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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PACY AND SEXY- RECOMMENDED, 26 Feb 2006
This review is from: Flesh and Stone (Berkley Sensation) (Mass Market Paperback)
Connor Rihyad is investigating the rogue Gargoyles who tried to kidnap the children of his Chicago congregation at the end of Carved in Stone, which preceeds this story. (I recommend you read it first, as it introduces many of the themes and characters in this story.) Connor infiltrates the rogues by pretending to kill Nathan, rehabilitated rebel and fellow Gargoyle whose radical thinking challenges Connor's beliefs about their race. Once inside, he is horrified by the brutal treatment of a group of kidnapped women, and rescues one, Mara Kincaide, by pretending to rape her. Initially, both are wary- Mara is determined to find her friend who mysteriously disappeared, and liberate all the women, whilst Connor has to protect his mission and the secret of the Gargoyle race. Once revered as shape shifting protectors of humans, now people attack and even kill their rescuers ,who appear as monsters in Gargoyle form. A tentative friendship develops between them, but Mara is mortified when she has an erotic dream featuring Connor. Initially terrified when she realises what Connor is-and isn't-the sexual tension explodes in some pretty hot love scenes. Working together, they realise a secretive and rogue leader, or Wizenot, is systematically breeding an army of Gargoyles hostile to Connor's congregation. Mara forces Connor to re-examine traditional Gargoyle relationships with human women- they fake the death of male children, who are Gargoyles, and insure their fathers' re-incarnation, rearing them seperately in male Congregations. Mara's reaction highlights the dilemma of Gargoyles, whose ancient ways fit uncomfortably in a modern world. Nathan's wife, Rachel, is the first woman ever to be allowed to join a congregation. Rachel is learning to use ancient powers forbidden for generations, with the help of Terryn, the Chicago Wizenot. Searching for her long lost brother, she becomes aware of a malevelont being with similar powers, and soon danger threatens them all.
I won't reveal the dramtic climax, but this is clearly not the end of the story. Flesh and Stone expands on the world of Carved in Stone, including the dilemma at the heart of their world. They are a dying race no longer sure of their purpose, unnappreciated, viewed with horror and often victims of violence from the humans they were sworn to protect- how do they survive in the modern world, and what changes and compromises will they have to make? How will they survive the threat of the rogue Gargoyles?
I thought this was an original change from the usual vampires and werewolves of paranormal romance, I enjoyed it very much, and look forward to the next installment. Definitely recommended reading.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars, 2 April 2006
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This review is from: Flesh and Stone (Berkley Sensation) (Mass Market Paperback)
Connor Rihyad is deep undercover, trying to discover who was behind the plot to kidnap the children of his shapeshifting community (see "Carved in Stone"). Whilst trying to cosy up to a group of rogue "Gargouillen" (cursed shape shifters), who now want to take over the world rather than follow their ancient vow to protect humanity, he comes across a despicable scheme; impregnating human women to bear monster offspring. It is here that he meets Mara, a young woman on a mission to find her missing friend; a woman who stirs his hidden beast. Knowing that it is unlikely Mara will accept what he is, he tries to modify her memories when she witnesses her captors shifting from bestial to human form. Mara doesn't know what frightens her more; that her kidnappers aren't even human or the fact that rather than be repulsed by Connor's other form, she still finds herself wanting him.

When I reviewed this book's prequel "Carved in Stone", I found it rather slow paced before the story line really got going in the fourth chapter or so. Although I did state that I would read this book, I had it for several weeks before sitting down and reading it, assuming that again it would take a while to be drawn into the plot. Unlike CiS, "Flesh and Stone" sets off at a steady gallop, with the reader thoroughly drawn into the exciting hidden world of shapeshifters within the first 10 pages. Not only does Vickie Taylor skillfully bring the reader up to date with the legends of "Les Gargouillen" for those who may not have read the first book, she also reveals a sinister plot involving a plan to breed a monster army to take over the world. Caught up in this scheme, Mara Kincaide initially believes she will be sold into the sex slave industry before discovering what is really planned for her; and what she learns is far more horrifying. Unlike Rachel, the heroine from CiS, Mara has no supernatural abilities; instead she is a spunky heroine who after serving 8 years in prison for killing a man who attempted to rape her, vows to never again become a victim. Slowly learning to trust the newcomer in the midst of her kidnappers, she comes to love Connor; however she refuses his assistance to escape before finding her friend and releasing the other women and their babies from captivity.

Rather than concentrate too much on the legends and cultures of "Les Gargouillen", VT instead sets them on a voyage of self discovery; with the assistance of Rachel, the Guardian Council are again delving into their pagan roots and rediscovering magic. Unfortunately they are not the only ones to do so; the mastermind behind the attempted kidnapping of the children in book one is growing in power, dedicating himself to dark powers to increase his strength. With a surprising connection to all the men of "Les Gargouillen", this individual has now decided he wants someone else besides his future army.

This is a great book and if you enjoyed the prequel, you will be left more that satisfied with "Flesh and Stone". I felt that VT made a promising start with CiS, and has in my opinion, cemented my belief that she could potentially reach the same league as writers such as Sherrilyn Kenyon or Christine Feehan with her "Gargoyle" series. She has created a wonderful romance; however the abundance of action and suspense never overpowers the growing relationship between Connor and Mara.. I now eagerly await the third book in VT's Gargoyle world. "Legacy of Stone" is the story of Levi, Rachel's baby brother, who adopted as a baby, is unaware of his shape shifting heritage. This is due for release in December 06.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flesh and Stone ( WOW), 3 April 2006
This review is from: Flesh and Stone (Berkley Sensation) (Mass Market Paperback)
Carved in Stone was the first in this series and I was throughly enchanted with that story and was glad to here that there was a second in the series Flesh and Stone. It is a fantastic story and it has you gripped from the start. It was refreshing to find a book with such imagination and great characters. I had such trouble putting the book down I ended up finishing it in a day. Definately a book I would read again, and again.
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Flesh and Stone (Berkley Sensation)
Flesh and Stone (Berkley Sensation) by Vickie Taylor (Mass Market Paperback - 7 Feb 2006)
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