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Rabbi Fred Natkin
5.0 out of 5 starsGargoyles do not have stone hearts towards friends
Reviewed in the United States on November 22, 2020
A continuation in another rock solid vein of universal fiction. You can not take for granite the type of stones thrown at the young reporter. The adventures and discoveries with her friends lead her to a labyrinth of problems both literal and situational. Creative animals are not missing lynx. Okay, may be pun ished for review .
Reviewed in the United States on November 23, 2020
A fast paced tale of fighting for ones place in the world and facing the judgement of those around you. Kylie & Quinn once more find themselves in life or death situations and struggle to get through unscathed. Kylie's true heritage is revealed and now she must find a way to restore her peace.
5.0 out of 5 starsI was not disappointed with this book!
Reviewed in the United States on November 17, 2020
I waited anxiously to learn more about Kylie and Quinn. Quinn is the most perfect companion. Every time I read more about him I'm more in love with him. Kylie sometimes goes off half cocked but there is never a dull moment. Grant is still an undecipherable character. Does he care for Kylie, is she just a pain or is it just the dangerous situations they share? Yes, Nathan is still the bane of her existence. I am so excited for the next one, too.
Reviewed in the United States on November 25, 2020
I loved the characters and the story! I got a paperback copy, but Amazon would not accept a review unless I bought a copy from Amazon. I liked this so much, I went ahead and bought a copy for kindle. I really need one of those lynx. You won't go wrong spending an evening with Kylie!
Reviewed in the United States on November 20, 2020
Kylie Grayson has a debt that’s now come due, but with warped magic and a deadly labyrinth now surrounding her, she might not live to pay it off.
Journalism plus magic plus mythical creatures. I couldn’t resist. I mean, I don’t think I’ve stumbled across a fantasy where the main character is a journalist. Then again, I tend to turn more towards the epic high fantasy. But this one sounded like a lot of fun and full of adventure. And I was so right! Despite a somewhat slow start, it really picked up fast and it was so easy to just keep going.
The Plot: A Breathless Adventure
In the prequel Deadlines & Dryads, which isn’t strictly necessary to read the first book of the series, junior journalist Kylie Grayson ended up making a deal with a pretty scary harpy in order to keep her life. Now the harpy has come to claim the answer to her question: will Kylie obtain a rock called the Chiefmaker?
Unfortunately, the harpy declines to tell her its located in an until now warded off area called Lunacy Labyrinth. Once a settlement where the residents performed blood magic, and were then twisted because of it, it’s become a seriously dangerous and deadly place. But, with a mysterious murder stumping law enforcement, including a certain Captain Grant Monaghan, that’s lead back to the labyrinth, the ward is now down, and the harpy wants her treasure.
While clashing with the undeniably attractive Captain, Kylie has to keep her wits and her life in order to make it out of Lunacy Labyrinth to be out of the harpy’s debt. But there are murderers using blood magic out there…
The story starts out innocently enough with Kylie and a senior reporter at an everlasting tree about to bloom. Once the tree blooms, everyone around it makes a wish and is granted a seed that will guide the questioner to the answer as long as they follow the clues it provides. It’s probably the slowest part of the book, but likely sets up the rest of the series, which I can’t wait to read more of.
The rest of the book felt more fast-paced and Kylie never really manages to catch her breath. There’s both a lot of threads coming together and a fairly straightforward story. It moves in a very linear fashion that almost cries for all the action and adventure surrounding every moment of the story, but it really made me focus on the characters, the danger they were in, and the story of a group of people just trying to solve a murder and survive. I loved how all the layers worked together and complimented each other. Most of all, I loved how they were actually integral to the story and never forgotten, but, instead, added to the book.
I loved that they were never really clear of danger. There was always something popping up around the next bend. There was always something happening. It was almost a breathless adventure. But it also kept its focus. The characters never lost sight of what they were there for, and the seeds carried their own thread throughout the entire story, never forgotten and nicely advanced. Sometimes intense, sometimes funny, sometimes horrifying, it really swept me up and I raced to finish it to find out how it turned out.
The Characters: Fun and Well-Crafted
The prequel isn’t necessary to understand and enjoy Leads & Lynxes, but I really liked that it was a fun introduction to the main characters and their relationships. By the time I finished the prequel, I was ready and waiting to be sent Leads & Lynxes. The characters were a lot of fun and I loved how they worked together, or not.
