Junior Inquisitor

Junior Inquisitor

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

RL King's Alastair Stone, White Mage and emerging bad-ass

Stone and a Hard Place

It’s hard enough for Alastair Stone to keep his two lives—powerful mage and mundane Occult Studies professor—separate without an old friend asking him to take on a new apprentice. Especially after a university colleague wants him to investigate a massive old house for things that go bump in the night. Still, Stone figures it’s an easy job: just turn up, put on a little show, and announce that the house is clean.

Only it isn’t. A malevolent spirit is reawakening in the basement, imprisoned between dimensions and intent on escape. If it succeeds, countless people will die. Worse, a trio of dark mages want to help it break free so they can control it for their own sinister purposes. They’ll do whatever it takes—including seducing Stone’s young apprentice and using him against his master—to get what they’re after.

With time running out, Stone has to stay alive long enough to uncover the spirit’s secrets. But even if he does, he fears that his own power won’t be enough to send it back.

My Review

This was a damn fine book, I enjoyed reading it, and it was well worth the price.
The pace is neither slow nor frenetic, the ideas of magic and what it is and is not what it can and can not do are unique and interesting. Alistair Stone is a complex, fully-fleshed out character, with good and bad points about him. The other characters are similarly rendered. The bad guys are more than evil for the sake of evil, they have plans, but those plans conflict with Stone's, and only one group can win.
I will be waiting for the next one in the series.

The Forgotten

When a friend asks Alastair Stone to question a disturbed child who's committed a horrific act, Stone has no idea what kind of rabbit hole he's starting down. His investigations uncover more instances of appalling crimes, all committed by people with no history of violence. And other people have turned up missing...

It's not long before Stone crosses paths with Jason Thayer, a young man searching for his runaway sister who might be a victim of the same bizarre affliction. Together, Stone and Jason are embroiled in a network of odd homeless people, strange symbols, a growing conspiracy, and deadly danger. Even if they find Jason's sister in time, there's no way to know if they can help her--and it's soon clear that the problem is a lot worse than they originally suspected.

What do you do when you discover an extradimensional plot that threatens the safety of the entire world, but you can't tell anyone about it because literally anyone on Earth could be part of it?

My Review

Alastair Stone is a magic user, Mage, and a professor of Occult studies at Stanford. He is neither a White nor Black Mage, but stays in the Grey realm. The story starts off with a child possibly committing murder, but it can not be explained why or how the incident occurred. Stone is called in to advise and things take off getting weird and deadly. Stone was a bit off putting in the first story, but after being knocked about, he has mellowed and become more human less standoffish. Still cool, in the British sense, still snarky, but much more tied in to the “mundane” world.
Good action, not a lot of “Let's stand around and talk about the problem for ten or twelve pages, while the bad guys wait for us to make up our minds,” excessive dialog there to add to the word count. I look forward to number 3.

The Threshold

It's been less than a month since Alastair Stone, Jason Thayer, and Jason's sister Verity discovered a monstrous conspiracy to take over our world one mind at a time. The battle in San Francisco struck a major blow--but it didn't eliminate the threat.

Not even close.

Where do the Evil come from? How did they get here? As Stone, Jason, and Verity dig deeper into these questions, they make a shocking discovery about the nature of the Evil--and what happened that opened the door into our dimension. What they find sends them on a desperate cross-country race from the wilds of West Virginia to the dark neon wonderland of Las Vegas as they attempt to stop the Evil at its source before it's too late.

From a new colony of Forgotten to a powerful and mysterious gray mage with unclear motives, they will find help in their efforts--but will it be enough?

My Review

R.L. King’s The Threshold is R.L. King's the third book in her series The Alistair Stone Chronicles. This installment is very well done as it truly is a standalone as well as an integral part of the overall story arc. Alistair continues his investigation into the Evil with Verity and Jason who are more than just lightly sketched sidekicks or foils, they are tangible assets to the story and to Alistair. Secondary characters and locations were well drawn without over detail or plodding. I appreciated the fast pace nature of this novel.
I have enjoyed being in King's world and look forward to reading #4. Do yourself a favor and pick up Stone and a Hard place and get ready to be entertained.

The Source

The portals are closed. The Evil have lost their pathway between their home and ours. No longer does humanity need to worry about extradimensional bodysnatchers with a thirst for pain and terror pouring through to wreak destruction on Earth.

So that means Stone, Jason, and Verity can rest for a while, right?

Yeah, maybe not.

