I had a very difficult time pushing through the first quarter of this book. I almost put it down a few times, but I powered through, hoping it would deliver on the promise of its premise. The book is about a gargoyle who serves as a secret guardian to a witch on a mission to fight demons and save her brother. Noir has no idea that Vincent exists, and even if she did, he is forbidden to ever touch her. So he worships her from a distance and has devoted himself to serving as her protector. I loved the sound of this, so I at least wanted to give the story a chance to get to the good stuff. I’m glad I did, because it definitely got better.
My biggest problem with the first several chapters was that they jumped around in time and in different POVs. I wanted to get the part where Noir and Vincent meet and form a connection. But it kept jumping over to a side story with an angel named Kara and a demon named Ash. It would go a few days in the future, then back and forth in time. It felt disjointed. Not only did I not know what was going on, I didn’t care and I didn’t particularly like the characters involved in the b-plot.
Thankfully, the book takes a positive turn when the story becomes more linear. And as more of the plot was revealed, I came to understand why all that time jumping was relevant. So if you can get past, say, the 25% point, expect the sexual tension and angsty goodness to follow.
Vincent is exactly the character I hoped he would be. He is strong, loyal, sexy, and a virgin too. His devotion and yearning for Noir are the best things the book has going for it. I enjoyed watching these two come together, both sexually and romantically. Noir is… ok. At times, she was a little bit of a caricature of an angry tough chick on a mission, stemming from a Really Bad Thing in her past. The fact that she could read Vincent’s thoughts kind of made things a bit convenient in their relationship development, but it didn’t bother me overly much.
I did grow more interested in Ash over the course of the book, but Kara never grew on me the same way. For an angel who was centuries old, she was very immature and came off like an NA heroine. The backstory with this storyline felt unnecessarily convoluted, but the romance ended up tying in well with the main arc.
The English version of this book is a translation and there were times I really felt this. Sometimes the flow was a little stilted or the vernacular, a bit off. But it wasn’t a constant problem, just one I noticed here and there. Another small bother was the fact that there were times I felt like their were allusions to other books out there involving the secondary characters, particularly Mangus. Clearly, there is more story to this guy, but this is the first book in the series, so I don’t know what’s up with that.
So, bottom line… it took me a while to get into this one, but I eventually did. I liked concept and the main romance. But my other issues did detract some from my overall enjoyment of the book.
*ARC provided by author for review
Click to purchase: Amazon
Hearts of Stone
by Inka Loreen Minden
Re-Release Date: February 16, 2015