Monday, July 15, 2013

Review: Stone Guardian by Danielle Monsch


Title: Stone Guardian
Series: Entwined Realms, Book 1
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy

Release Date: 15 July 2013

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.

**Warning** Spoilers ahead!!
Pretty minor, but they do exist (all because I couldn't figure out how to make the spoiler function work just yet...I will get it yet.)

I requested this book because - Gargoyles, I mean c'mon! I love gargoyles. Granted, my love may have something to do with the cartoon that I loved to watch as a kid, but whatever. Still, Gargoyles, made me request this instantly.

I'm really glad I did. I expected smexy times with some paranormal thrown in; what I got was so much more than that. I was happily surprised by a story that took off running - with a bang! Almost literally. The story starts with the worlds colliding. The human realm and what comes to be known as the 'New Realm'. In the New Realm there is magic, beings of fantasy and myth, and a whole lot of trouble brewing. Earthquakes are shaking the world; orcs appear from nowhere decimating police forces, and there just might be a dragon flying around!

On this day, at this moment, Larissa Miller is born. Losing her mother to the chaos of complications during the Great Collision, Larissa has been protected and cossetted most of her life. Kept in the human-only city, away from all beings from the new realm; away from the ability to learn about them without guilt.

Terak is Mennak, leader, of his clan of Gargoyles. When he's told by the Oracle that a human female is important to the future of his Clan and she must be protected for three months, he takes the guarding somewhat begrudgingly. And just when he thinks it's all been for naught, zombies come shuffling out of the shadows to attack!

The world-building in this book was AWESOME. I loved all the different beings, to name a few: Orcs, Necromancers (who are vampires generally), controlling zombies; there are gargoyles (of course), mages, wizards, werewolves, warriors, trolls, giants, elves, wraiths, shadows and at least one oracle! I feel like I should be ending with "...and a partridge in a pear tree!!" I loved it. The really nice thing was that the world-building was smooth and intricate. So many creatures, and yet it wasn't haphazard. There were reasons, division, order to the chaos - though there was plenty of chaos too! We only get a glimpse of a lot of it, because Larissa is just getting involved, but what we do see is tantalizingly great.

Okay, here's where I've got to admit it: I didn't love Larissa at first. Well, I'm not sure if I love her yet - but I have come to like her a lot more than I did in the beginning. She started out incredibly passive, letting her father's disapproval determine how she was going to live her life...as an adult. Eh, I just wasn't into that. And there were reasons - I get that, I still didn't love it. Added to the top of that she let herself believe in the absoluteness of the guards that supposedly kept out the magical beings. She's forced to realize her mistake when she's suddenly attacked by beings she doesn't recognize which shouldn't be there. On the other hand, the nice thing is that she does realize it [[spoiler]]unlike many other characters I could name[[/spoiler]]. She learns; and I've got to respect that. [[spoiler]] here is that one moment where I wanted to scream at her near the end, but I understood too. *sigh* Trust, baby, trust.[[/spoiler]] I was still rooting for her by the end of the book. Not only was she being smart, she was being brave and strong; I can see the potential in her for a lot more.

Terak was pretty awesome. He's protective and possessive, but he doesn't need to have Larissa under his thumb. Not only that, but he constantly shows her, and tells her, how great she is. He builds her up so she can stand on her own. Not only with him, but all the time. Unfortunately, though he's beginning to love Larissa there are ... obstacles. [[spoiler]]And I have to admit I'm not a huge fan of how the biggest obstacle was removed. [[spoiler]] ust the other woman always be conniving, lying, cheating, or a traitor??[[/spoiler]][[/spoiler]] But the gradual way they fell in love tugged at my heart. I liked seeing them become friends - respect each other, and see it gradually become more to both their notice. *sighs happily* Did I mention he's a virgin? Yup, he is.

This book flat out made me smile, laugh, gasp and be shocked throughout my reading of it. The action was nearly non-stop; the characters had great chemistry with each other; quite frankly, I need more. More of the world, more of the characters, and definitely more Fallon... [[spoiler]] his woman kicks ass chops them up with her big-ass sword and thinks about coming back for names later. I *love* her.[[/spoiler]]

I was going to mention the few issues while reading, but I'm not sure I want to bring them up. Eh. Okay here's a spoiler with them: [[spoiler]] Disclaimer: I'm hooked on grammar. I can't help it, I love the English language and these kinds of things just stand out to me. I notice them in my favorite author's books too. And there were some very minor grammar and editing issues here. A few times I'd have to read a sentence a couple of times to figure the meaning; sometimes there was a wrong word used in place of another (homonym mix-ups). But even though grammar is one of my hot-button issues, I couldn't hold it against this book. I just flat out enjoyed it. I did want to add because it did pull me out of the story a few times, but in the end it just didn't matter that much.[[/spoiler]]

Long story short: I can't wait to see what Danielle Monsch has in store next!! [[spoiler]]Please let it be Fallon's book - I need it!!![[/spoiler]]

Grade: B

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