Redemption (Hearts of Stone #1) by Veronique Launier (Click for Goodreads)
Guillaume: For five hundred years I’ve existed as a gargoyle. Perched atop an old Montreal church, I’ve watched idly as humanity wanders by. With the witch Marguerite gone, there is no one left to protect, nothing to care about. I never planned to feel again. But then a girl released me from my stone restraints, allowing me to return as a seventeen-year-old human boy. I must find out all I can about this girl’s power . . .
Aude: Getting attacked twice in as many days is strange in itself, but even stranger is the intriguing guy I keep running into. There’s something so familiar about him, like a primal drum rhythm from my dreams. But spending time together only raises more question-about my heritage, a native Mohawk prophecy . . . and an unearthly magic threatening our city…
Yeah, you heard that right, this book is about GARGOYLES. Awesomesauce, right? Well, that was what I thought when I saw that there description on NetGalley and decided it could be the answer to my prayers for uniqueness. And you know what?
It kinda was.
Reading about something as new and exciting to me as gargoyles was amazing. I don’t know about you, but in a market saturated with vampires, angels and–coming soon!–mermaids, I just couldn’t take it anymore. (Trends bother me SO MUCH, but I digress.) Anyways. Launier has certainly done her homework in her world building. She sets it up, she lays it out and she’s got an answer for everything. There are no plot holes here. The magic is also pretty awesome, because you’re working with gargoyles, French witches and Native American shaman. I don’t know about you, but *I* have never seen that combination before. Yet somehow Launier manages to connect it all.
However, the new type of world also does this book a disservice. You see, it’s almost like Launier feels she needs to spend so much time setting up her world that … nothing else happens. Until the last fourth of the book (or less!) I was becoming more and more bored about the outpouring of exposition on the magic system, gargoyles and even the family history surrounding almost all of the major characters. I’m not an exposition type of girl. I like to be given answers, but I prefer they happen around the action, not the other way around. Yes, to be fair, there WAS other stuff going on around the exposition, but just not enough for me.
The characters also fell a little flat for me. There are four gargoyles, neither of which seemed to be very different from the others, and Aude’s best friends were rather stereotypical. Aude herself just frustrated me, especially when she proved unwilling for CHAPTERS to find out more about her strange powers and why people were attacking her. I’m sorry, but if people were after me and there was Mohawk chanting in my head, I’d want to know!
In the last fourth of the book, though, things HAPPENED–and I mean they HAPPENED. Multiple things HAPPENED. The problem I had was that they happened too quickly, and they felt mashed together. Some things just didn’t make sense, and–worse–a lot of them just kinda resolved themselves in a snap. There was so much potential in that section that I felt disappointed.
Don’t get me wrong: I adored this world. I even liked that I was able to immerse myself so far into it. But the exposition got to be a bit much, and wasn’t really carried off by interesting characters. The last part of the book had a ridiculous amount of things happening, but a few of them just seemed to resolve themselves abruptly. All and all, though, I’d be curious to read the next book (as it seems to be set up for). There cannot possibly any more exposition anywhere within this story unless they bring in a whole new round of characters, which means that there would just be STORY. Done right, Launier has a fantastic idea here with great potential. I could see a second book easily becoming a four star or more if she applies the energy from the last fourth of Redemption over the whole manuscript.