Review of House of Stone, by Vaughn R. Demont

House of Stone

I borrowed a copy of Vaughn R. Demont‘s House of Stone. Thanks L!

Description from Goodreads:

A modern knight, a noble quest, and a magical sword. What could go wrong?

Welcome to the City, where gods run nightclubs, goblins hire out as mercs, sorcerers work their magic, the Fae hold court over every neighborhood…and humanity is blissfully ignorant of it all.

For minor Fae noble Richard Stone, life is going well. He has a decent fiefdom (okay, it’s a slum), a budding acting career (okay, so it’s porn), and one of only five magical swords in the City. An arranged marriage is barely a blip on his worry meter—until his family blade loses its magic. The shame of it puts his noble standing in jeopardy.

To regain his status, Richard needs help. Fortunately, his new bride is a sidhe knight and his servant Simaron has, er, his back. Together they embark on a quest to find the demon who slew his father, investigate a conspiracy that goes to the highest echelons of Fae nobility, and discover a secret family legacy that could ruin his House.

All while keeping up appearances to a society that demands perfection. And they say a noble’s life is easy…

I have been entertained. Honestly, there are times that’s the highest praise a book can garner and now is one of those times. From the first page to the last, Richard amused me with his irreverent narrative, ignoble commentary, and ironic observations. This is without mentioning his capacitous ability for internal and emotional growth. I enjoyed him when he was a shiftless cad in the beginning and when he was a noble hero at the end. 

However, I also found this same personal growth problematic, in that it largely invalidated he and Sim’s pre-established love. Richard changes so much from the beginning to the end as to be almost a new man. Sim is shown to be a lot more (and different) that Richard ever knew. I ask then, how they were to have known one another enough to love beyond their lust? They were not yet (or yet known to be) the men they would love the other for being. It felt a little hollow to me.

I also thought that Richard (and to a lesser degree, Rem) were the only wholly fleshed out characters. The rest were likeable enough (or unlikeable when appropriate), but I never felt I knew them particularly well. 

Regardless of my few irritants here and there, I was happy throughout. Demont shows a real talent for timing and dramatic disclosures. I especially appreciated that he could drop a verbal bombshell or subtle joke and leave the reader to furrow out the meaning. Something is lost in a joke if the punchline has to be explained to you. I also was pulled in by the idea of elves being the stuff of dreams. I’ll definitely be seeking out more of Demont’s writing.

As an aside (and personal niggle), if you’re going to describe a sword in a book and then have, presumably, that sword on the cover, they should match. That’s not the Azure Blade as described in the book and I’m annoyed by the discrepancy.

Aside number two: If you follow this link to Mr. Demont’s webpage, you see that he’s crowdsourcing to go to a conference. Wouldn’t it be nice to reward a good writer for his skill and his willingness to put a request out that doesn’t come with any type of expectation. No, ‘I’m asking (read demanding) so the universe (you) must provide,’ but rather a polite ‘would anyone be willing to help.’ Anyone? I’d love to see this guy provided for by a host of strangers. It’d be a great way to let him know his writing it appreciated.

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