Kylie is spunky and dogged when she catches the scent of a story. She actually reminded me of a somewhat more cautious Nancy Drew. Willing to do everything necessary to track down the story of a lifetime, she actually really is focused on doing something good for society. She’s also not afraid to wander into danger, though she doesn’t always know she is. Still, she remains poised and ready to help however she can. I really liked her and admired her bravery and loved just how human she felt.
Then there’s Quinn, her companion gargoyle. He’s young and almost feels a child, but is hopelessly devoted to Kylie, making her feel incredibly protective of him. Yet he also had his fun, and funny parts, offering some comic relief while also admirably performing his job. He’s clearly much more than a companion and I adored how close he and Kylie are.
Grant Monaghan is set up early on as Kylie’s love interest, though they easily bristle and nettle each other. They never seem to know quite which foot they stand with each other, but they still manage to remain professional. As a, essentially, law enforcement character, he’s very rigid and stern, but has a surprising soft and warm side. He’s a perfect balance and I adored all of his subtle cues, the little things that said so much about both him and what he might be thinking.
Overall, all of the characters, from the bloodthirsty murderers to Kylie’s professional rival to Grant’s team, are wonderfully crafted. They’re unique and interesting and I feel like they have lives of their own off the pages. While some of them did blend together a little too much, it was just because they weren’t seen much. I liked how a manageable number of characters was introduced, but wasn’t overwhelming because the nature of the story focuses the reader down to a handful, though I hope to get to know them better in future books. Also, I loved the lynxes. They were fabulous and had so much character.
The Setting: A Perfect Blend of Fascinating and Scary
Most of Leads & Lynxes is set in Lunacy Labyrinth, but the reader also gets a nice peek into Terra Haven and a chaotic camp around the everlasting tree. Each of them had it’s own unique flavor and character. The labyrinth was indeed crazy, and more than a little scary. Terra Haven felt like a city taken from a traditional fantasy novel and then had a healthy dose of modern big city mixed in. The camp was a little crazy, but, as a reader, I could almost feel the anticipation thick in the air as beings from all over traveled for the chance to ask a question.
I was delighted by Terra Haven in the prequel and was hoping to see more of it in this novel. While I might have been disappointed, Terra Haven still managed to charm me and felt both familiar and foreign in a really lovely way. If I could, I think I’d like to take a trip over.
Once Kylie was dropped in Lunacy Labyrinth, I figured most of the book would take place there and was slightly disappointed as I had hoped for a more adventurous adventure. There were so many secrets, so many literal twists and turns. I both wanted to get out and to explore more. It’s haunting and terrifying, but also so incredibly well-crafted.
Overall: Offers a Little of Everything
I haven’t read any of Rebecca Chastain’s novels before, and there is another series set in Terra Haven, but I was impressed with this novel and adored the characters and Terra Haven so much that I can’t wait to read the next book. The characters, the world, and the story worked so well together. The relationships were fun, and the one between Kylie and Quinn is just so sweet. Leads & Lynxes is an excellent start to the series, offering adventure, magic, friendship, a truly spunky heroine, and a hint of romance.
Thank you to the author, Rebecca Chastain, for a review copy. All opinions expressed are my own.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 2, 2020
Once again Ms Rebecca Chastain produces a masterpiece! The imaginative use of words to describe the world of Firebirds and Gargoyles, a determined heroine overcoming seemingly overwhelming odds to arrive, not unscathed at journeys end, yet remaining indomitable, apparently ready to do it all again! The introduction of Firebirds , a master stroke I feel! Happily anticipating the next of Ms Chastain's books. I may have gotten a wee bit excited here but it's quite normal after reading one of Ms Chastain's books to become somewhat exalted!
4.0 out of 5 starsA quick and fun read with plenty of action
Reviewed in Australia on January 6, 2021
4 Stars My personal rating system
1 Star Couldn't finish the book 2 Stars Didn't really like the book, but was interested enough in the story to finish (Skipping great chunks) 3 Stars The book was okay, finished it and will consider reading more from the author 4 Stars Really enjoyed the book, will check out others by this author 4 1/2 Stars Loved the book, will immediately check out others by author, if asked will recommend book 5 Stars LOVED the book, will immediately check out all others by author, will pre-emptively recommend book to ALL my book friends
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will be checking out the authors other books looking for more of the same.
I loved the Gargoyle Chronicles and was unsure about this spin off series. However I really enjoyed this book. It still features the same characters but from the best friend and reporter Kylie's point of view. Fast paced with action packed storyline which makes it hard to put down. A great new series. Highly recommend.