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BookHounds Review STONES TO ASHES by Kailin Gow

The Alchemists Academy Book 1: Stones to Ashes by Kailin Gow

What do you learn 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 save his world or to destroy it...

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Foster kid, Wirt inadvertently discovers he has magical ability when he is threatened by three boys with bodily harm and escapes when he disappears.  The only problem is that he doesn't really believe in magic, so when he lands in a giant tree house that is home to a magical academy.  The academy trains future magicians to help the rulers of all hundreds of worlds that overlap.  There he is admitted to the academy on scholarship and soon makes a home among the students. He makes fast friends with three:  Spencer, the smart, rich kid who takes him under his wing and the brilliant Alana, another scholarship student who is assigned to help Princess Priscilla rule in the future.  

These teens attend classes much like the ones in Hogwarts and have teachers that help them work through spells and transformations. As Wirt becomes used to the idea of magic, things start to go wrong at the school.  Magical items entrusted to the school are disappearing and with the finances there in disarray, the kids are set out to find a missing chalice that has mythical powers.  Their quest takes them through many obstacles and trails. Spencer makes Wirt realize that he has worth and that he is wanted at the school, something he has never felt before in all his foster homes.  

Alana also plays a part in welcoming Wirt and I can't wait to see where their relationship goes.  She is smart and witty.  Priscillia doesn't play that much of a role in this one but I can see her coming into her own.  I really enjoyed this one and I have been meaning to read something by Gow for awhile after meeting her at the Orange County Children's Book Fest.  I am sure that this one won't be my last.  Parents:  not much to worry about here and other than a kiss and not much violence, this should be alright for even the youngest teens.

Excerpt from Stones to Ashes

Wirt screwed his eyes shut, wishing fervently that he was somewhere, anywhere else. Right now, being back with Joan and Peter was looking an awful lot more appetizing. First, though, he had to find some way to get out of here…

Wirt doubled up as his stomach suddenly cramped. For a moment, he though he had been hit, but that hypothesis went by the wayside as the feeling spread to every muscle in his body at once. As far as Wirt knew, and thanks to some of his earlier misadventures he did know, not even three people could manage to hit you everywhere simultaneously. Wirt forced his eyes open, and then quickly shut them again, because the golden radiance surrounding him was simply too bright to look though. Around him, the gasps of the three bullies were clearly audible.

“He’s glowing, Rich. Why is he glowing?”

“How should I know? Look, just grab him.”

“You grab him. He could be radioactive or something, the way he’s glowing.”

“Oh, so it’s all right for me to grab radiation boy, is it?”

The sounds of a scuffle came to Wirt, but they were quickly replaced by silence. He didn’t really care, because by now the unpleasant sensation running through his body had reached unbearable levels, feeling as though every scrap of him were being pulled in a different direction.

As suddenly as it had come, the sensation passed. Wirt had to concentrate just to breathe, and he stood like that for long seconds. He didn’t dare open his eyes, at least until it occurred to him that the three older boys might still be there waiting to hit him. That made his eyes snap open so quickly that for a second he couldn’t make sense of anything around him. When he did, Wirt took a step back, and that itself was surprising enough, given that there should have been a chain link fence in the way. Instead, he was standing in the middle of a field, with no sign of any fences anywhere in sight.

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.



  1. It's always nice to hear of a new-to-me author.

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