Title: Heart Of Stone
Series: Gargoyles series, #1
Author: Christine Warren
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication date: December 31st 2013
Page Count: 300 pages
Age Rating: Adult (explicit sexual scenes, violence, and mild gore)
How I got my hot little hands on it: Received an ARC to review
Publisher’s page: Heart Of Stone
From bestselling author Christine Warren comes a thrilling new series about a young woman caught between a rock and a hard place—between gargoyles and demons…
Ella Harrow is trying to carve out a normal life for herself. Well, as normal as an art geek with psychic abilities can hope for. As museum docent and gift-shop manager, Ella is able to keep her distance from people—and her powers in check—while surrounding herself with the artifacts she loves. But how on earth is she supposed to act normal when a thousand-year-old statue on the museum’s terrace suddenly comes to life?
Not your ordinary gargoyle, Kees has been asleep for eons, waiting for a portent of evil to wake him from his slumber. Kees isn’t a vision; he’s a bat-winged guardian created to protect the world from the seven demons of the Dark. Somehow, Ella triggered his reawakening. Maybe the demons have been unleashed? Maybe his heart is finally ready to be chiseled open? The fate of the world isn’t carved in stone… yet.
Heart of Stone is the first book in Christine Warren’s Gargoyle series which follows the pairing up of gargoyle Guardians and unusual young women as they battle demons and their dark forces.
Ella is unusual in that she has a scary amount of magic bottled up inside her (she is not psychic at all really, unless you use a very loose definition of the word, so I found the book’s description a bit misleading here). She doesn’t like to be around people since she’s scared she might accidental hurt them with a burst of energy, so she works as a museum docent (fancy word for tour guide and/or person who explains the exhibits to guests) and gift shop manager – both of which are jobs that would force her to be around people constantly so I fail to see the logic there (I mean, seriously, if you want to avoid people, never EVER go into retail! Gift shop hmmph).
Kees (rhymes with peace as Ella so helpfully explains to the readers), is a gargoyle, but don’t call him that, he prefers Guardian. He and seven of his brothers were summoned by the Guild of Wardens (mages) to protect the world from The Seven – big bad evil that come together to form The Darkness (SUPER evil big bad). Having no idea why he was awakened from his stone-like slumber, Kees drags Ella along as he tries to figure out what’s going on – and the journey to save the world from evil begins (also they fall in love and stuff 😉 )
With this book I found myself more interested in the whole “mages versus demons using Gargoyles as their super soldiers” plot than the characters. Ella in particular was pretty inconsistent. In the first few pages she’s meek and delicate, not even daring to really fight back when a man tries to force himself on her – this might be related to her not wanting to accidentally kill anyone with the energy she contains, but it made me think she was going to be a softer, more vulnerable character. Then she meets Kees, and after a minor freak out, she becomes sassy and sarcastic with him. I thought this new personality of hers might be a mask, but then they sleep together and the scene, told through her POV, is graphic and detailed, venturing into the almost crude in some parts, and I felt like I didn’t know this character at all – it just didn’t feel true to who she had been up until that point. And that was apparently some life-changing event, because after that Ella is more self-assured and she stands up for herself by being, not only sassy and sarcastic, but opinionated and stubborn (I like it her more like this anyway, so I was happy for the personality shift, but still.)
I enjoyed this book more in the second half as I was able to really get into the plot, so I would advise anyone who feels like giving up in the beginning to try sticking out a little longer. In the end we’re pretty much told who the next book will be about (Ella’s art restorer friend Felicity (Fil) located another Guardian gargoyle) and I can’t wait to read it, not only to follow the plotline through it, but because from what little we’ve seen of Fil, she seems like a character I’d like to get to know better.
In conclusion, not the most consistent of books, but still interesting and attention-holding enough that I plan to follow the series.
In Heart of Stone, Ella starts out almost saccharine in nature and then turns spicy and sassy as all get out, while Kees starts out hot, snappy, and unyielding and then turns sweet. Their sweet and spicy seesawing natures balance each other out and they end up making quite a good team – similar to how sugar and spice balance each other out and blend to make a yummy cup of coffee with CoffeeAM Sugar & Spice Cake Coffee.