Review: Locked in Stone by Tory Michaels (Hearts of Stone #1)


Locked in Stone by Tory Michaels // VBC ReviewLocked in Stone (Hearts of Stone #1)
Tory Michaels
Published: Feb. 23, 2015 (Entangled: Covet)
Purchase: Amazon
Review Source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars

Twenty-four years ago Rose Johnson lost her sisters and her mother, the Queen Sacred Mother, in an attack orchestrated by the Twisted Ones (half-demons in league with Lucifer). By trying to eliminate the gargoyles, specifically the Queen Sacred Mothers, no one will be able to close the Rifts that will allow more demons through to Earth. Rose was miraculously saved that day by her now adoptive mother Gwen. Being the only gargoyle left, Rose has to be extra careful to keep her identity a secret, but when she finds her adoptive mother dead, Rose has to get help from the last people she would go to: the Sentinels.

Twenty-four years ago Cal Levesque was the Sentinel tasked with protecting the Queen Sacred Mother and her family. He’s felt the weight of their loss every day since the attack. So to say he’s surprised to see Rose alive is putting it mildly. Everyone was under the impression she was dead. And based on the way she attacked him when she sees him, Rose clearly remembers Cal too and still holds a grudge. He can’t blame her.

Rose’s return could be the saving grace the gargoyles and Sentinels need in their fight against evil. It could also mean a chance at redemption for Cal to atone for his mistake in the past. That’s why when he’s given the job of being Rose’s guardian he’s not going to take it lightly. It also means not giving in to the attraction he’s feeling toward her.

There’s no denying the attraction they have for one another. Where Cal would keep Rose at arm’s length, Rose insists they give a relationship a try. I loved that she wouldn’t take no as an answer from Cal, even when he was intentionally pushing her away.

Events in the past influence a lot of how Locked in Stone plays out. When it becomes apparent to Rose that the things/ideas her adoptive mother taught her for years may be false, she literally doesn’t know what to do. This puts Rose in an emotional conundrum for the majority of the book. She tries to cling to her beliefs, but slowly throughout the story those beliefs begin to wane. This also unfortunately causes the book to meander along from one moment to the next while Rose figures out the truth.

Cal, in a similar experience to Rose, can’t let go of the past; specifically his failure. It overwhelms him so much at times that he ends up putting too much pressure on his new job to keep Rose safe and not thinking clearly—thereby bringing about what he’s trying to avoid. His experience, coupled with Rose’s, causes the majority of the book to maintain this unfocused, kind of jumbled, direction.

Things are not so bleak, however. It seems Tory Michaels spent a lot of time working on the denouement of Locked in Stone because once I got to the final chapters, I found a book that was really focused with tight, clear, and clean writing. It was wonderful. I understand wanting to go out with a bang, but I would have loved to see this clear and concise writing throughout the whole book. It would have put it on an entirely different level. As it is, the ending was enough to get me invested in what happens next.

Sexual content: References to sex, kissing

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