Review: Heart of Stone by C. E. Murphy ★★★★

Heart of Stone by C. E. Murphy
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Negotiator trilogy #1
Publication Date: 2007
ISBN: 0373802927
Page Count: 438
Rating: ★★★1/2
Review Copy: Audiobook
Synopsis: WHAT SECRETS LIE SHROUDED IN DARKNESS? 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.?

REVIEW


I wasn't really sure what to expect from this book as the Negotiator trilogy isn't one that I hear mentioned very often in my book reading circles in comparison to her more popular Walker Papers series. So I was a bit nervous about starting it; wondering if the reason there was no buzz was simply because it wasn't very good. But I have to say that while the book didn't blow my mind, I definitely did enjoy it for the most part. I particularly enjoyed the audiobook narration (so that may have earned it an extra half star) and I do plan to continue the trilogy.

However, it's not without few problems. Firstly, it starts out with one of our main characters, Alban, stalking our heroine through Central Park. Something he has done for the last three years! Immediately this made all sorts of warning bells go off in my head. But then I thought, hang on a tick, this is C. E. Murphy we're talking about, and it seemed unlikely from what I've read of her other work that she would go for anything as insipid as insta-love with some weird stalker dude. So I kept reading, and yes, Alban has been keeping a protective eye on our heroine, Margarit Knight, because she has a habit of being needlessly reckless—running through Central Park alone late at night. So it's done with the noblest of intentions, and I quickly forgave him his stalker-like tendencies. In fact, Alban ended up being my favourite character and the highlight of the whole thing.

It was quite a long book and somewhat slow-moving at times, without ever becoming completely uneventful. But there are long stretches in-between those events and scenes that I felt were unnecessarily long and, dare I say it, dull. Mostly, it was the times when we were left alone with just Margarit narrating for us with no Alban or any other interesting characters to play off, because unfortunately, out of the whole cast of characters, Margarit, the protagonist, was my least favourite. Not that I developed any kind of profound dislike for her or anything, but she was just very ordinary; 100% average Homosapien (and a lawyer to boot) and I could never fully accept how she managed to get herself so quickly enmeshed in the supernatural world and how no one just dealt with the problem of her discovery by snapping her like a twig. I realise she has a way of getting around people using her lawyerly skills, (this is where the negotiator bit comes in) but I'm just not sure I ever fully bought that idea. It seemed just a bit incongruous to me.

What I did love, however, (aside from Alban) was that Murphy, as in her other series, took the road less travelled when it came to which supernatural species' to focus on. Instead of vamps and werewolves we got Gargoyles, Selkies, Dragons, Djinn and...oh yeah there was a vampire. My bad. But he's not the focus of the book so it's okay!

So, to sum up, it was a good read, a really good audiobook experience, and with a few reservations I am heading on to the next book, because I want to finish Alban's story out and I'm hoping Margrit will grow on me.

3.5 Stars ★★★1/2

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