by Michelle Muto
Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for a chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Publish date: February 24th 2015
‘”When I die, they might as well put ‘I’m not here right now’ on my headstone,” Ian added. “Because without a body to tie me down, traveling would be a lot easier.”‘ Loc 354
Title: Of Shadow and Stone
Author: Michelle Muto
Publisher: Amazon Publishing
Book: Currently no series notes
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: 3 Voodoos
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?
I have such mixed feelings about Of Shadow and Stone. I was so happy when I started this. The attention to detail was great. It made it easy to imagine all the creepiness of Shadow Wood and it’s inhabitants even though the exact nature of the supernatural beings were only revealed as the two main characters discovered it. Unfortunately a lot of this involved them being told by either Declan (the Netherworld King) or being shown. There was no real curiosity shown from either Kate or Ian. They didn’t hunt out the information, they seemed to carry on with their normal lives, Kate as an actor and Ian as a writer, and when they found out something they appeared startled but then just carried on like before.
Sadly, as the novel continued (notice I don’t say progressed) the detailed descriptions seemed to take over from the storyline, and started to drain my early enthusiasm. There was just sooo much detail! Yes, I like to see detailed descriptions in Fantasy novels but this took it to a completely different level! I found myself starting to skim some of the paragraphs just to get the story moving. There were silly details about the colour of werewolves eyes having golden flecks in them and what the exact colour and shape of clothing a magic cupboard would produce for Kate and Ian or the exact position of each curl on her head! I started to get so frustrated.I liked Kate and Ian as characters but the more detailing that was thrown in the more I began to lose them within the paraphernalia, causing my feeling about them to be dulled. By the end, I didn’t really care anymore.
I think, what I wanted to read about was how she learnt to control the gargoyles and why she needed to.I wanted more about Declan and his role as Netherworld King, or even a better development of the romance that suddenly appeared between Kate and Ian. (I can only think that this was Love At First Sight or some kind of blood-line magic cos I just didn’t see this relationship spark). In the end, what I got, was a lot of unnecessary detail and an ending that felt improvised, tagged into the last 15-20%. I was a little miffed by this because it wasn’t really to do with the fantasy aspect of the storyline but about the celebrity status side of it.
This novel just didn’t seem balanced to me but I see great potential in Michelle Muto’s writing as she does have a good eye for details. I would just prefer to see her reduce and concentrate her talent, to make it more effective.