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Stones to Ashes by Kailin Gow
Published: January 7, 2011 by the Edge
Age Group: YA/Young YA
Source: ecopy from publisher
Series: The Alchemists Academy #1
What do you learn here…at the Academy? Wirt asks. Magic? The responsibility to use your powers responsibly? Uh…something like that, his roommate Spencer said. More like how to rule worlds. Wirt, is used to being shuffled from foster home to foster home, adopting a devil-may-care attitude toward the world along the way. Now he s in a school he can t escape, learning to develop his latent magical abilities, for what use, he doesn’t know…to save his world or to destroy it…
The book revolves around a tree. Yes, you read that right. The academy is IN a beyond enormous TREE. How is that for unique??! The description of the tree and how it worked was actually pretty cool. Because the tree is massive you have to navigate it through these portal things. They kind of reminded me of the Room of Requirement in Harry Potter. You just think really hard about the place you want to go or the person you want to see and you get sucked into the portal and spit out at your location. And speaking of Harry Potter, I bet you are wondering if this book is like that book at all. It has similarities in the fact that it is a school and there is magic, but the similarities are very general. I didn’t find it to be too similar. I thought Kailin Gow did a good job making the story her own.
Alchemist Academy seems to be more about the darker side of magic and more about secrets. I swear, I still don’t know who I can trust and who I can’t for any of the teachers. And I love when a book can keep me guessing about characters.
I enjoyed reading the book from a male’s perspective. I do want to get to know the characters better in the next book. They seemed to be a bit surface throughout this book. There is so much going on that it was kind of hard to get into the details about every single person and thing in the story. Stones to Ashes has really good “bones” so I am super excited to see what direction the next book (and the series) goes in. I would like to see a little more character development in book two. I was also a little confused about some things. Like, how long did Spencer and Alana go to the school before Wirt showed up? and if they were not all new students, how did they end up in the same classes? Shouldn’t wirt have gone into beginning classes? But that was just a little nit picky point that didn’t really interrupt the flow of the story for me- I just took notice of it. I do have to say, I love how Wirt’s power is developing. It seems beyond cool, and I know it is going to play a big role in future books.
Overall, I liked Stones to Ashes. Since this was a really ambitious world to set up in a book of this length, I think the second book will be a better indicator of which character I like and trust. I can’t wait to see where this series goes. I think this would be a great series for young teen guys (and girls!) to get into.
Author Kailin Gow
Kailin Gow is the award-winning, international bestselling author of over 80 distinct books.
Kailin Gow is also the President of a media company, a media personality, and has been writing full-time since she was first published. Holding a Masters in communications management and leadership positions in Fortune 500 corporations, she puts her leadership abilities, her experience, and desire to help others into her fiction books. As a result, she has written the forthcoming, Finding the Heroine in You book which is also a national tour. She is a mother and spends whatever spare time she has volunteering at the Red Cross, Battered Women’s Shelters, and other organizations.
Currently her Frost Series is in development for a major international MMO Game, and she has over 14,000 and growing Frosters on her facebook fan page.
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