I'm not sure if I liked CARVED IN STONE, a paranormal romance by Vickie Taylor. When I first heard about it, I couldn't wait to read it. After all, the hero, Nathan, is a gargoyle. I thought to myself, how clever and original! Then I read it....
First of all, I really did like how the author played with the idea of a gargoyle hero. She created an interesting history about a race of men cursed with the ability to shape-shift into gruesome creatures with the express purpose of helping mankind. That alone was worth reading about.
But there were problems with the book. For one, the book is called CARVED IN STONE, and Nathan is described by the heroine as having a earthy, rocky scent. Yet these gargoyles don't turn into stone, and there's no other stone connection at all. That was bizarre ... and a little disappointing.
Some things I also found disappointing were the love scenes, which didn't come across as sensual to me. Maybe it was the language. I know that the term "hand job" jarred me when I read it. It was a little too crude for me.
Also, the first "heroine in danger/hero saves her" scene with the "hood" in the bar was cheesy. In the middle of a fight, in which the "hood" is holding a knife to her throat while Nathan threatens him, Rachel actually rolls her eyes and makes a caustic comment about having better things to do that day than listen to their pissing contest. I was the one rolling my eyes then. I just can't take the story seriously if the author doesn't try to attempt a little realism when it comes to human interactions.
Another issue is that the ending to the story doesn't wrap things up, plot-wise. In fact, you have to read the next book, FLESH AND STONE, to find out who the "bad guys" are that threatened Nathan and his fellow gargoyles in CARVED IN STONE. I find that rather unsatisfying.
Going back to the plot ... well, let's just say the plot rambled around a bit. It starts off with Rachel, an Interpol officer, trying to track a killer, then veers off to her tracking down a gargoyle who killed the killer, then veers off to strangers trying to kill the gargoyles. All the while, Nathan and Rachel fall in love, even though he's one of the monsters she's trying to destroy.
Anyway, for me, CARVED IN STONE is a so-so book, saved only by the fact that the hero is a gargoyle. It was interesting to read, as well as fast paced. I finished it quickly. Unfortunately, I couldn't get into it. There were too many things that put me off (including the contrived ending). Still, I'm planning to read the next book, in hopes that the writing will improve. After all, the concept fascinates me. Gargoyles. Very cool idea. Just wish the book was better executed.
***For those who like shapeshifter romances, the best I've ever read are about werewolves. Try TO CATCH A WOLF by Susan Krinard or KILLING MOON by Rebecca York. Or, try THE SELKIE by Melanie Jackson, which is a solid romance about a man who is half-seal.***