Cover Image: Lodestone

Lodestone

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Member Reviews

this was a really well done scifi novel, the story was really interesting and I loved getting to know the characters. It was a well done story.
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This book isn't quite sure if it wants to be YA or not. The author claims it is not YA, but there isn't anything making this an adult or new adult book aside from the age of the MC. The MC is 21, but she acts like a petulant child throughout, and she does some highly unbelievable things for a person in her situation. She's taken under the wing of someone who she greatly respects. This is her dream. She grew up in less than ideal circumstances and understands that her next meal is not guaranteed. Yet she is incredibly rebellious and disrespectful. She might as well be a teenager, then at least some things would be semi believable coming from a place of naivete. She constantly puts herself in stupid situations. It doesn't make any sense. It's also hard to like a book when I hate the MC.

The love story is highly unbelievable. The pacing is not good. The story is not properly fleshed out. The ending was underwhelming. 

I also can't get behind indie authors with loads of other indie authors trading glowing reviews to jack up their book scores. It's tacky and obvious. Just stop it.

All that ranting aside, there were some things I liked about this book. I like the concept of the lodestone and its creation. I like the idea of Insights. It wasn't written poorly. It just feels like it was written too quickly and could have benefited from some fleshing out and maybe more honest beta readers. I'm certainly not writing the author off. She has some interesting ideas.
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I am a sucker for a good dark fantasy, and this one was totally worth it. The magic system was super interesting, and the world-building was absolutely fantastic. The dark and gothic aspect to this book made it all the more enjoyable and at times even chilling. Melanie was an amazing main character, and I loved seeing her grow and change throughout the book. In conclusion, if you love dark fantasy novels with magic, intrigue, and mystery, you will LOVE this book!
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I found this book to be highly entertaining and think anyone who loves fantasy and a tormented hero with a mysterious past will feel the same. Katherine Forrister's writing is captivatingly descriptive, as well as thrillingly creepy and unsettling at all the right times. She expertly incorporated key elements of fantasy with her own concepts and at no point did I feel I was reading just another version of some other story in the same genre. The magic system seemed especially unique. I was really drawn into the story from the very beginning and could have read straight through in one sitting if I'd had the time. I did have quite a few questions throughout, but all were answered by the end. K.F. has clearly put her heart and soul into writing this and tying up all the loose ends.

As much as I enjoyed this book, there are a few reasons why I could not give it a full five star rating. For one, I found Melaine to be an exceedingly irritating protagonist. She acted immature, selfish, and rude, and would become angry when people she treated in such ways returned the favor. I was constantly rolling my eyes at her behavior and hoping she would mature, but alas her character growth was marginal. The Overlord was an easy character to love and sympathize with, but I could hardly care for Malaine at all.

Additionally, so much happened in a span of only a week or two, it made the romantic aspects ill-fitting and (I'm saying this as a romance lover) uncomfortable. Malaine's captivation by the Overlord was one thing, but I found it grew to a nauseating level of obsession mere days after she met him for the first time. Therefore I found her thoughts and treatment of the Overlord towards the end to be overly forward and awkward. Had some portion of the text been given to the development of a romantic relationship and the story taken place over a much longer period of time, or the characters remained platonic, I believe the whole story would have been a lot stronger and nearly flawless.

Despite these points taking up the majority of my review, I was so impressed by the rest of this book that I couldn't bear to deny it more than one star. I look forward to more of this author's work. Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for this honest review.
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If you are a lover of fantasy, horror, mystery and romance, Lodestone should be your next read. Melaine is a unique protagonist who isn’t shy about her desire to elevate herself from the slums she grew up in. Her desperation to escape poverty at any cost, even by seeking out favor from the dark figure who rules over her city, creates a realistic and grounded framework for this fantasy novel. From the beginning, Melaine is clearly capable, but her path could lead her into darkness or light. Beyond the tight knit cast of characters, the other star of Lodestone is the magic system. It’s fascinating and unique, unlike any other I’ve encountered in a book, and manages to be simple to understand yet still surprising in its application. Overall, Lodestone is an enjoyable and intriguing novel that scratches a lot of fantasy itches. Highly recommended.
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I thought the magic system was one of the most interesting parts of the story. In too many fantasy stories only the most special people are magic, but this world was so innovative in so far as the fact that every person had access to magic in some way, and the way they were able to learn new magic was really fascinating. I liked the dynamic between the Overlord and Melaine at the beginning when it was more just an apprentice and teacher, but as it went on I felt more uncomfortable and annoyed. The cast of characters was interesting, but for me, the plot seemed to go a bit all over the place. Some of the class issues in this world confused me as well since the Overlord said he wanted to fix those issues but it seemed like that didn't change at all ever in his reign. Overall I thought the magic system was the coolest part of the story, and overall really enjoyed it, but found myself a bit lost at times.
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Thank you NetGalley.   I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

The cover of the book is absolutely gorgeous.   the art and coloring.. perfect. 
The writing is easy to follow and truly keeps your interest.
I was honestly impressed with this book and would gladly read others by this author.
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Fans of dark fantasy and romance, haunted castles and grotesque monsters will find much to love in Lodestone! And though those elements aren’t usually my cup of tea, for me Lodestone’s best feature was absolutely its original and complex magic system, where magic can be given and transferred via the use of lodestones, as the name suggests. The book is gritty and moody, with a dash of mystery and Beauty and the Beast vibes with a driven and free-willed heroine. 
Trigger warnings for sexual assault and gore.
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High lords, high magic, high praise for this phenomenal novel.

