Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Book Review: Redemption

Redemption (Hearts of Stone #1)
Published By: Flux
Publication Date: September 8, 2012
Page Count: 360
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Young Adult - Paranormal

I was so excited going into this one; it sounded like such a creative idea. Witches, Gargoyles, and a Native American prophecy equal a lot of potential in my mind. I have long been compelled by a well done witch tale and I have to give Veronique Launier bonus points for making her witches different from the traditional ones. Her variety wield essence rather than spells. In addition, I don't think I've ever read a YA book (that doesn't mean they don't exist out there somewhere) that featured Gargoyles as main characters. Finally, after living in the Pacific Northwest for two years and teaching Native students, I am drawn to anything with Native lore (fictional or otherwise) attached to the plot. There aren't many stories which feature Native characters so I'm always excited to find a novel that uses a rich tribal culture. There was so much potential for this to become one of my favorites of 2012, but sadly it missed the mark.

One of my biggest complaints with this one is the pacing. Some trivial moments seemed to drag on forever while really crucial components happened in the blink of an eye. From a reader's standpoint, this was frustrating and really kept me from enjoying the story more. Knowing that this is Launier's first novel gives me hope that the future books in the series will be a bit more polished in this regard. 

While I found the lore in this book to be fascinating and unlike anything else I have ever read, I was disappointed that releasing this information occurred in info dumps instead of more gradually. Characters would sit down to have conversations and just say everything. Some readers might enjoy this sort of thing, but I prefer to learn the lore behind stories in a more authentic way. I did feel like this started to happen some with the introduction of the journal, but it was a bit too little too late.

My last major issue concerned some inconsistencies in the text. Keep in mind I was reading an ARC - so perhaps these issues will be resolved before the book comes out in final print next month. One major example of this is when Guillaume leaves Aude alone in a graveyard in the middle of the night after he's spent virtually the entire novel talking about how important it is that she be protected. It made no sense to me. There were also other little moments like that from time to time that just made me shake my head. There were also a few instances where things didn't seem to be connected in logical ways. 

Another minor thing that really irked me is that Aude is obsessed with chai (as am I) but she kept calling it coffee when it is NOT coffee - it is a type of tea.

In spite of my criticisms, I did enjoy this one. It was refreshing to see something enter the YA paranormal realm that felt new and exciting. I loved the Gargoyles and the prophecy. There is so much potential lurking here and I would certainly encourage YA paranormal junkies to dive into this one. 

My reaction to this book was in part due to the fact that I had such high expectations. I think if I had known what pitfalls to expect, I would have appreciated the reading experience more. It is obvious how much creativity and research went into this book. I just wish the execution had been a little smoother.


One Last Gripe: Some of the dialogue didn't sound realistic.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: The connection between the witches and gargoyles

First Sentence: Humanity wondered by, the way it always had.

Favorite Character: Aude

Least Favorite Character: Stan



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 questions--about my heritage, a native Mohawk prophecy . . . and an unearthly magic threatening our city..

4 comments:

  1. I really liked this book as well! I got an arc off of netgalley. :)

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  2. I think I will have to check this one out. It definitely sounds unique in today's world of YA, so that is about 1 1/2 stars in its favor right off the bat. The cover rocks, too!
    I don't know if you have read anything by Sarah Beth Durst, but one of her books, Enchanted Ivy, deals with Gargoyles. And, it is awesome. I adored that book. It's a standalone, too! Woohoo! If you haven't read it yet, check it out. Here is a link to the authors website: http://www.sarahbethdurst.com/EnchantedIvy.htm

    Thanks for the review!

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    Replies
    1. I have not read any of Sarah Beth Durst's work, but I just added Enchanted Ivy to my Kindle wishlist. Thanks so much for the recommendation! I really enjoyed the gargoyle aspect of this one so I was excited to see you mention another book featuring gargoyles.

      I also really like the cover of this one too!

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