Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Release Date: December 4 2012
Full of adventure, romance and a bit of the supernatural, Guardians of Stone is a fun and exciting story about a race to find a hidden relic, with some unexpected and extremely well-done comedy thrown in for good measure. This book has been compared to Indian Jones for good reason: the exotic locations, romantic entanglements and action sequences definitely reminded me of the movie, but Guardians of Stone has its own flavor and lots of mystery to keep readers entertained.
Kendall Morgan is a girl with an interesting talent: she can sense things about people and places when she touches objects. This makes her a perfect relic hunter and a desirable employee, if you happen to be a collector of precious archeological relics. Nathan Larraby is the collector, an enigmatic man with looks, money and charisma who uses Kendall’s talent by sending her on reconnaissance trips around the world to find and purchase items for his collection. When the story opens, Nathan tells Kendall that she will be heading off to Italy to look for a very old box that houses a priceless relic, and Jake Stone will be going along to help, which doesn’t make Kendall happy at all. Nathan tells them that when they arrive they will be given the contact name of someone who can point them in the right direction, but other than that, they have very little to go on.
Their troubles start as soon as they arrive in Rome. Sparks start to fly between Jake and Kendall, but not necessarily the right kind. Jake is bossy and controlling, and Kendall is an independent spirit who just wants to do her job and go home. Unbeknownst to Kendall, Jake has been sent along to protect her, and he does everything in his power to keep her under control. But Kendall has a way of slipping out of sight when Jake isn’t looking, and it’s driving him crazy. In the midst of these antics, the two begin searching for the elusive box, only to find obstacles thrown in their path time and again. Part of the story takes place in a creepy castle that is shrouded in rumors and mystical energy, a castle that may be important in the hunt to find Nathan’s mystery box. There are characters galore that all seem to be connected to the box in one way or another, and Kendall and Jake must try to work together, sometimes reluctantly, to untangle all the threads of the story and find the box.
Guardians of Stone is in many ways a comedy of errors. The intricate plot hinges on misdirection, as Jake and Kendall find and then lose the box more than once. Characters spy on and secretly follow each other, turn up dead, and appear to be one thing but turn out to be another. By the end of the story some plot points are still left unexplained, but I’m assuming this will be taken care of in future installments of this series. The pacing is really well done, and Clenney obviously knows how to keep the action going while teasing the reader by dropping hints about the box and its origins.
I really like Kendall. She has all of the qualities that I like in a heroine: strength, smarts and gumption, and she isn’t afraid to tell Jake what she thinks of him. She also has disturbing dreams, which could be linked to past events in her life. Clenney doesn’t explain the dreams, but she may be saving their true meaning for future books. A boy from Kendall’s childhood named Adam is also a mystery throughout the story, a boy who died along with her father in a plane crash when Kendall was eleven. Kendall refers to Adam as being her best friend and even tells Jake that she loves him. I was intrigued by Adam and I felt there was way more to his relationship with Kendall than meets the eye.
The most dynamic and interesting parts of the story for me were when Jake, Nathan and Kendall all appear together, and I’ll admit I enjoyed their banter more than the actual plot machinations of trying to locate the box. Although I found Jake to be quite annoying with his obvious come-ons to Kendall, the three together were magic. Clenney’s dialog is super, especially between Nathan and Jake. Nathan’s aloof manner towards Kendall is obviously his way of covering up his attraction to her, and along with Jake’s growing appreciation of Kendall and Clenney’s hysterical dialog, these were the scenes I loved the most.
The author sets the stage for the next book by giving us hints about something not-quite-right with Nathan, who occasionally loses control when he gets angry. Along with other plot points that don’t quite resolve themselves, Clenney leaves the reader wanting more and ready for Kendall’s next adventure.