Rating: 4.5/5

I am usually pretty remiss in giving over 4-star ratings to a book (I can be a little stingy with my stars) but "Lodestone" by Katherine Forrister was too good to be dingy on. 'Lodestone' follows the grifty, down-to-earth, and a little hardcode Melaine, a lodestone peddler with dreams of a better life. Melaine's magic, we're told early on, is strong, but I'd have to say not nearly as strong as Melaine's will and sense of self. While the beginning of the book feels a little sluggish to wade through, although I think in an intentional way to drive some real emotional empathy between the reader and Melaine, the second half of the book literally had me on the edge of my seat.

Melaine, the story's phenomenal heroine, stands out as being strong and street-smart without being whiny. Often, when writing strong female characters, there's this trend for them to more or less announce that they are strong. Melaine, instead, shows us that she has had the strength to continue surviving in a world that looks down at people like her, and has been crafty enough to dream of a way out - which she then turns in to a reality. Throughout the entire novel she has strength, and a quick mind, that allows her to save the day and learn as she does so. 

The Overlord, the world's most unlikely hero, had my heart strings tugged from his first introduction. Forrister's character is complex, secluded and secretive, and a pleasure to get to know. His interactions with Melaine were among my favorite in the book, second only to Salma (the BEST maternal character ever), and his backstory was devestating in an amazing way. 

Forrister's world building reminded me a lot of Robert Jordan's 'Wheel of Time' series (high praise to be sure) and her complex characters drew me in, the same way Tamora Pierce's characters have always been easy to connect with. I know 'lodestone' is a standable but I need more - I would absolutely LOVE  prequel where we get to see Actaeon in action before the events of the book. Knowing that Melaine looked up to him for so long leaves me longing for more glimpses into his life, and his actions, before she came bursting in to it. 

I can't speak highly enough of this fantastic novel - and will definitely be ordering myself a copy when it comes out.

Thank you to Katherine Forrister and GenZ for an e-ARC copy of this book in return for an honest review. All opinions in this review are my own.
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Forrister debuts with an immersive fantasy that leaves the reader both satisfied and wanting more. Melaine lives in Stakeside, a grimy town in the land of the Centara people. She's an orphan and fights for her living by creating lodestones - small pieces of her magic that she draws from her bones and can give away. While magic in this world is common and available, not everyone can use it the way Melaine can. But she's spent all her life trying to figure out how she can get ahead in the world without giving away her power to everyone who will pay for it.

When Melaine has the opportunity to leave Stakeside for the palace of Highstrong Keep, she jumps at the chance. She has always wanted to meet the Overlord, who took over Centara as a young man and defeated the oppressors of the Luxian order. The Overlord isn't necessarily a benevolent king - there are many shades of gray surrounding his use of magic - but Melaine is desperate to do more with her life, and she's been obsessed with him since childhood. The Overlord has been losing his own powers, and Melaine can keep him going by giving him her lodestones. Melaine settles into a routine, but she's unsettled by the palace guards, the enigmatic prisoner in the jails below the castle, and the eyes that seem to watch her everywhere. What is the Overlord hiding, and can she truly escape from a life of trading her magic for survival?

This is a richly detailed book, with descriptions that will make the reader feel like they are there with Melaine. At first, the reader isn't sure if Melaine will ever make a human connection - she almost feels isolated. Although she has friends in Stakeside, she doesn't seem like she belongs there. This feeling, along with the questionable morals of pretty much everyone in the story, persists through the middle as Melaine searches for her purpose. As secrets are revealed, a wave of redemption rises. I don't want to say too much since I don't want to spoil anything - I'll just say that Melaine's entire character arc is perfectly plotted. For fans of dark and sometimes-quiet fantasies, this is an immersive read that ultimately brings hope.
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"Lodestone" is Katherine Forrister's debut novel, and if haunted castles, tormented heroes and dark magic are your cup of tea, then this is the right book for you. The story revolves around Melaine, our MC, who sells her magic in form of lodestones to make a living while trying to survive on the streets. She loathes not being able to use her magic for herself, and strongly believes she should be doing something "more" with the gift she was given. So she tries to get an audience with the infamous Overlord who conquered Centara with his ruthlessness and powerful magic. and who has been her idol since she was a child.  When Melaine finally gets to meet him, she realizes that something is off about the Overlord, but still, she accepts to make him lodestones in exchange of becoming his apprentice. Melaine isn't a conventional heroine, in fact living on the streets taught her to do anything it takes to survive, turning her into quite the dark character. That's why she admires so much the Overlord, even when everyone else shudders remembering the cruelty he showed while conquering the kingdom. As soon as Melaine meets him though, she is disappointed by his weak appearance and can't help but question the strenght of his magic too. It shows during their lessons, when she keeps on complaining sounding, in my opinion, ungrateful. The Overlord has, afterall, given her more than she had in her entire life: food, a home, the chance to become as powerful as she always wanted to be... and still, she doesn't seem to appreciate that, which is a pity because it really made her less likeable. I found myself appreciate her character more towards the end of the book, when she shed some of her selfishness. That said, I really liked the idea of the haunted castle, and the dark magic coupled with all the mystery and suspense, made me eager to keep reading to unreavel the many hidden secrets. Also, the Overlord was every bit the tormented hero I love to read about in a story, so he is definitely a character I appreciated. Aside from Melaine, who I couldn't seem to empathize with, I like the book and would recommend it to all dark fantasy romance lovers.
Many thanks to Netgalley and GenZ Publishing for this advanced readers copy.
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I received an advanced reader's copy of Lodestone by Katherine Forrister from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was the first book that I have read by Katherine Forrister and I was pleasantly surprised to find an enjoyable new author to follow.