The problem is, while there might not be any new Evil coming through, a whole lot of very powerful, very angry Evil are still stuck on our side. Desperate now, they're forced to put aside their differences and work together to come up with an ambitious plan to get their pipeline of soldiers up and running. And now they've got a dangerous ally on their side: a black mage with a longstanding hatred of Stone.

Will Stone and his friends figure out what the Evil are up to before they can set into motion something that can't be stopped--and that will end up killing thousands of people in the process?

My Review

Of all the places evil could try and seize, why did it have to be at Burning Man? I had visions of Cartman riding Cthulhu, slaying concert goers left and right. So for me this book brought a smile to my face. As always RL King delivers. Good plot, good pacing, secondary characters are fleshed out. I’m not sure if King has been to the desert, Burning Man, or is just blessed with a descriptive imitation, but she gets the details right. You chafe, you chap, you itch, and it distracts from everything else you are trying to do. Keeping people frustrated for long periods of time brings out their worst, but in this case it brings out King’s literary depths. Probably her strongest novel to date.

Core of Stone

Alastair Stone knew it would take a big sacrifice to end the Evil’s hold over our world. He was ready to make that sacrifice—but he expected it to be his life.

Never in his worst nightmares did he think it would be his magic.

Despairing and grief-stricken at the loss of the abilities that defined his existence, he’s on the fast track to self-destruction when a dear friend convinces him to take a desperate last chance. He heads to Las Vegas to find the only man who might be able to help him, but instead finds some old allies in dire need of his own help with a deadly—and very magical—threat.

Stone’s answer to nearly every problem has always been magic—but that’s off the table now. All he’s got are his wits and his courage to keep himself and his friends alive. Can he put aside his pride and bitterness long enough to prove there’s more to him than magic?

My Review

What kind of man are you when you lose your identity, the core of what you are? Can you adapt? Or is it time to go gentle into that good night? Simple and deep at the same time, these are the questions Alistair Stone is forced to endure when it appears that his magical abilities have been lost for good. Something went wrong in the desert and he’s not getting better.

Briefly putting aside his self-induced termination, Stone travels to Vegas, where he has only his wits and knowledge keeping him, and people counting on him, alive. Series is going strong and difficult questions are handled deftly.

Blood and Stone

When his friend Jason Thayer disappears after heading to his home town to attend a wedding, the only clue Alastair Stone has to his whereabouts is a cryptic phone message about "something weird" Jason saw shortly before he vanished.

Stone travels to the picturesque tourist town where Jason was last seen and is soon caught up in a horrific web of murder, malevolent magic, and a mysterious and ancient force that's resurfaced even more powerful than ever after a long dormancy. What is it, how is it connected to the town and its residents, and why has it returned now? What does it want with Jason?

Alone and without his usual resources, Stone must find a way to track down and defeat the malignant entity before it cuts a swath of death across the town--and before it uses its insidious powers to destroy Stone's reputation, his livelihood, and his life.


My Review

Ojai, I’m told, used to be a nice touristy kind of town. A place where one could grow up in a safe, secure, friend-filled community before eventually go work for computer game companies. Then Alastair Stone showed up. And people started to die, lots of people, sometimes killed by others, sometimes killing themselves. Zombies, (kinda), possession, bear attacks, almost-Treants, blood sacrifice, and an old curse make this the darkest in the series; the one I enjoyed the most. Number Seven cannot come fast enough.

Better Buying Options

Want to check out King's books and not spend a fortune like me?

Get the box set of the first four.

So now the big question, Alastair Stone versus Brother Sebastian. At first Professor Stone, a white mage, was pretty damn weak compared to the witches in the world of Inquisitors. That's changed a bit, Alastair has fought a quiet war, learned much about offensive and defensive magic, both to stay alive, and because he has an apprentice to teach. He's also lost a lot of the “crazy wizard in a tower,” mentality. He's in more contact with other mages, both White and Black, recognizing his weaknesses and working hard to learn more. All in all, by my estimation, Dr. Alastair Stone, in Stone and a Hard Place, is a much more dangerous mage by the time by Blood and Stone occurs. One on one Alastair Stone might be able to survive a Purge. Which is why Inquisitors don't fight witches by themselves, excepting certain Hammer Practicals that end up going wrong.
Am I right? Check out both series for yourself and let us know.

Junior Inquisitor Book One  
Inquisitor Series - http://goo.gl/mJtTf8
Soulless Monk Book Two  
 Smashwords - https://goo.gl/NXw3Gr
Inquisitor Series - http://goo.gl/5lCyaX
 The Witch’s Lair Book Three 
Smashwords - https://goo.gl/MokJnC 
 Inquisitor Series - http://goo.gl/mJtTf8

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