mythical beasts that authors create in fantasy books. Even if it is a creature that I’m already familiar with, I love reading about their interpretation of the creature.

  14. Susan P says:

    I had a series where they were magical men – including taking different forms of animals – that intrigued me!

  15. Jennette says:

    I love the far out adventure that fantasy offers, the epic battle of good vs evil coupled with the fantastical elements of created races, creatures, worlds, powers, endless possibilities, and I think a greater chance of allegory/symbolism.

  16. Mary Ann Woods says:

    My favorite fantasy series is Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. In those books are “way gates” that allow the characters to travel from one place to another in shorter periods of time that it would usually.

    • Jill Williamson says:

      I need to read some Robert Jordan. I bought the first book, just don’t have time! Thanks for sharing, Mary Ann. That sounds cool!

  17. Wow this sounds like a really great book! I’d love to own/read it!
    My favorite fantasy element in a favorite fantasy book would have to be, Wayne Thomas Batson’s The Dark Sea Annals series. I love the different “cultures” and “people” he’s created. They are all so different and so foreign, but so cool! But one thing that really strikes me about the “people” is that their blood is different colors. Each “race”, if you will has different colored blood. Some green, some black, or brown. It’s just not something I think about, and I love it when authors throw in a little twist to make your head spin!

    • Jill Williamson says:

      That’s fun, Elizabeth! I haven’t read that one yet, though I have it on my kindle. It’s waiting oh so patiently…

  18. Sarah says:

    I’m not sure if this is exactly what you’re looking for, but I love how most fantasy stories involve an element of someone ordinary, or even less than ordinary, become someone extraordinary- like Achen from your books, or Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy from The Chronicles of Narnia.

  19. Georgina says:

    Thanks for hosting this giveaway!

    In Cornelia Funke’s Inkworld trilogy, I love the idea of characters being “read” in books and affecting different “stories within the story”. As a book lover the concept of interacting with books in such a physical way was really interesting and exciting!!

    Similarly, I have to say I really like the way Once Upon A Time (TV show, not a book *guilty smile*) combines different fairytales and stories in new and unexpected ways. Bringing stories to life and re-inventing them at the same time! (though the purist in me still objects to tampering sometimes *heehee*)

    Thanks again; I know you must be really busy. Giveaways are such fun and this book looks very neat! 🙂

    • Jill Williamson says:

      Those books are so fun, Georgina! So is Once. Though I am starting to get tired of the same old theme in every show. You’d think people would spread the word not to make deals with Rumpelstiltskin! lol

  20. Sarah Rose says:

    I love a good fantasy, but I don’t think I’ve ever considered my favorite element before. It might just be experiencing a world that’s completely different, but where I still relate to the characters. I definitely love joining a heroic but flawed character on their journey, and getting to cheer them on (and sometimes scold) them along the way! Lisa Bergren’s River of Time Series was great for that. 🙂

  21. Neville Longbottom is one of my all time favorite characters. I can relate to him on so many levels. He was so shy and insecure, but still belonged in the house of Griffindor, even though he didn’t feel it. As time went on he found his strength and courage and stood for underdogs everywhere. Love him and his grandmother too!

  22. I’m gonna play it safe and say that one of my favorite elements from fantasy is bloodvoicing is. And it actually is!

  23. Claire Rust says:

    I loved this book! One of my favorite fantasy elements is the way Karen Hancock portrays evil in her Guardian-King series, as the spore sickness that can only be fought by living “in the light.” It’s such a wonderful metaphor for the struggle within us every day!

  24. Rick and Jarod Smith says:

    My son and I love reading about characters who resemble normal men and women who don’t rely on magic charms or holy swords. The only thing they go against an antagonist with is courage. Sounds a bit hokey, but really, in the real world, so little of that element is missing.

  25. amccalli says:

    I have to say that I loved Errol in a Cast of Stones. He was very realistic in his development from a worthless drunk to a sought after hope for his world. The change in him was gradual but so believable, and I have to say that I have fallen in love with his tender heart that just wants to survive and do what’s right.

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