Monday, February 1, 2016

Audiobook Review: Stone Guardian by Danielle Monsch

Stone Guardian 
by Danielle Monsch
Series:  Entwined Realms #1
Pub. Date:  Nov. 19, 2013
Publisher:  Tantor Audio
Narrator:  Tavia Gilbert
Length:  9 hrs 57 min
Format:  Audiobook
Source:  Audible
Challenges:  New to You

My Rating:  
Sultry Scale:

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. 

My friend Deanna is a gargoyle junkie. She loves reading about gargoyles, and even ordered several for her yard. So she got me intrigued into the idea of gargoyles as main characters... plus I loved the gargoyle secondary characters in Kim Harrison's Hollows series. I was surprised though when I started the audiobook and I was hit with orcs, werewolves, vampires, dragons, and a whole slew of paranormal characters. Rock on - I love the paranormal world. So I think this series is not focusing solely on the gargoyle clans, but will have a little bit of each species as main characters and romantic interests.

Our heroine is Larissa Miller, a human female who was born during an earthquake in which the magic and human realms became entwined. We see the heartbreaking story of Larissa's father, a law enforcement officer, losing his beloved wife in childbirth. Then we jump ahead more than 20 years to when Larissa is an adult and living on her own, but is still very protected by her father and four brothers. Actually, she has been more than protected, she has been sheltered to the extent that she is nearly ignorant about the other realms and all the paranormal creatures now co-existing in her society. This becomes a detriment to Larissa when, for some unknown reason, she is targeted by a group of paras and is starts undergoing attacks by zombies, orcs and the like.

But an oracle has told our hero, Terak, that the human Larissa will be very important to the future of his gargoyle clan. So Terak has been watching over Larissa and is able to intervene to save her during these attacks. He must get Larissa to accept his protection and discover why she is the focus of this plot. The protection detail obviously brings the pair closer together, but Terak fights his feelings for a good portion of the book. It's not quite a forbidden romance... but more like Terak is trying to follow his clan traditions rather than go with what his heart wants.

I liked Terak - he was a stoic and honorable lead who was all about the good of his clan. He was a tad broody and alpha (always good), but he wasn't a lady killer with a wide swath of broken hearts in his wake. And you don't have to worry about those sexytime skills, for all his virginity, he has read lots of useful books! Larissa was an okay heroine for me, she was a bit too passive for my taste but she wasn't overly annoying. I am not a big fan of willful ignorance, and she definitely had her head stuck in the sand, blindly oblivious to the world around her. It was liked she lived in a bubble created by her father and brothers. She also had one big TSTL moment where I was literally yelling at her. But the romance between Terak and Larissa was sweet and built at a good pace. I hope they continue to appear in future books so we know what happens in their future relationship.

The world building was quite nice and I look forward to more stories in the New Realm. I think that if I would have had more time to dedicate to the audiobook, I would have enjoyed it more. As it was, I was listening for about an hour at a time over the course of a week. This made it hard for me to stay "in" the story, if you know what I mean. So that's no fault of the narrator or author, but more my inability to give this one my undivided attention.

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Entwined Realms