Overall, I thought this was an engaging novel and I found it to be well-written. The protagonist, Melaine, was so well-crafted (she seemed like a real, normal sort of person - flawed, but not obnoxious). She was a strong female character who was smart, resourceful, and determined. She wanted better for herself and when the opportunity presented itself, she made it happen. 

In addition, the world building was solid and the plot was pretty evenly paced. 

All in all, a fun read and interesting new literary world to visit!
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Big thanks to Netgalley and Katherine Forrister for the ARC in exchange for a review. 

Melanie is a young woman who has survived the streets and slums by selling lodestones, crystals of magical power few people are able to produce. Her customers often try to take advantage of her and she has to use the small remaining power she is able to keep for her self to fend off the worst of them. Melanie wants better. Deserves Better. Is better than her surroundings the destitute life she lives. 
She decides they only way out is to become a follower of the Overlord. The man who took down the ruling King. 
Once in the presence of the Overlord, she realizes that all is not how it seems. The Overlord is a weak, dying man who, just like the customers on the filthy streets of her home, needs her lodestones to give him strength.  

Overall I'm giving this one 4 stars. I really liked Melanie's character. A strong woman, not allowing herself to be consumed by the life forced onto her. She had a goal and did what she needed to do to obtain it. I was not a fan of the Overlord. The entire time I was wondering which direction their relationship was going... and I still don't really know what their relationship was. He was 20+ years older than her (which, you do you, but this is such a thing in YA and maybe it shouldn't be) and half the time he seemed like a father figure, only to turn into a romantic figure. 

Decent read. I enjoyed it.
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Beauty and the Beast meets Howl's Moving Castle! This grabbed me pretty much right away and I plowed through it in one night. I was quite happy that "Beauty" had a lot more agency in her story: she gets to choose her path to the Beast. Overall, this is a haunted castle story with a plucky heroine and a Byronicly tortured hero. What more could you want? Recommended!
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The beginning of this really grabbed me as I had such empathy and admiration for Melaine . She’s instantly a character to cheer for because she’s a survivor and whilst perhaps not a heroine who knows how to take numbers so to speak she most definitely has backbone. Her life is in many ways a tragedy as she’s alone , selling her magical lodestones and just trying not to get killed. She lives in the dirtiest, poorest part of the kingdom and dreams of escaping past the gates into the part of the city that’s more affluent . Melaine is tired of draining herself, beyond tired of her dreary existence and decides to do something about it. Having always admired the mysterious Overlord who rules the kingdom all Melaine has to do is bribe an official to get her an audience but be careful what you wish for because sometimes there’s an even greater evil waiting out there !
I really enjoyed the magic here and there’s actually more than just the lodestones that people like Melaine can make. A lodestone is formed actually from the body and energy of the person and can be used to temporarily give another strength or speed for example. The much more insidious magic is when objects are imbued with a spell that seeps into the holder and can be temporary but even better can be something permanent such as the ability to hear things when not in the room. Of course magic comes at a price and Melaine is willing to do anything to learn even if it’s blood magic. Which is why she is willing to work for the Overlord who is feared because of his sorcery and experiments.
As much as I enjoyed the beginning once the Overlord comes into the picture the pace seemed to slow a little. Melaine is a curious sort, eager to discover whatever secrets she can but the chapters when she first goes to the Keep are definitely ones I struggled to imagine inside my head although admittedly she is quite literally in the dark at times so perhaps that explains it ! 
I will say this took a turn towards the end that I honestly couldn’t have predicted and it did soften my opinions of certain characters. Although I am still a little confused by the attraction between Malaine and the Overlord because unless I’m much mistaken there quite an age gap between them so eww ! There are certainly possibilities for more stories in this world because in spite of certain revelations we still know nothing about just where Melaine originally comes from so yes I’d very much like to read more from this author.  
This voluntary take is of a copy I requested from Netgalley and my thoughts and comments are honest and I believe fair
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