May 30, 2015

Review: A Dream of Stone & Shadow by Marjorie M. Liu

2015 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge

I've read a bunch of books this year, and I'm finally getting around to writing reviews for the "witchy" ones I've been reading.

Here's my first review for the 2015 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge!  This book involves an evil witch who eats gargoyles.

FYI: Minor spoilers ahead.  Also, this book (and consequently and my review) are NSFW!

A Dream of Stone & Shadow (Dirk & Steele, #4)A Dream of Stone & Shadow by Marjorie M. Liu
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book started off with a very interesting premise, but it fails spectacularly in execution.

In the story, there are 3 separate lives intertwined:

- Charlie, a gargoyle, who with his 3 brothers is held captive by an evil gargoyle-eating witch.  (Apparently gargoyles in this universe have massively-good regenerative powers.)  Every time he "dies" he can travel about as a ghost until his body regenerates.

- Emma, a young girl held captive by a pair of twisted-as-fuck humans for the purposes of child pornography (thankfully, not described in much detail).  Charlie visits her regularly in ghost form to protect her as best he can.

- Aggie, a psychic woman working for a supernatural-esque detective agency (Dirk & Steel), who can interact with Charlie better than most because of her clairvoyance.

So Charlie and Aggie work together to free the young girl. That part was okay to read. The concepts about what gargoyles are, how Aggie uses her psychic powers to fight crime, etc. were also just creative enough to be interesting.

The witch was also pretty creepy.  I mean, through sheer magick she's holding four powerful gargoyles prisoner just so she can slice and dice them over and over, so she and her witch friends can eat them.  She turned Charlie's 3 brothers to stone because they wouldn't let her carve them up. Ew.

What was awful was the truly juvenile understanding of things like love and sex, and trust. First, these two fall in love at first sight, and it's implied that they're soulmates - even though he's in ghost form and won't show her his true form, they have an instant bond and she TOTALLY trusts and instantly loves him.  Riiight....  And then I nearly died of laughter when Charlie started having ghostly sex with Aggie in public, almost against her will (it didn't seem to be non-consensual, but he sure pressured her into it), first in her seat on a plane and then in the airport, and yet nobody suspecting because she could totally control her reactions. All of that right after they had first met and spent like 15 minutes in each others' presence. Riiiiiiight...

The writing style itself leaves something to be desired. It's also got a very unrefined, almost juvenile tone. Honestly, I'm not sure if the book is considered YA, but it might as well be the way it's written.

Read it for laughs, but certainly don't read it for its literary value!

This review and others can also be found on my Goodreads profile: View all my reviews
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