Attention, fantasy lovers. A new book is on the market (well, not so new anymore; it was released in April of this year--it's just new to me).
The first book in The Chronicles of Quat, The Stone is the first full-length book out by author Bryen O'Riley, and from what I understand, this is the first segment in a series.
Counting the stars: I give this book 4/5.
Ms. O'Riley certainly is a talented pen-wielder. Her characters are believable and thoroughly human (even if they're not necessarily of the human race in her fantasies), and I, as the reader, was able to identify with their struggles and the journeys they each took in their respective cases.
Though only a side character, Chet was a favorite of mine from the book. First, what a great name! I grew up devouring Hardy Boy Books, and Chet was my favorite character from those as well.
I digress. Chet plays the best friend in this book, loyal, trust-worthy, always staying by Tad's side, even when it means risking life, limb, and general comfort and ease. He brings out the boyish side in Tad, that if left untouched by friendship, would read a tad (get it?) dark for me.
I'm intrigued by Etan, Tad's older brother. There's some tension near the beginning of the book between Etan and his and Tad's mother, and sneaking suspicions wormed their way through my mind that maybe we might get to see a brother-against-brother climax. This didn't turn out to be the case, but Etan still remains shrouded in mystery, and O'Riley develops his character just enough that I'm pretty sure we're going to get some interesting twists on him in Book 2. We'll have to see.
Imagination! It was interesting to read some of the purely imaginative creations of Ms. O'Riley's pen. Short, flat people that lived, camouflaged, amid forest foliage, who, like Rumpelstiltskin, make deals with disastrous results for others. Blinders, not his real name, but as he said in the book, his real name was too difficult for simple humans to remember, so he goes by Blinders instead. He's a creature that can't be seen, even if you're standing nose to nose with him.
A drawback, at least for me, was the lack of romantic storyline. This diehard romantic found it hard to care much about the key relationships in the book (Chet and Tad made the longest inroads into my affections) when there was no "true love" for which to root.
If you haven't figured it out from reading my own books, I always keep a weather eye out for "true love."
By the end of the book, there is potential for one in later works, and I look forward to reading about that, but the lack of romantic tension in The Stone did tend to dry up the book a little for me.
Overall, this is a first book with lots of promise, both for the rest of the series, and for future works. I'm looking forward to reading more.