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Hard as Stone by Rory ni Coileain
Fae, magic, romance, soul mates (of a sort)‐ what’s not to love? That’s why I originally requested this book for review. But I hadn’t heard very much about this book, and I’d never read the author before, so I didn’t go into it with too many expectations. I just wasn’t really sure what I was getting into.
Turns out this book wasn’t really what I expected at all. It starts with one of our main characters, Tiernan. He’s a fae who, right in the first couple of pages, is accused of murdering his brother and is exiled to the human realm. When he’s exiled, his soul splits in half. The other half of his soul… I don’t know, spins off into the ether? Kind of. And Tiernan knows that half of his soul will eventually come to rest in a person, but Tiernan doesn’t know who it will be, and is pretty dead set against finding that person.
The other half of Tiernan’s soul goes to a human, Kevin. And the two meet in a club one night and Tiernan realizes right away what’s happening, while Kevin starts to fall for Tiernan. But things get even more complicated when an ancient enemy starts trying to get to Tiernan through Kevin, and Kevin starts encountering some pretty serious problems at work.
I really thought this story was going to be about the complexities of falling in love with someone who, literally, shares half of your soul. I thought it was a really interesting concept and I wanted to read about how Tiernan and Kevin navigate that. But the book wasn’t really much about that at all. It was about them falling in love, but it was also had a really action‐y, exciting plot that I wasn’t expecting at all. And I guess… I was a little disappointed. Which is my fault, not the book’s fault, for expecting it to be something it wasn’t. I just thought the soul sharing deserved a bit more consideration, especially since it felt… a bit narcissistic to me. But again, that’s really my problem, and not the book’s.
What the book actually was, though, was… surprisingly great. I say surprisingly because there are a lot of flaws here. Big ones, small ones. And this was one of those books that I felt a bit guilty reading, because it was kind of like stuffing a big piece of cake in my mouth. It was really good cake. I guess I felt like I probably should have been eating something more nutritious than cake, though. I mean, sometimes the things that were going on just… didn’t make any sense to me‐ action! But I don’t know why the action is happening! Trauma! But I’m not sure what happened to cause it! …Things like that.
But… but I love cake. Cake holds a valuable place for me. And this book did, too. Who needs more nutritious books? This was sweet and not light, really, at all, but a bit fluffy in places, and sometimes things happened that were wholly, as far as I could see, pointless and solved nothing, but who cares. It was fun and exciting and completely entertaining.
To be fair, there were some things that really did bother me. First, sex stuff‐ no spoilers, but if you don’t want to read about this… Tiernan and Kevin never use condoms. I know, I know, condoms are annoying, and Tiernan does say at one point that because he’s fae, he can’t carry or get any diseases. But if I were Kevin, I would have absolutely insisted, at the very least during the first time before they ever talk about it, and it bothered me that he didn’t even think about it. Also, I’m pretty sure that… oh god, someone hand me a paper bag for my head… I’m pretty sure than anal sex isn’t… that easy. This couple never uses lube, they never do much prep, and this… just doesn’t sound like fun sex to me. It sounds uncomfortable at the least and, in reality, probably extremely painful.
Moving on. More nitpicking. I’m pretty sure it’s winter on the East Coast of the USA when the story takes place, but both men tend to… not wear shirts. Ever, if they can help it, it seems. Even when they go out. And hey, all right, maybe you don’t want to wear a shirt at a club, but wouldn’t you probably put one on just to get there? So you didn’t freeze to death?
Finally, I was really bothered by the way the author constantly referred to both characters as males. Not that they weren’t. I mean, it was the context. “Tiernan replayed the other male’s last utterance…” “Not the behavior of a male who was trying to keep deep dark secrets from his lover.” “How many times had he begged this male not to love him?” I just… It sounded very clinical. And kind of animalistic. I just didn’t understand why the author didn’t use the word ‘man’ instead.
But honestly, these were all things that, for this book at least, I pushed aside, because it was so entertaining. I actually couldn’t put it down. I did feel that, at the end, Tiernan became a bit of a different character, but perhaps that’s excusable within the context of the story. Either way, I’d definitely read more by this author in the future. It was too enjoyable not to.
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