Title: House of Stone
Author: Vaughn R. Demont
Cover Artist: unknown
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Welcome to the City, where gods run nightclubs, goblins hire out as mercs, sorcerers work their magic, the Fae hold court over every neighborhood…and humanity is blissfully ignorant of it all.
For minor Fae noble Richard Stone, life is going well. He has a decent fiefdom (okay, it’s a slum), a budding acting career (okay, so it’s porn), and one of only five magical swords in the City. An arranged marriage is barely a blip on his worry meter—until his family blade loses its magic. The shame of it puts his noble standing in jeopardy.
To regain his status, Richard needs help. Fortunately, his new bride is a sidhe knight and his servant Simaron has, er, his back. Together they embark on a quest to find the demon who slew his father, investigate a conspiracy that goes to the highest echelons of Fae nobility, and discover a secret family legacy that could ruin his House.
All while keeping up appearances to a society that demands perfection. And they say a noble’s life is easy…
So, on the surface, as you may be reading the blurb for this story, you may be thinking, “Porn actor? Swords? Pearl Jam? Fae?! Shyeah, right.” Just stop right there, don’t even do the eye roll. This story is not your fourth-cousin-thrice-removed’s ‘urban fantasty’. It is, in fact, a cleverly crafted piece of fiction.
Let’s get right to it: he calls him Sim, and he “punishes” Sim by having Sim call him Richard. We’d had a few really good laps up to this point in the book, but this truly gets us off to the races. This is when I felt a wee bit of… glee. Yes, ok? Glee. I felt glee. Don’t even look at me like that, it’s true and you’ll feel it, too. HA.
When you build your own world, especially one that is a mix of highly recognizable “our world” details and those of total fantasy, your rules must be strong, ironclad in their believability and consistency. Well done, author, well fucking done. Why is this important? Because if that all isn’t there, you don’t get the tension, the consequences, the relief and joy when resolutions come. You don’t feel that right to be protective of this story and the people who make up its constantly changing rippling patterns of life. HA.
As many of you know, I like surprises in my books, I love not knowing what’s going to happen, that the story is written so that I have very little chance of figuring things out much before any character does the same. This also goes for unexpected emotion from a story that is filled with fun, snark, sarcasm, sexy banter and glowing swordplay. Yup, I like me some surprises and I gots ‘em here. HA.
When I think about what must have been the flowchart for this book, the mind reels and embraces the giddy. And yet, it’s not overwhelming, like when you feel no hope of keeping it all straight. Somehow, someway, I could follow the lines, crazy curves and all. I both enjoyed the experience and felt a sense of accomplishment, not unlike our man Richard in a rare moment of victory and comprehension of the twisted nature of his City.
The surprises keep happening all the way through to the very end. There is one thing that we are not given, as a reward, and it would have been intense, incredible and indulgent perfection. All good, yeah? However, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but to have included it would have slowed down the story, lessened the tension that vibrates through everything. So, from an editing standpoint, it was the better choice, even if it “robbed” me of that pure pleasure that it would have been.
The writing style fits the story, I never felt a mismatch. The dialogue flows and never felt halting, nor did it ever remove me from the story. The point of view completely drew me in and kept me there, made me a part of the whole shebang. Very smart.
You know how when you get to the end of a story, and you think back to how and where it all began, and you can’t believe you got to experience all of this in the span of a few hours , by reading? Proper storytelling, people. Reading IS fundamental. That is this book. Despite my “I wuz rawbbed” moment, I honestly can’t think of anything that disappointed or felt out of place or wasn’t connected inside the story or made me tilt my head and think, “huh… ok…” or anything like that.
So, for me, I think I have to make this a five-star, would definitely re-read, almost a comfort read type book because it was that kind of reading adventure. Definitely a top read for 2014. I feel completely satisfied.
This review is based on a copy purchased by the reviewer independent of any review copies offered.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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