Thu
Feb 13 2014 12:00pm

Hard as Stone, Easy to Love: Gargoyle Heroes in Romance Novels

Stone Guardian by Danielle MonschTo meet the newest hero of the paranormal romance, just need to search above you. They hide in plain sight on top of buildings or even out in a garden. From their high perches, are they guarding over the city or looking for their soul mates?

Gargoyles are the latest addition to the list of paranormal heroes. There is no mistaking their grey skin, which is hard as stone. They have wings, tails, claw and fangs, and while the backgrounds and focus of these guardians is still open for wide interpretation, there seems to be only two universal truths to a gargoyle hero: (1) They live to protect, and (2) they always possess a magical power to transform into a human form. How else to blend in with the humans or seduce your beautiful heroine?

Authors such as Danielle Monsch, Christine Warren, and Jacquelyn Frank show us that there is beauty within the beast.

The first book of Danielle Monsch’s Entwined Realms series, Stone Guardian, introduces us to a new world after The Great Collision where dimensions have collided. The Human Realm and the Magic Realm have merged and humans find themselves facing werewolves, necromancers, zombies, and countless other magical creatures for the first time.

When The Oracle approaches Terak, the leader of the gargoyles, and advises him he must protect a human woman, that “She is connected to the future of your Clan,” he doesn’t hesitate to seek out Larissa Miller. Even in the Magic Realm, gargoyles keep to themselves and although gargoyles do not answer to the beck and call of the Oracles, only a fool would ignore their cryptic messages. Clan is everything to the gargoyles and even if Terak doesn’t understand what this pretty, gentle and kind human would have to do with his people, he will protect her with his life. It is not long before Terak finds that Larissa has become the focus of a powerful necromancer and together they will need to figure out what power his little human hides that is suddenly making her the focus of some powerful evil.

She walked behind him to check his wing, stroking her hand over the membrane. It felt like leather, but that soft, luxurious leather, the kind where a jacket would cost most people’s yearly salary.

Her hand traveled to the frame. Even this was warm, his body heat coming through. The muscles bunched under her hand as she took in the area where the frame met his back. This body was that of a warrior. He was hard, perfectly formed. This body was her salvation, her sword and shield in a world that made no sense.

Tiny tremors rippled under her fingertips as she stroked down his muscles. Which shook, her hand or his back?

Christine Warren’s gargoyles serve a higher purpose beyond scope of their own clan. In Heart of Stone, these larger than life guardians were created to protect the world from the Darkness. The seven guardians rest in their stone sleep until called upon by their network known as the Guild to fight against the Darkness that would engulf our world in evil. But this time around, it is not a mage who awoke Kees. Now that he is awake, there are too many unanswered questions: How could a little human woman wake him from his slumber? Where is his warden and the Guild? And more importantly, where are the other guardians?

It quickly becomes clear that those answers are too frightening to contemplate. While the guardians slept, the nocturnis who serve the Darkness have been targeting the members of the Guild. In destroying the caretakers of the guardians and hiding away the guardians locked in their stone forms, there would be no one who knows where to find or how to awaken the guardians. With no one to stop them, the Darkness would take over the world. Will one guardian and a human woman be enough to fight off the Darkness?

What had always fascinated Ella about the statue, though, were the contradictions that artist had carved into the fierce predatory beast he had sculpted. His face didn’t look like the face of an animal. In spite of the faintly flattened nose and the threatening fangs, Sir Arthur appeared remarkably human more like a fallen angel than like a devil. That impression drew support from the exquisite detail of the cherubic curls adorning his head, clustered around the base of his horns and even dipping over his forehead. His cheekbones gave him the look of a warrior king, and despite his thickly muscled tail, the bulk of his physical attributes painted him as more man than animal.

Ella liked to think the artist had seen him as she did—-a fierce guardian, willing to battle evil on its own terms, determined to protect his charges against any harm.

While Warren’s gargoyles were created to save the world, Jacquelyn Frank’s gargoyles were created by the dark magic of the Templar Bodywalkers as slaves to protect themselves and destroy their enemies. They combined a man and a beast and bound them to stone. They did not realize when they worked their black magic that the fierce hearts of the men they chose refused to be slaves to evil.

Most of the gargoyles have risked their lives to escape their chains to their evil masters and they now serve as guardians to the Politic Bodywalkers in their fight against the evil Templars. But even the strongest of these stone warriors can be hurt by magic and need a safe place and a gentle touch to heal.
But to keep these gargoyles in line, their chains to a master were forged in stone and they must return to their touchstone at night. Time is ticking for the injured Ahnvil, if he doesn’t return home soon, he risks being frozen in stone forever.

“Verra well. I’m a Gargoyle.”

She blinked. Like an owl, she blinked again. “I don’t understand. You’re…a mean ugly statue at the top of Notre Dame cathedral? Or more cute like the Disney versions?” She swallowed noisily, hoping for the latter. Knowing otherwise.

“We dinna all live on churches,” he scoffed, as if she had stereotyped him. She didn’t see how that was possible since she knew of only one Gargoyle. One living breathing moving one, that is.

“Okay,” she said carefully. “Forgive me for pointing out the obvious,” she said after a delicate clearing of her throat, “but despite the occasional flash of stone you’re kind of made of flesh and bone.”

He laughed, the gravelly sound of it suddenly taking on a whole new meaning for her. “Aye,” he agreed, “that I am. Half of the time. And the other half I’m solid stone with wings and as ugly a face as you ever did see.”

Next time you look up and catch the watchful eye of the stone guardians, make sure to smile and wink, because you don’t know if your greatest love is watching over you from above.

 


Lucy Dosch writes book reviews for her blog http://ebookobsessed.com. Her e-reader has turned her love of reading into an obsession. When she is not reading, she likes to spend time with her husband and two daughters.

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8 comments
Lege Artis
1. LegeArtis
I really liked Monsch book. :)
And I bought it exactly because I was in the mood to read something other than vampirs and shifters. ;)
Great post, Lucy... Two more books too add on my shelf.
Karen Mahoney
2. Karen Mahoney
And let's not forget Marjorie M. Liu, who already wrote a couple of brilliant gargoyle paranormal romances (The Wild Road & A Dream of Stone and Shadow). Both are wonderful!

Kaz
Karen Mahoney
3. Jackie U
CE Murphy's Negotiator series has the BEST gargoyles I've read so far. I started Heart of Stone and had to stop a few pages in. I love Christine Warren, but the gargoyle went from OMGBBQ WHY AM I AWAKE? to WOMAN I WILL PROTECT YOU BECAUSE I JUST REALIZED out of nowhere mind you THAT THE HUMAN I JUST KNOCKED OUT IS EEEEBIL.
Karen Mahoney
4. Linda Townsend
I LOVED Danielle Monsch's Stone Guardian! I never thought I could fall in love with a gargoyle... but, she did it! AND... I want more!
willaful
5. willaful
I loved The Negotiator series, but had no idea gargoyle heroes had become a thing! :-)
Karen Mahoney
6. AMG
Thumbs up on the Negotiator series too. Very intelligent, tortured.
Patricia Wilkerson
7. Proofreaderpat
"Stone-Cold Lover" by Mel Teshco is a good gargoyle novella.
Karen Mahoney
8. Glittergirl
Vickie Taylor wrote a trilogy about Gargoyles that got me fascinated about the creatures. It was called Les Gargouillen back in 2005-09. #1 was Carved in Stone, #2 Flesh and Stone and #3 Legacy of Stone. It was a great romance series.
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