Review: A Cast of Stones (The Staff and the Sword #1) by Patrick W. Carr

My summary:
Errol has been hiding for the past several years, since he was fourteen, in a barrel of ale. He is the town drunk, but a nice one and willing to do lesser jobs so that he can buy his next drink. He isn't necessarily comfortable with his life. It is just as it is and what he must do to keep the memories away.

Then one day he takes a job, better paying then any he has ever had. He agrees to take a message from the church to the hermit who lives some way out of town. It is a difficult trail to the hermit's home and he is the only one who knows it well enough to get there quickly. He is also too poor for the bandits who sometimes dwell in the area to bother him. The message is supposedly very important, although he doesn't do it for the church who he has no love for. He takes the job for the gold and the ale he will buy with it. Little does he know that this job will set him on a course that will greatly change his life.

Once he delivers his message, after barely surviving the trail, he is found to have some talent. He is coerced to travel with the hermit and some other companions to the capital. No one has ever thought much of him, but as he journeys he finds that he was wrong about himself, most of all.

What I thought:
I loved it! I had heard some good things about it, but hadn't actually read any reviews, so I had no expectations going in. It reminded me a little of Lord of the Rings and Juliet Marillier's Bridei Chronicles.

I love it when authors really make me feel the story. This one had plenty of grit due to the time period and plot. It also had such an interesting group of characters and they each had some depth to them. We learn about the land, its history, government, and people as Errol does. I liked this because it wasn't information overload at the beginning. We're just immersed in the world and the story. I didn't feel like anything was easy. Everything that occurred that was amazing or turned out okay took time, work, and some luck. No one came out unscathed either. I did feel Errol was still a little too naive after a little while, like proclaiming his talent when he shouldn't, but overall I felt he was true to his background and age (19 at the end of the story), as well as never having being outside of his village.  The ending had a good resolution, but also set us up for the next book. I highly recommend it!

Content: Some innuendo.
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication date: February 1, 2013 by Bethany House Publishers
Source: NetGalley


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Disclosure: This review is of a book I was given for free by an author or publisher, or through NetGalley or Edelweiss. This in no way influences the opinions shared in my review. You may see my complete policy on the sidebar and on my policies page. This post also contains link(s) to an affiliate program. If you make a purchase of any type using this/these link(s) I receive a small kickback.


  1. I have a copy waiting for me on Netgalley and I can't wait to get started. Especially because it reminds you of LOTR & Marillier :D Sounds great!


    1. It is different than those, of course, but I felt that the feel of it was similar. The fantasy part also wasn't overdone, which I think made it feel more real. There isn't' a lot of romance like most YA, but that didn't bother me. I really did love it, so if you like fantasy at all you definitely need to read it!

  2. I am on the fence about this book. On one hand, I think the description sounds so magical and I like the cover, but if I am being totally honest, I just never got on the LOTR bandwagon and as soon as I saw it I got a bit of a LOTR-like feeling about it. Don't ask me why I couldn't get into the LOTR, because I'm not really sure myself!

    1. You should read it! It is a little different than LOTR, in a good way. There aren't as many characters or separate journeys that you're following, the age of the MC is teen, the writing flows well (not as wordy as LOTR), and there is a love interest. Everything is also plotted rather well, I thought. I would be curious what you thought if you do decide to read it. :)

  3. I never heard of this series before. I will definitely have to try it! I'm always looking for new fantasy to keep my interest. Thanks! :)

    1. I really enjoyed it! The second book comes out in July and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy!

    2. Oh, and I don't know if you've read Cinda Williams Chima. She is fantasy and I really like her books!


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