Tuesday, July 13, 2010

House of Stone

Title: House of Stone
Author: Vaughn R. Demont
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.samhainpublishing.com/
ISBN: 978-1-60928-061-1
Genre: [M/M] Urban Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Being a Fae noble and the current head of the House of Stone isn’t much fun for Richard. His hereditary mini-kingdom has seen better days; most of it’s situated in the City’s slum, and he’s become a star in the local porn industry to earn enough money to live on, and to pay his taxes. But he’s still a noble—right? So what if his family’s magical sword, The Azure Blade, has suddenly stopped working for him? What else can go wrong? A sudden arranged marriage to a female Fae he’s never met is fast approaching. Is it in order to beget the next generation or is there another reason?

Making his new bride happy is the least of Richard’s worries. He has just eight days to discover and fix whatever shame he’s brought into his family’s house. If he doesn’t, his dirty secret will be revealed to the entire Fae court and he’ll lose his family land holding forever. With his faithful servant and lover, Simaron, at his side, Richard has to find and slay the demon who killed his father, deal with a community of rogue half-breeds living in his kingdom, discover what the spirit of a long dead ancestor wants with him and determine what other Fae noble is trying to destroy him and why. It’s just another day in the life of a less than perfect nobleman with a terrible family secret.

House of Stone is the first book by Vaughn R. Demont that I’ve read and I’ll be looking for others in the future. It’s written in first person from Richard’s viewpoint, allowing the reader to get a good feel for the changes he goes through—his growth from a self-centered noble to a caring man by the last page.

This urban fantasy has a complicated plot with enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing from one chapter to the next. The pace is fast, the story well written and the numerous characters interesting and unique. And when I say numerous, I’m not kidding. There are characters of various importance moving in and out of nearly every scene and while most just round out the story, others play vital roles. There’s even a variety of other creatures—goblins, sorcerers wielding magic, seers, magical swords, demons and a ghostly spirit ancestor, all of which should make any fantasy lover happy.

I enjoyed the details of the Fae world and all its intricate relationships and customs, even if the particulars got a little confusing at times, requiring a quick re-read to set things right. It’s a culture based on class. In the case of Richard and Simaron, it’s noble versus servant, which I found a little annoying, not on Richard’s part but on Sims. There were times I wanted to bang the man over the head for being obstinate and clueless of the depth of Richard’s love. Getting to know Simaron better would have been nice but with little snippets of his emotions interjected throughout the story, you’re still able to get a good feel for how much he cares for his lover/lord.

I will give you fair warning, the romance portion of this story is pretty much set before the book’s beginning. Richard and Sim have been lovers for years; they just haven’t worked out the details of how to make it work, due to their class distinctions. What you get in the story is the way they struggle against horrible odds to fix a problem that could destroy them all. Take it from me, it’s worth the read. Enjoy!

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