Another excellent book book in the Alistair Stone Cronicles. This series is a must read for urban fantasy fans. The author has the wonderful ability to write exciting action-packed books that also give sufficient weight to character development.
Gifted Thief is an enjoyable urban fantasy read with likable and complex characters. It is, for the most part, well written and the action is peppered throughout to allow for a reasonable reading pace.
Why only three stars then?
Unfortunately, the pacing of the story in the beginning dragged quite a lot. The content was interesting, and while most of the detail helped form the rest of the book, it felt stilted and cumbersome, rather than lithe and agile like the rest of the book.
The characters were mostly really well done. Some of the extreme stereotypes were a little annoying, but they worked in most instances.
Where things got really interesting was once Integrity delved back into the Sidhe world. I’ve read a number of Sidhe related books and I’d have to say this one was one of the best for creating a great deal of complexity in their belief and power dynamics. I also quite enjoyed the clan versus clan-less theme that ran throughout. It added another dimension to the story that I’m sure will come into play later in the series.
I will probably read book 2, I am keen to see how things progress, but I won’t rush into it.
A couple of things I noticed:
78% – …now it stood as docile than (delete than, insert as) Barbie.
87% – …The only (one) who thinks you’re…
**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book through the Awesome Indies Reviewer program.**
This is a wonderful urban fantasy. Great characters, different story line and no vampires! Wonderful. Worth it’s Seal of Excellence.
Professor Alistair Stone is a powerful mage, teaching occult studies to mundane (non magical folk) students. When he takes on Ethan, a young mage, as a favour to one of his mage colleagues and friends, Dr Stone embarks on a journey of self discovery as much as Ethan.
The character of Alistair Stone was reasonable, I liked his personality and methodical approach to teaching. He was suitably eccentric enough to keep things interesting, but stable enough to appear reliable.
Ethan is a completely different matter. Ethan is meant to be 18, but the way he conducts himself, especially in relation to women is more fitting for a 15 or 16 year old boy. Bordering on TSTL (Too Stupid To Live), his character was so flimsy he almost doubled as a tool the real characters used to advance the plot. All his internal debating with himself over what to tell Dr Stone and what not to was quite boring and rather immature and annoying.
The start of the story spent a lot time introducing the world and magic rules. It was done by way of educating Ethan, but it allowed for the reader to get a solid understanding. It felt a little longer and a little slower than I’d have liked, but I could see it served a purpose.
The ending of the story was a completely different matter all together. The story was like rolling a giant boulder up a slight incline, only to have it reach the apex of the hill and then have it leave you behind as it roared down the decline on the otherside. The ending scenes were fast, almost too fast, and considering the light style of writing, quite dark and sinister.
The ending left me feeling like it was more of an anti-climax than a climax. The unanswered plot threads left to dangle in the smoke and haze, intending to lure you onto reading the next book. While the main story plot was completed, these smaller threads were left unanswered, almost like a tiny little hook. Daring the reader to take a bite out of book #2.
The story was interesting and engaging, the writing style mostly light and extremely easy to read. R.L. has a solid grasp on good English and uses those skills to keep the reader interested in the story. If you’d like to try an urban fantasy story with some sinister dark elements, give this book a try. I will be reading book #2 at some point in the future for sure.
**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of the book in return for an honest review**
I don’t really know what to say after finishing The Journeyman… my mind is still whirring around putting things together, rehashing scenes from the start that held hidden meanings that only revealed themselves after you’ve finished the book.
My first thought was around how instantly engaging and interesting the story was, even though it began as a slice-of-life type of story. The first few chapters welcomed the reader into Paul’s world, showed a young man who had struggled through life, had been beaten to the curb time and time again.
Annie and Zach also added to the delightfully well-constructed characters. I especially liked that they were both a bit different from the traditional characters. Zach appeared to be on the spectrum, while Annie is a strong minded, single mother, data analyst and injured war veteran.
Brilliantly different and yet, someone that just about anyone could relate to on some level.
The idea of a purgatory or interim afterlife has been done before, but not with this sort of fantastical element. When the book changes from slice-of-life to The Commons the whole world is turned on its head. This left me a little lost as to what was happening, and while a little disorienting, the fast pace meant you really couldn’t stay focused on that for too long.
This will either encourage the reader to just ‘go with it’ or potentially put them off completely (which is what I’ve seen in a couple of the other reviews). For me, the unanswered questions around what was happening and who all the new people were, was more intriguing than annoying. But I can completely understand how some people would get ‘over it’ quickly.
My biggest criticism, and probably the only one really, is to do with the pace of the book. The action starts at chapter 5, and it does not stop until you read the last line of the book. Now, at times, this works brilliantly. The epic battles and racing through dark tunnels was fantastic at a frantic pace, but normally as a reader you need some slower parts. Parts that allow you to digest what has happened and to form intricate and emotional bonds with the characters; It’s a part that was almost missed because of the frantic pace.
The emotional impact of one of the pivotal sad moments in the story was a mere molehill to me because of my lack of emotional attachment to the characters. The reaction that should have occurred was nowhere to be seen because my level of emotional commitment to the character was still in its infancy. Had there been a few softer, quieter moments with this character, ones to forge emotional bonds with, then I’d probably have been crying like a baby at that climatic scene. I wanted to, I really did.
Are you crying?
This isn’t to say that Michael can’t make the reader care about the characters, because he does. I really felt for little Zach and felt my heart lurch along with Annie’s as she worked her way through the puzzles along her journey, but these scenes were about characters that’d been with me the whole way through the book. I knew something of them, I wanted to read more about them and experience things with them.
When it comes to antagonists, Michael really shone. Mr Brill was insidious in his evilness and yet, still not out and out creepy. There was an intelligence about him and a polished exterior that was somewhat misleading. I also liked his little side-kick Gerald Truitt, he was an interesting character. I can see bigger things for him too.
All in all, this is a fantastic book. One that is well written, flawlessly edited and thoroughly engaging. If you want to try something that’ll get your imagination flowing, pick this book up today, you will not be disappointed.
**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book in return for an honest review***