Hi everyone! Today is a bit exciting: my first time participating in a blog tour! Thank you to the lovely people at The Write Reads for letting me join in. So for the tour I’m reviewing Ben Galley’s standalone novel The Heart of Stone. Our main character is Task; a nine foot, 400 year old Golem, the last of his kind, who is sent to fight in a bloody civil war. He is sent to fight on the side of the Truehards, the king and his nobility, against the Last Fading who are mainly merchants and workers. After fighting in so many battles throughout the years, Task is a very jaded figure, refusing to let anyone get close to him. But things start to change when he meets a plucky girl called Lesky in the king’s camp.
Some people might remember I reviewed Galley’s Chasing Graves a couple of months back and really enjoyed it. The Heart of Stone might top the other novel for me, probably because it is a complete narrative. Galley really takes his time to build this world and immerse the reader in it. The pacing is quite slow which will be a turn off for some readers, but I found it really effective. You get to know these characters so well that you really connect with them and are sympathetic to their plights. Even when they are on opposing sides, you want them to survive this incredibly brutal war. The slow pace lets Galley look at themes such as politics, which I found intriguing. The reader also discovers more about the world through Task’s flashbacks, such as its history and religion. These snippets help provide the reader with information without interrupting the flow of the plot, as well as add a bit of mystery about Task’s past. The ins and outs of this world can be confusing at first, but I think readers will quickly pick them up.
The highlight of the novel was the relationship between Task and Lesky. It was such a sweet, funny, tender friendship – a contrast to the bloody warfare and political intrigue. Both characters develop due to their connection to one another and it was nice to watch their arcs. Task and Lesky have incredibly difficult (and different!) backgrounds but have this amazing strength which is admirable. You can’t help but root for them. Secondary characters as well are fleshed out, such as Alabast, a knight tasked with killing the Golem (no pun intended). You get to know him really well, which makes you conflicted whenever the Truehards and Last Fading clash; you want both of them to succeed.
Overall, if you like fantasy then you’ll enjoy The Heart of Stone and Galley’s other works. Whilst the slow pace might be off-putting to some, I enjoyed getting myself lost in the world of the Realms. Coupled with entertaining characters and Galley’s evocative writing, The Heart of Stone is a very fun fantasy read.
The Heart of Stone is published independently and you can find more information here.
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