Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Redemption by Véronique Launier (Hearts of Stone #1)

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Guillaume: For five hundred years I've existed as a gargoyle. Perched atop an old Montreal church, I've watched idly as humanity wanders by. With the witch Marguerite gone, there is no one left to protect, nothing to care about. I never planned to feel again. But then a girl released me from my stone restraints, allowing me to return as a seventeen-year-old human boy. I must find out all I can about this girl's power . . .

Aude: Getting attacked twice in as many days is strange in itself, but even stranger is the intriguing guy I keep running into. There's something so familiar about him, like a primal drum rhythm from my dreams. But spending time together only raises more questions--about my heritage, a native Mohawk prophecy . . . and an unearthly magic threatening our city..

Redemption’s premise about gargoyles and native culture and legend captured my attention. It’s an irresistible mix that Launier paced with a steady mix of mystery and tension.
It’s from Guillaume’s point of view that we first meet Aude as she’s being attacked by complete strangers. Guillaume perched high above the cathedral witnesses this horror but also something stranger. Somehow this girl is able to ward off her attackers and in the process releases him and his brothers from their gargoyle form.  Aude’s power is of great concern to them because if she is who they thinks she is, then she is the key to their survival.
Aude would rather just pretend that it all never happened.  She throws all her focus and energy into her band Lucid Pill. Guillaume is never far behind though as he befriends her and learns more about her. It’s just Aude and her mother; her father is a non-factor. But her ancestry is what intrigues Guillaume and his brothers.  When they learn that she is descended from a powerful line of witches whom Guillaume and his brothers have sworn to protect, Aude’s world gets more complicated.  Everything that was “normal” begins to change. Aude can’t pretend she’s a regular kid anymore.  Now she must learn how to harness her power and most importantly learn who she can trust.
I’ll admit, it took me a while to get into Redemption but that's because I was going through an annoying reading funk. While I liked the idea, I was feeling rather impatient for the story to move forward. So I decided to leave the book for a week and when I picked it up again, I did so with renewed enthusiasm. I began to appreciate how all the pieces were coming together and I felt chills when Aude and Guillaume discovered her heritage.

Launier telling the story from both perspectives helps to understand the confusion and apprehension that both of them feel throughout the book.  Aude is so used to being independent and being strong for her mother. Her single-mindedness about her band si what fuels her sense of purpose. So when Guillaume comes along, she’s hesitant about trusting him and leaning on him for support. Guillaume for his part has a past that’s weighed down by guilt and loss. In light of their discovery about her family, his problem becomes discerning if his attachment to Aude is love or obligation. Regardless, watching these two together is half the thrill in reading Redemption.
I think with its different locale and reference to the Iroquois culture and its Seventh Generation prophecy, Redemption adds a new flavor to the paranormal genre. It’s definitely worth the read. And after Aude and Guillaume have overcome their first hurdle, it's only a matter of time before things escalate. I’m looking forward to what’s next for this  new life Aude has entered in to.

~ Bel

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