In THE GIRL AND THE GARGOYLE, the sequel to THE GIRL AND THE RAVEN, Lucy, having now found a loving home with her kindly uncles, is struggling to come to terms with both sides of her part-witch, part-demon heritage. Her grandmother’s colleague Persephone is training her in witchcraft, while Jude, her father, demands that she and her best friend Dylan train their newly-awakened demonic powers with him. Meanwhile, she’s trying to grab as much time as she can with her Protector (that is, gargoyle) boyfriend Marcus. But when Marcus’s long-lost parents arrive, Lucy discovers they’re out to kill her father – and through him, herself. Can she protect herself and those she loves without losing the relationships that make her happy?
It’s probably best to read Pauline Gruber’s THE GIRL AND THE RAVEN before tackling THE GIRL AND THE GARGOYLE, as there’s background information there that would be useful to have, but it’s possible to jump in here without getting lost. The story is complete in and of itself, and the new reader will find that there is enough here to let them know what’s going on without too much tedious explication. Lucy’s relationships may be complicated by magic and a heritage that she’s not sure she wants, especially on the demonic side – but their importance to her is grounded in emotions that are very human, and rather endearing. She has to negotiate emotionally between a best friend who’s in love with her and a boyfriend who doesn’t trust her best friend, as well as trying to encourage her boyfriend to get to know his estranged family while dealing with that family’s hostility towards herself. She also has to balance her edgy and difficult relationship with her birth father with her gratitude towards her uncles for her newfound home and security, her need to keep secrets from them and her desire to protect them not only from her father but from her father’s enemies as well. And she has to manage both conflicting sides of her heritage while figuring out who she herself is and where she stands.
Gruber sets all of this emotional development against a lively and energetic plot, which stays entertaining and readable until the very end. The supernatural aspects of the story are given a solid basis, with consistent rules and values for each of the supernatural forces, whether demon, gargoyle, or witch. The powers that Lucy and other characters are given do not come as easy fixes for their problems, but have costs, require thought, care and training for their use, and do not always have predictable results, making them more interesting and keeping them from becoming a deus ex machina.
THE GIRL AND THE GARGOYLE is a thoroughly enjoyable story in its own right, and a welcome second installment in the series that began with THE GIRL AND THE RAVEN.
~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader