Esme’s SPFBO 2017: The Glass Gargoyle by Marie Andreas

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This was part of Bookworm Blues grouping and has since been eliminated


Plot:

The main character, Taryn, is a bounty hunter who hates her job, she used to be an archaeologist but has since had to turn to other work since her patrons don’t last for long. It’s been a running joke that all of her patrons die – but it becomes not so funny when it happens again under suspicious circumstances. In order to dig at an archaeological site you have to have a patron, without it you’re banned from the sites.

Taryn stumbles upon a series of suspicious deaths all revolving around her last patron and the dig site she was researching with him. She has to sneak back into the dig site where she was working and try to find some clues as to what’s going on – but the council has since sealed the site making it dangerous to try and sneak around. When she’s there she has to hide from some men talking about what they were trying to find at the site, someone else is murdered in front of her and she has to keep her cool or risk being discovered. While she’s hiding she witnesses the leader of the unknown men fly off into the night, meaning he was either a shapeshifter, or he had a dragon. Shapeshifters aren’t mentioned much until you get to this point – but they are powerful beings that rule from afar and supposedly keep the peace and protect the realm. If they are involved in what’s at the dig site things could get way more complicated.

She has a run in with a strange person who casts a spell to hide his identity, and starts interrogating her about a glass gargoyle. Taryn thinks this is a ridiculous line of questioning because gargoyles are made of stone – demonspirits are afraid of gargoyles because of their hearts of stone, and glass would shatter with the first storm. The man seems insistent that there was a glass gargoyle found at the dig site, but realizes after questioning her that she has no idea what he’s talking about.

Final Score: 7/10 


Characters:

This is all told in first person from the perspective of Taryn, so you get to know her fairly well. She has a sense of curiosity that’s constantly getting her into trouble, and also lead to 3 fairies being at her side at all times. The fairies take up a fair bit of page time and her interactions with them are fairly entertaining. She likes to drink – her favorite spot when she’s not working is at her local bar where she’s very close to the owner of the bar, Foxy. She has a few good friends, is sociable enough, and is also fairly intelligent.

There are some side characters that are around a lot, like Covey, who’s a good friend of Taryn’s and a part of a reptilian race. She’s a researcher at a university, and also the person who had their office/lab ransacked. I liked her, she’s sort of no nonsense kind of character who’s got a lot of drive.

Final Score: 7/10 


World Building:

There’s a lot of fantasy elements to the world building, there’s no mistaking you’re in a fantasy book.

All sorts of humanoid fantasy races are normal in this world – orcs, trolls, minotaurs, giants, cat people, shape shifters, reptilian races etc. They all have their own temperments and cultures – for instance the reptilian races enjoy warmth more so than others.

However, elves are a thing of legend, there are ruins scattered everywhere but no one knows who the ‘elves’ really were – and some researchers even refuse to acknowledge they are elves, stating that no one really knows where they ruins came from. Dragons are also supposedly a thing of myth and fairy tales, which struck me as a little odd considering how predominant many fantasy creatures are in this world – is it such a stretch dragons were around at one point?

I liked the mysterious shape shifter race that came into play a little later on in the books, shadow rulers of any society usually pique my interest.

There are plenty of people who can use magic, and there are wizards – people who can’t use magic can still buy pre-made spells… which may or may not work as intended.

 

Final Score: 7.5/10 


Pacing/Prose/Tone:

Even though there was a lot of murder going on in the book, it wasn’t overly bleak – it was more exciting trying to figure out what was going to happen next.

The pacing was pretty quick, there was a lot going on that kept things moving along – although some bits were a bit drawn out.

Unfortunately, there were a bunch of editing mistakes – including sentences that ended halfway the thought.

Pacing Final Score: 8/10

Writing Final Score: 6/10


Originality:

There was a LOT going on with this book, a ton of fantasy elements thrown into one book. Although it relied on tropes a lot, I liked how it was all mixed together – outside of Kings of the Wyld I’ve never seen so many fantasy beasts/races all in one book.

Final Score: 7.5/10 


Audience:

  • For people who like first person perspective
  • For people who like faster paced books
  • For people who like lost relics/archaeology
  • For people who like female POV
  • For people who like LOTS of fantasy elements
  • For people who like murder mystery

Final Score: 43/60 or 7.16/10

 

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