Stone Guardian ~ Danielle Monsch

  • Title: Stone Guardian
  • Author: Danielle Monsch
  • Series: Entwined Realms #1
  • Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
  • Format: ebook
  • Source: Review copy
  • Reviewed by: DarthVal
  • Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Description:  Gryphons flying past skyscrapers? Wizards battling it out in coffeehouses? Women riding motorcycles with large swords strapped to their backs? All normal sights since the Great Collision happened twenty-six years ago.

Well, not normal for everyone. Larissa Miller may have been born after the Great Collision, but as a history teacher who lives in the human-only city, she has never come into contact with any other race or species, nor has she wanted to. Her life is as ordinary as it gets – that is, until one day she walks out of her apartment and is attacked by a mob of Zombies, only to be saved by a Gargoyle.

Gargoyles trust no one outside their Clan, but due to a cryptic prophecy, Terak, Leader of the Gargoyles, has been watching over the human woman for months. While he can find no reason why the woman has been singled out, something about her stirs every protective instinct within him. When the attack confirms that the threats against her exist and are real, he convinces Larissa that though their races have never been allies, the best chance of discovering why she has been brought into his world is by working together.

In the course of their investigation Terak becomes entranced by his little human. But when he discovers why Necromancers want her and the great reward that awaits him if he betrays her, he must choose between the welfare of his Clan and not only Larissa’s life, but the fate of this New Realm as well.

Review may contain spoilers.

Review:  I was very intrigued by the concept of a gargoyle hero. I read a LOT of urban fantasy (if you haven’t noticed by following my reviews) and I was eagerly anticipating the prospect of new mythology. The further I read, the more my excitement dimmed, as it revealed that the story was not well executed.

The concept of the world was great. Two realms (dimensions) collided, leaving the inhabitants of both realms struggling to find balance. Larissa found herself the target of attacks from magical creatures, the kind from which she had been sheltered her whole life. Terak, the leader of the gargoyle clans, stepped in to protect her based on advice from the Oracle. Of course, they found themselves drawn to one another as they fought to keep Larissa safe.

Let me start with Larissa. I didn’t really care for this heroine at all. The big tough gargoyle kept saying that she was brave, but I couldn’t see it. Yes, she was soft and pretty and different from gargoyles. I get the fascination. However, she was also meek in the face of danger and made stupid decisions as a matter of habit. I did like Terak, but I felt he would have found Fallon, a warrior character, to be a much better companion. Beyond the obvious physical attraction between Larissa and Terak, there was not a whole going on in this romance. The author TOLD kept telling us that there were feelings developing between them, but never really demonstrated a basis for those feelings.

The magic system itself wasn’t bad. Heck, it was Dungeons & Dragons 101, hard to fault that. It was just not overly original. The plot also played out very much like a D&D campaign; skirmish, win, regroup, skirmish with a higher foe class, win, regroup, rinse, lather repeat. It is fun when PLAYING D&D, but slightly less fun to read.

*WARNING: The following paragraph contains a MAJOR SPOILER. Turn back now, or risk a major plot reveal.*

The biggest flaw with this book is that Ms. Monsch violated her own rules of world-building. I hate inconsistent mythology. The reason Larissa is being targeted is for ability as a null (one who can cancel magical effects, for those less dorky than myself). That can be a useful quality, but wait, didn’t the battle mage cast a protection spell around her early in the book? Why, yes, the author remembers, explaining that her null power requires direct contact. I got it, except, why then does the null power render the battle mage useless later in the book. Surely she could target her magic upon other villains? This was just plain sloppy.

*END of SPOILERS*

It wasn’t a waste to read this book, after all, I get credit for a gargoyle book in an urban fantasy reading challenge. (Do you know how hard it is to find UF with gargoyles???) As for the book, the concept itself has promise. What this author needs is a really good editor to help her polish and refine her work. Until then, I’m just in it for the gargoyles.

*Disclaimer: A free copy of this book was provided to me for review by the publisher through the Net Galley program.

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