BookMusings: (Re)Discovering Pagan Literature

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Series Review: The Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles


Series: The Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles

Titles: Magic of the Gargoyles; Curse of the Gargoyles; Secret of the Gargoyles; Lured

Publisher: Mind Your Muse Books

Author: Rebecca Chastain

Price: free to $2.99

Mika Stillwater is an Earth elemental, and not a very strong one, either; mid-level, at best, with low-level abilities with air and water. But she is very, very good with quartz, so much so that she plans to open a shop specializing in quartz artwork. Unfortunately, right in the middle of the commission that will finally earn her enough money to open that shop, a baby gargoyle comes crashing through her door, desperate to find someone who can save her siblings from the evil mages who have kidnapped them. The baby gargoyles will be auctioned off, their magic siphoned to give the mage more power ... and Mika is the only one who can possibly save them ....

I admit that I do not particularly like the algorithms which track our purchases and views online. It feels invasive. Occasionally, though, the math works and a book is brought to my attention that I might not otherwise have seen. Magic of the Gargoyles, the first volume in Chastain's alternative history/urban fantasy/romance series, is one such book.

I freaking loved this series. As soon as I finished the first book, I immediately downloaded the second and third, and then signed up for Chastain's newsletter so that I could get the free novelette, Lured. The world-building is awesome. Elemental magic -- earth, air, fire, water, and wood -- is fully integrated into Mika's society; people weave anti-wrinkle air spells into their clothing, create floating fire balls to see in the dark, there are temples to the elements everywhere, khalkotauri power trains instead of coal, and so on. Everyone has some elemental abilities, with a rare few classified as Full Spectrum Pentacle Potentials (able to work all five elements equally). The natural world is sacred and fives, pentacles, and pentagrams figure prominently; for example, at the center of Mika's home city sits Focal Park, each of its five sections dedicated to a different element. 

Gargoyles are sentient living stone; specifically, different kinds of quartz. Gargoyles are also creatures of pure magic -- they need to be around all five types to be healthy -- and they are deeply secretive, trusting few humans. Mika, with her rare affinity for quartz, is literally the only living person who can heal an injured gargoyle, and whom they would trust with their greatest secret.

Well, Mika and Federal Pentagon Defense officer Marcus Velasquez. Mika first encounters Marcus in Magic of the Gargoyles, and she apparently leaves an impression on him. When a gargoyle is found in Focal Park, turned to solid stone, and the elements in the Park begin to go crazy, he calls in Mika for assistance. Mika, in turn, calls on Marcus for help when the gargoyles finally reveal to her why they sometimes turn to stone and that only she can help them. The road to their happily ever after is a rocky one to say the least, filled as it is with murderous mages, rogue magic, hostile gargoyles, slovenly cerberi, old girlfriends, a siren or two, and their own reluctant hearts.

I was disappointed when I reached the end of Lured and realized that there were no more stories about Mika and Marcus -- well, for now. Chastain has created a rich world with potential for many many more stories. I really really hope that she continues the series, at least with more novelettes and short stories.

Highly recommended to fans of Jolene Dawe, Juli D. Revezzo, Tina Gower, CS MacCath, Devon Monk, Yasmine Galenorn, CSE Cooney, and Annie Bellet.

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Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of the Pagan literary ezine Eternal Haunted Summer. She is also the editor-in-chief of Bibliotheca Alexandrina. She thinks it is incredibly unfair that she must work for a living rather than being able to read all day. In her next life, she would like to be a library cat.


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