Heart of Stone by Christine Warren
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I requested this book because I don't think I had ever read a gargoyle paranormal romance before, and the idea intrigued me (and as you can see by the lovely man on the cover, he isn't always in gargoyle form). A few pages into the story, I was doubly intrigued because the story takes place in Vancouver, and I always love reading about places I know. I think Christine Warren really knows the area, because she mentions places like the Peace Arch, the Sunshine Coast, and Sechelt that a casual reader may not know.
As you can see, I gave the story 4 stars - I enjoyed the story, even if there were a few nitpicky things had me questioning things and pulling me away from the story. Warren has done a good job of building a conflict between the Guardians (the gargoyles)and the Seven Demons of the Dark, and I am looking forward to reading future books in this series - especially since it looks like she is keeping the story in Canada for the time being.
I had issues with Ella, the heroine of the story - to me, her personality was all over the place. I understand there is a certain amount of growth when she receives long-neglected training and she finds out her role in the conflict - but the evolution seemed jumpy. I wanted to like her - and when I liked her best was when she would get angry and snarky - but overall it fell short. Kees Livingston (Ha! I did like that pun!) seemed emotionally stunted - and I had to keep reminding myself it was because he didn't have emotions!
What distracted me the most from the story were unrealistic situations with Kees. At the beginning of the story, he saves Ella, and takes her to her home when she gives him her apartment address. Does he have GPS? He admits himself that he has been in his stone form for 65 years. Vancouver has changed a great deal in 65 years! He explains that his slumber is light and he hears things while asleep, but I can't accept that the snippets of conversation he hears while people walk by his statue who fill in all of these blanks. This is even confirmed later in the story when Kees and Ella are looking for the Guild in Paris - Ella considers just getting the street address but then admits to herself that "Cities, especially major ones, had changed over centuries."
I would recommend this story to people who like paranormal romances and perhaps are tiring of vampires and shifters. The gargoyles are a different path, and I am interested to learn more about where the Guardians come from, and how that connects to where the demons come from.
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