Published by Skyscape on February 24, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal
Format: ARC, Kindle Edition
Source: Review Copy
Gargoyles were created centuries ago to protect mankind, but something went horribly wrong. Now only the sentinel—a mortal chosen to control the stone beasts—stands between them and their human prey.
When the latest sentinel is killed, Kate Mercer is destined to take his place. But Kate has enough going on in her life—like a skyrocketing film career, a delusional ex-boyfriend, and a crazed stalker who will stop at nothing to get to her. But the powers that be have decided, and Kate is transported to Shadow Wood, a mysterious castle that serves as a sanctuary for the supernatural. Although beautiful, Shadow Wood is no safe place for a mere mortal. Yet Kate is drawn not only to the gargoyles but also to Ian McGuire, a charming novelist who might be in the greatest danger of all.
As Kate decides whether to accept the most perilous role of her life, she discovers there are more secrets than answers within the castle’s walls.
Her survival and Ian’s depend on her ability to master the gargoyles before time runs out. Is fate really cast in stone?
Does anyone remember the old Gargoyles cartoon from the ’90s. Big bat creatures running around at night in loincloths and turning to stone by the first rays of the rising sun. A girl who befriends them and tries to help them protect and watch over a city. Remember how awesome those gargoyles seemed?
Michelle Muto’s Of Shadow and Stone is nothing like the cartoon, and I have never been more pleased. Instead, her gargoyles are strange, far-from-heroic creatures that need to be controlled by someone named the sentinel before that bring forth chaos on humanity. In an odd twist of morality, the stone creatures seek violent justice on any who they deem evil, from horribly-behaved teens to purse snatchers and identity thieves.
But the gargoyles aren’t the real monsters of the story. And neither are the werewolves, warlocks or God of the Netherworld, Declan. Instead, it’s the humans who prove to be the most lethal of them all. Because as paranormal-heavy as Of Shadow and Stone is, Kate faces more of a threat from her obsessed ex and crazed stalker than any of the supernatural creatures she encounters. The last several chapters find Kate back in Vancouver and are jam-packed with action, murder, narrow escapes and (naturally) a little bit of romance.
In the beginning, Muto’s storytelling is a bit confusing. And it doesn’t start to clear itself up much until about halfway through the novel, when answers to questions you didn’t even know you had start to get answered. But the confusion and frustration you feel in the beginning is worth pushing through to the end. Am I saying Of Shadow and Stone is going to become a great American classic? No. But is it worth your time? Heck yes! The characters are interesting (a few are creepy) and they each have traits that warrant some devotion and interest. (Ian, the Stephen King-esque writer and love interest of Kate, is suitably adorable and totally makes my list of book boyfriends.)
If you’re not a big fan of gory descriptions, there are parts of this book that are probably not for you, but it’s not anything so graphic that I would throw a blinking warning label on it. This imagery is nothing you wouldn’t see after the hour of 10 p.m. on a network station. And there are some moments that are very description heavy and can get a little much, especially when you’re right in the middle of a particularly action-heavy moment in the book, but there are moments where the description helps to intensify the creep-factor of a particular character and in those moments I LOVED it.
All in all, Muto’s Of Shadow and Stone is going firmly going in my “would recommend” pile. It’s the perfect read for a snowy, winter day so grab your copy on Feb. 24!