Reviewed by Ami & Nikyta
Title: The Witchstone Amulet
Author: Mason Thomas
Heroes: Hunter & Dax
Genre: M/M Fantasy
Length: 293 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: August 27, 2019
Available at: Dreamspinner Press & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Protect it at all costs.
That’s what rugby player Hunter Best’s mother told him before she died. But when Hunter surprises an intruder in his Chicago apartment, he discovers her amulet stolen. Hunter pursues the thief—all the way through a strange vortex. He wakes in a bizarre and violent world, a benighted realm on the threshold of civil war.
The queen has become a ruthless tyrant, punishing any who oppose her, weakening the kingdom’s defenses against the brutal Henerans. To survive, Hunter must depend on the man who robbed him, a handsome former spy named Dax, now a leader of the resistance that believes the queen is an imposter—a Heneran disguised by magic… who also looks identical to Hunter’s mother.
There’s no love lost between Hunter and Dax, and even if Hunter grudgingly agrees with the resistance, he just wants to reclaim his property and go home. But he might be the only one who can oppose the queen and end her reign of terror.
First of all, as a romance reader, I’m slightly reluctant to call this fantasy romance. Mainly because the focus of The Witchstone Amulet is how Hunter Best being transported into a different world – then involves in a rebellion’s group and their attempt to overthrow a tyrant queen.
Yes, there’s a love interest for Hunter, a former spy who is responsible for Hunter being in this new world in the first place, but the romantic development is rather slow and not exactly the center piece of the book.
In my humble opinion…
Having said so – I think Mason Thomas delivered another exciting fantasy-adventure with this book. I enjoyed Thomas’ first two books, Lord Mouse and The Shadow Mark, so I jumped the chance to request the advance copy of this one.
The Witchstone Amulet is written solely from Hunter’s perspective. I must say that as someone who wakes up in a different world, with magic and violent war, Hunter is quite well-adjusted! Sure, Hunter is quickly involved because he doesn’t really have a chance. He doesn’t have a way to return to our world without the rebellion winning the war. However, Hunter lives thirty years in our human world, and he doesn’t miss all the Internet, and well, good plumbing and toilet paper?! *laugh*.
I was immersed into the story early on especially because it was easy for me to root for Hunter. Even when the rebellion group doesn’t act kindly towards Hunter – they don’t trust him – and he has questions upon questions, but Hunter manages to take one step at a time and gains his place. He doesn’t back down… and I admired him for it.
I’m rather miffed with the ending though – I feel like there are loose threads here that don’t feel like closure. And I’m not sure about Hunter’s choice by the end of the book. It’s like he doesn’t think too much about it and I wonder if Hunter will end up regretting his choice.
Ami’s Overall Impression: I liked it
One of my favorite genres is fantasy so when I saw this one, I had to try it. Especially since I’ve read Mason Thomas before and enjoyed his stories, I was eager to give this one a go and I wasn’t disappointed! I loved that this one starts in ‘our world’ and quickly goes into another dimension where everything is so much more… barbaric. I loved Hunter’s struggles in trying to understand what is going on while trying to find the amulet a thief stole from him. I adored the fact that Dax, the thief, ends up saving Hunter numerous times. I will say, Dax is very much an enigma. What we know about him is that he’s pretty selfless and willing to put himself at risk instead of others and he seems to be drawn to Hunter. I really liked seeing Dax try to be indifferent but then help Hunter in some small way. This one isn’t really a romance but there are small romantic gestures between them. It was also interesting to see the civil war going on in this new world and how Hunter’s mom looks just like the tyrant queen and how distrustful everyone found Hunter to be, just because he was a stranger to them.
I really loved this book but I had a few issues with it. For one, I wish we had gotten Dax’s POV. I loved Hunter and his struggles but I wanted to experience things from Dax’s aspect since he knew so much more about the world, about what was going on and just to see what his thought processes were when it came to Hunter. Add to that, I was a little disappointed with the ending. I felt like the book was going at such a great pace and then BAM, the ending speeds by and I was left with things feeling a little unfinished. It was at odds with the rest of the story and while probably the most suspenseful part of the story, it was just over too quickly for me to be satisfied with how everything turns out. It was tied up too nicely to make it feel authentic.
All in all, I really loved this book. I loved the world, I loved the characters and I adored their journey. It was interesting to see how different things were and experience Hunter trying to adjust to the radical change. I would have liked to see Dax’s POV and have the ending cleaned up a little more but, as it as, this was a great story to sink my teeth into. I hope it’s not the last we see of these two because with the way the story ended, it feels like there should be another book to answer all the burning questions I still have. Definitely give this a go if you’re looking for a good, solid fantasy to try out.. but beware, it’s not really a romance.
Nikyta’s Overall Impression: I really liked it!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*