Secret of the Gargoyles
The Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles, Book 3
By Rebecca Chastain
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Scott
Secret of the Gargoyles has to be the pinnacle of the Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles. All of the pieces fall into place, as if finishing a comforting jigsaw. The reader’s affinition with Mika Stillwater, Marcus, and her two gargoyle companions (our stalwart protagonists) is heightened and enhanced in this easy to read, hard to put down, novel. Magic flows freely throughout this book, and it’s a pleasure to be caught up in it. A breakneck twisting plot, heaping challenge upon challenge makes the end justifiable, plausible and just plain wild. The conclusion of the three arced novelettes: starting with Magic of the Gargoyles, and Curse of the Gargoyles, there is nothing left to the imagination… well there is but the reader should discover it on their own.
Coming out of Tiny Glitches, and the proceeding two novelettes, Rebecca Chastain once again delivers a warm, precariously perky (and sometimes just dangerous) story in the same polished style that graces every word laid to print. There are no careless or misspent words here; the word economy is tight. That being said, there is still enough description to envelop you in Mika Stillwater’s world. There is lush, but not overly so, descriptions of the world that Mika impacts upon. Almost everything is sensory driven, a testament to Chastain’s writing talent, carrying the reader further and further into the webs of deception about The Secrets of the Gargoyles. The tale reads easy, and ramps up the action one notch at a time. Only at the denouement, does the reader have time to catch their breath, only to open up a further world of adventure between the main characters.
The plot, as mentioned, is a web of deception that only magic can accomplish. The trials and tribulations of Mika, Marcus, and the two gargoyles seem to battle this web only to discover that only the first layer of the onion is peeled – there is far more to it than meets the eye. A characters vs. nature and characters vs. themselves, theme propels the plot to the stratosphere. Just when you think you have it, you don’t. There is a lot of adventure packed into this short read, and I guarantee you’ll enjoy every moment of it. It’s tight as a drum, is readable in its own right and not as part of the series – although reading the two fine preceding yarns may help the reader understand how magic operates in this urban magical steampunk world. The plot goes above and beyond fantasy. painting dulcimer picayune scenes, that no reader of modern steampunk fantasy should pass over.
The characterization was the strongest out of the trilogy. Concentrating on a small cast, as she did in Tiny Glitches. Rebecca limits the cast to four, not counting fleeting incidental characters. In doing so, she solidly cements the foundations on which these characters are built. Working with a smaller cast also allows the reader more insight into Mika’s torn world (as detailed in Magic of the Gargoyles and Curse of the Gargoyles). Viewed through her eyes, we get a granite imprint of what the characters mean and say. This imprint lasts a fair while even as the story is read and put down. They are that believable – jewels which are an asset in any fantasy story. Without the characters, the magic wanes and fades; with them, it grows to enchant.
Secret of the Gargoyles, by Rebecca Chastain, has to be the most fulfilling of any trilogy I’ve recently had the pleasure of reading. It’s a high octane story that melds characters and plot almost seamlessly from a well told perspective, and an insight into gargoyles, that will remain a secret until you finish the novel. Any fantasy or fantasy steampunk readers will definitely enjoy this story, as will most of you if you dare to enter the Secrets of the Gargoyles. Be warned though, once you read it, you’re sworn to secrecy.