Monday, April 23, 2012

Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge: Heart of Stone by C.E Murphy

The Particulars:  Urban Fantasy, Luna, available in print and as e-book
The Source: The Bookshelf
The Grade: B-

The Blurb: 

Okay, so jogging through Central Park after midnight wasn't a bright idea. But Margrit Knight never thought she'd encounter a dark new world filled with magical beings--not to mention a dying woman and a mysterious stranger with blood on his hands. Her logical, lawyer instincts told her it couldn't all be real-- but she could hardly deny what she'd seen and touched. 

The mystery man, Alban, was a gargoyle. One of the fabled Old Races who had hidden their existence for centuries. Now he was a murder suspect, and he needed Margrit's help to take the heat off him and find the real killer. And as the dead pile up, it's a race against the sunrise to clear Alban's name and keep them both alive.

The Review:

It has been years since I read this one the first time, and before this I would have said it was on my Keeper shelf, but now I am not so sure.

First, I love the world of Old Races. The races feels fresh and unusual, even the standard fantasy races like Dragons and Vampires.  I loved that each of the races represented an element.  But everything isn't perfect among the longlived Old Races.  They live their lives in the shadows, avoiding discovery by humans. 

It is a delicate balance, and Alban's decision to approach Margit disturbs it.
Soon, Margrit juggles her normal workload, her quest for Alban's innocence and  an suspicious cop boyfriend.  I loved how everything slowly dragged Margrit into the world of the Old Races.   
How it all felt connected, but I admired Margrit for her courage and her sense of justice.  She butted heads with  Dragons and Vampires, refusing to show any fear.  
She ignored the grumbles of her boyfriend, that they yet again is on differing sides of a case. Add in the fact that her lover is a cop, and that she is spending a lot of time with a suspected murderer. .   I am amazed that she managed it.  (No, honestly. I would have collapsed, but maybe it is something they teach you in law school. ) 

Despite the fast paced plot, what made the book for me were the characters.  Margit has core of honor that pulls at her through the book. She is sharp, and bargains with powerful men. And, as the plot races on she really wants to tell her roommates, not to mention boyfriend, what is going on.
Alban... His soul is battered, but  being around Margrit is pulling him back into the Old Races from his exile.  I loved how Alban's past were a red thread in the book, and how smoothly it was woven into the plot.

The romantic subplot was bittersweet, since both of them knew that they couldn't happen.  

So, what I didn’t like with this book. Despite the intriguing world and plot, there were an invisible barrier that stopped me from sinking into the book.  It might have been the fact that I decided to read it with the intent of reviewing it.

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