Review: Heart of Stone

Posted: January 29, 2016 by in Books that are Mediocre (3/5 single_star) Meta: Debra Mullins, Urban Fantasy, Books for Chicks

Faith has a secret. Years ago she was forced into an impossible choice: use her powers to kill or hand them over to her husband to use. Rather than kill those she thought innocent, she fought against her husband and accidentally killed him. It’s more complicated than that, however.

You see, Atlantis existed, and there were survivors, and they all had one of three kinds of magic: Seer, Channeler, and Warrior. But the survivors blame each other for its demise and are convinced that killing each other off is the only way to ensure future survival. Faith is a channeler, with the rare ability to manipulate stone, and now everyone wants her to use the three Atlantian stones of power to wipe out their enemies.

Darius is a seer, gifted with empathic abilities. His family has one of the stones of power and need Faith to use her magic and heal it of the impurities it’s collected over the years. After a run-in with people who want to force her to help them, Faith decides to accept Darius’ offer of safety and money so she can get back on her feet.

So, yeah, this is a romance book. I should have read the back cover more closely, but I didn’t and got an eyeful early on with a detailed sex scene. As is the case with romance books, despite the fantasy setting, the story revolves around the main characters’ mutual sexual tension and gives little heed to the plethora of plot holes. The set-up could really have gone somewhere, but it falls dreadfully short and too much is left unexplained (although I will grant that Mullins didn’t give annoying infodumps). Sure there will be sequels as there are plenty of other young couples who need to get laid, but as much as I love a good romance, problems with the setting and plot will always trip me up and make it hard for me to believe the love story.

Faith has a secret... years ago she was forced into an impossible choice: use her powers to kill or give them to her husband. Decent, but nothing special.

As also with books of this genre, there is a lot of drama and since it’s narrated from both Faith and Darius’ points of view, we get a lot of repetitive interior monologue as they tell themselves why they shouldn’t get together. It isn’t hard to see the potential in a book like this, what it could have been, but because of the genre it was structured in a way that felt more contrived–no natural flow of a real relationship. It doesn’t help, either, that the main characters were a little goofy during the sex scenes.

The lore around the stones felt a little too new-agey to me. Like how amazonite aids in healing. How they use semi-precious stones to aid in focusing their magic. It all could have worked for me, but the way she approached it felt a tad campy. Which was too bad, because she almost had me believing, but she left too much unexplained. Another thing not-quite-right was the prose; for the most part it’s pretty easy reading, but it has enough awkward metaphors and one-sentence paragraphs (for emphasis… tooo much emphasis) that will trip up readers.

I read HEART OF STONE pretty fast. It was a fun read on a cold winter day with a mug of hot chocolate; the story moved quickly and Mullins did her best to worldbuild. Unfortunately the limitations of the genre make this story fall short and is what will prevent making this potentially good book appeal to a wider audience.

  • Recommended Age: 17+ because of sexuality
  • Language: A mere handful
  • Violence: Yes some fighting but... let's face it this is a romance book and the fight scenes left much to be desired
  • Sex: A couple of very detailed sex scenes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *