Magic of the Gargoyles
By Rebecca Chastain
Author’s Website: www.rebeccachastain.com
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Scott
Novellas are a rare creature these days, and when they appear, they vary wildly in quality. Magic of the Gargoyles is an engrossing change of pace, telling a solid tale and engaging the reader with colorful characters, all within the constraints of the under 20,000 word format. In a form appealing to teens and up, Rebecca Chastain breaks another plateau in her writing career.
And those words weave Rebecca Chastain’s breakneck, hard hitting prose, illuminating an urban fantasy tale filled with anachronisms, flights of fancy , and an almost Steampunk driven societal structure. The writing style is elegant, tasteful and hold a tight word economy. Never does the reader feel railroaded in the direction of the story; instead they’re pulled into the eddy of the plot, and with cliffhanging chapter endings, feel compelled to find out what happens next.
The cast of characters that populate Magic of the Gargoyles, are a charming delight. The reluctant lead protagonist Mika, her roommate Kylie, and the numerous gargoyles each carry their own weight and are surprisingly fully fleshed out for the purposes of the tale. The villain, Walter, is as threatening as any pulp antagonist – strong, but overconfident. These characters carry the burden of the novella with acute grace and a style that is definitely Rebecca Chastain’s forte. Having the gargoyles each give their own “voice,” (some are too young to speak) is a thrilling testament to this.
The true delight of this text is definitely its plot. The vignette careens through not even three days of a character’s life, stopping at poignant and meaningful breaks in the story, only to place Mika in the next struggle in the following chapter. There is no wasted description, or distractions that get in the way. Pulling back from “over-developing” place and setting as a lot of authors do, Rebecca Chastain’s well-practiced prose (I had the opportunity to review her first novel: A Fistful of Evil) pulls all the ends together and the plot wraps up with a satisfying conclusion.
Fans of urban fantasy, the steampunk genre, or fans of gargoyles (they are neat) – this read is well worth the temporal investment. Magic of the Gargoyles is a charming light, short read that well deserves its 5 stars. It leaves an almost magical mark on you when you finish.