ARC Review: Stone Guardian

Stone Guardian

Author: Danielle Monsch
Publisher: Romantic Geek Publishing
Date of Publication: July 15, 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. That is, until one day she walks out of her apartment only to be attacked by a mob of Zombies, but then is saved by a Gargoyle.

Leader of the Gargoyles, Terak has been watching over the human woman for months because of a cryptic prophecy. Gargoyles trust no one outside their Clan, but something about this woman stirs every protective instinct within him. When he realizes the danger to her is real, he refuses to allow her to explore this new world without him at her side.

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.

My Thoughts:

My sincerest apologies to Ms. Monsch. I couldn’t get this book loaded onto my Kindle reader and had to go onto a different source (using the Aldiko app), so kept forgetting about it. And then I truly got into the book and simply didn’t want to put this down. Though I may get struck down as a heretic for saying this, I’ve been a bit weary of the same old same old vampires and/or werewolves falling for humans and blah blah blah. Granted, this was still a matter of a male supernatural creature falling for a human (with a twist), but it was a gargoyle, and there’s no way you could just rip his wings off, give him a set of fangs, and poof, have a plausible story. No, Terak’s gargoyleness is very much important to making this story as good as it is. Kudos to Ms. Monsch for picking an almost unknown paranormal creature to star in this book.

First, the world building. Ms. Monsch put together a spectacular alternate reality in this, the first book in her Entwined Realms series. Twenty-six years ago, the Magic Realm and our Earth collided, meshing into one. Suddenly there were all sorts of fantastical creatures mixing with humans. On the surface, most have found ways of working together (or at least ignoring each other, as is the case in the city the heroine, Larissa, lives in her entire life).

Being chased by zombies, something the protective spell around the city shouldn’t have allowed, she is rescued by a creature of nightmares: a gargoyle! He sweeps her away for protection, but then takes her home on the promise that she allow him or those of his kind to guard her while they figure out why the zombies (and thus the zombie-masters, the vampires (who are what Necromancers ultimately become if they grow powerful enough)) want Larissa.

The mystery builds throughout the book, even as Terak and Larissa grow to admire and even love one another. The cross-species thing isn’t as much of an issue as it might have been, and I like how Ms. Monsch got around the problem.

There was a vast variety of secondary characters, ranging from werewolves and (obviously) gargoyles, to elves and vampires. And make no mistake, these aren’t nice vampires at all, though there is a rather nice, albeit with one heck of a case of psoriasis, zombie who helps reveal what’s going on in the city and around it.

I loved the ending, discovering just what made Larissa so special. I liked how true she was both to her love of Terak and her love of her family. Ms. Monsch does a great job setting up (without beating us over the head with it) the next book in the series, due out in early 2014. She raises quite a few questions in the last pages of the book, and I will wait eagerly, if unhappily, to get my chance to read it.

So, a total 5-star for this fabulous new paranormal romance author in my library! Thank you so very much for providing me the opportunity to read this book.

Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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