Review: Act One: Safe Travels (For Whom the Heart Stone Burns, #1)

Becket built his life around unbelief in the magic Theo, his uncle and guardian, had devoted his all to…until Theo vanished. Grief-stricken, Becket followed Theo’s clues, sending him through a stone grid to Ket. With no magical ability, Becket must find Theo in a land where dragons roam the lowlands and magic evolved in men and women who aren’t apex predators and have settled in high aeries to survive.

Locating his uncle, however, is the easy part. Becket is a bibelot – non-magical. And Theo is recovering from a wild magic storm that hit his expedition to the lowlands. He can’t control his power.

They can’t go home.

Elders will permit a second expedition and Theo’s sole hope of obtaining frequency stone to stabilize his magic, but only if he allows seers to scry Becket’s sentinel first. Too bad the protector scried for Becket is Theo’s rival in this strange otherworld, another caster named Kellan Fik. And Kellan knows Theo and Becket aren’t what they seem.

Handfasting his enemy may be Becket’s best and only chance.

First off, let me say, this isn't going to be for everyone. This would appeal best for lovers of high fantasy, not receiving instant gratification and maybe an appreciation for stones. Healing stones and herbal medicines and "woo-woo" aka magic to be exact.

Now Kari Gregg aka The Gregg is legendary for grabbing the reader by the short hairs and dragging them into whatever world she created. She gives barely any time to acclimate yourself to what's going on because something is about to go down, damn it! And I love that about her writing. Some one usually gets the short end of the stick and its so yummy, you end up not caring as long as you get to read more. Her fans are used to this because she gives you just enough to get by and its over. Sometimes the story is too short and you want more and more of the world she created, more and more of the characters you've come to care for.

Well, Gregg fans, you might be satisfied with "Safe Travels". You can tell this is going to be a longer journey than a hundred pages. This book is just the first part of a series where the magic and tinctures and stones are detailed. And there's no rough and tumble action either. That's right, the book is sex free! I'm sure this is only for now.

Becket is twenty-three and a ginger orphan with quite a mouth on him. He is snarky and angry and all alone int he world even though something tells him he is not. The massage therapist/aromatherapist has one family member who is his total opposite. Becket is practical, his uncle Theo believes in all things magical. Becket raised himself while his uncle went off on cockamamie searches for more stones and magical power. but he always came back. Uncle Theo has been missing for months and Becket is worried. So worried that he leaves Maryland and travels to his uncle's house in Pennsylvania to look for him. He finds clues and a way to possible travel to his uncle in a different world, the magical land of Ket.

Becket doesn't believe it but he somehow manages to land in the fantasy world where everyone has and uses magic...except for him. He's a bibelot, non magical, and he's considered precious. So precious he must be handfasted (married) to a sentinel (magic warrior) to protect him. And since he's approaching the age of twenty-four, this needs to happen ASAP, whether he wants it or not.

We get to see Ket through Becket's eyes, encounter his fears. His uncle Theo is not too happy to see him but offers Becket to the enemy named Kellan, for a chance to find the right magic to return to Earth. We only get to meet the enemy in the last 5% or so of the novella.

Act One is basically world set up, character introductions and setting the stage for the main event which seems to be Becket vs. the alluring and dangerous Kellan. Becket can't seem to keep his mouth shut, proving he is not from that world and putting him and his uncle is possible danger. Not everyone seems to be the way they seem. You don't know who to trust, who has Becket's interests at heart especially since he has no knowledge of anything magical.

I like the set up, I see a possible world of hurt in the future for Becket if he doesn't play his cards right. And his reaction to Kellan when they finally meet was hot and intriguing. I'm definitely ready for more of this world and Becket. I gravitate to characters like him. He might not be the strongest and has the least knowledge about Ket and the political machinations that seem be underfoot but he's plucky.

I don't know if I should trust uncle Theo yet. He loves Becket but I don't know what Kellan has in store for Becket. And the minder, Toreth, the first person Becket encounters in Ket, I'd love to know more about him. I wonder if he'll turn. I thought he was going to be paired with Becket. I don't know if I should hold out hope for a threesome.  The story ends with a cliffhanger or sorts, it's part of a serial/series. I can see the amount of research that went into this and appreciate it. Once completed, this has the possibility of being a very rich tale.

What I'd like in future chapters:

- More Kellan/Becket (preferably sans pants)
- More on Toreth
- More of the world of Ket - the mountain and stone society is pretty cool. Hoping to see the mentioned dragons!
- Maybe Becket getting to one up everyone and prove bibelot doesn't equal weakness.

I usually don't like tying myself to serial/ series lately but this one is shaping up to satisfy my fantasy loving self immensely.
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  1. Woo-woo stuff is really not my thing.......but The Gregg is. With The Cox series finishing soon, I'm already looking for another series and I think I may have just found it 😃

    1. I'm not as into woo-woo as I'm into elves but it's different and looking to be a kick ass series/serial. :D