[Full disclosure: I know Anton Strout personally.]
Long time readers of my reviews might know that I often name-check Anton as the reason why I feel confident reviewing the works of people I know. I wasn’t that kind to his first novel.
Alchemystic is NOT Anton’s first novel. It shows.
There’s a good balance of action and humor, with just the right level of snarky asides to keep it from getting weighted down, but still feeling natural and compelling. The first third of the book sometimes slows a tiny bit for (very necessary) exposition, but then it gets moving at a breakneck pace that pulls you right with it. Anton’s clearly mastered the action-packed (yet quipping) urban fantasy genre, and it’s great fun to go along with the ride.