I started reading this book because it was the book of the month at the League of Reluctant Adults' blog. On top of that, C. E. Murphy has been on my list of authors I wanted to read because I read a short story by her in Winter Moon and really liked the writing.
This is book 1 in a trilogy that centers around Margrit Knight, a hardworking lawyer working for LegalAid, and a gargoyle named Alban. At first Margrit lives in the "normal" world, unaware of any kind of paranormal happenings in New York City, but after Alban speaks to her, she suddenly becomes involved in not just Alban's situation (believed to be a murderer) but in others as well. I found Margrit's character believable as someone I'd meet in this world, and someone admirable as well. Margrit is just that type of person that's has strong convictions about helping others, and she is very good at that. There were several places in the book where despite the fact that she's in a position of weakness, she never allows that to be an issue when she speaks. She always manages to convey strength with whom ever she is dealing with, and I really liked that! At the league blog when we were discussing themes, I suggested that one of those was feminism, and tmthomas posted a really interesting comment about formal vs informal power. In either case, it was something refreshing to see. I felt like this is the kind of strong heroine I like.
On top of that, the secondary characters were quite well written as well. Margrit's on-again, off-again lover, her roommates, her boss.. they all played understandable roles of people concerned for Margrit although unaware of what was really going on. There were understandable conflicts that came out of this. Then there are the paranormal/supernatural/Other creatures. Murphy has some new twists to the conventional myths and also populates the world with some beings not usually found in urban fantasy. These "people" feel dangerous and unknown but also fascinating. Particularly during their interactions with Margrit. I'm looking forward to finding out more about them through Margrit's dealings with them in the next two books. And – the city. I have to say, it does feel like New York to me when I read this book. An everyday, yeah I live here, New York.
So basically – good, above average read. I wasn't staying up all night to read it, I took my time (about 5 days?), but the writing was skilled, I did enjoy myself, and I felt quite satisfied when I finished.
Here's an excerpt from Heart of Stone
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