Title: The Druid Stone
Authors: Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane
Publisher: Carina Press
Amazon Buy Link: The Druid Stone
Length: Novel (117000 words/278 pages)
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A guest review by Sirius.
Summary: I really enjoyed this fantasy/romance overall, but some plot turns confused me.
Sean never asked to be an O’Hara, and he didn’t ask to be cursed by one either.
After inheriting a hexed druid stone from his great-grandfather, Sean starts reliving another man’s torture and death…every single night. And only one person can help.
Cormac Kelly runs a paranormal investigation business and doesn’t have time to deal with misinformed tourists like Sean. But Sean has real magic in his pocket, and even though Cormac is a descendant of legendary druids, he soon finds himself out of his depth…and not because Sean’s the first man he’s felt anything for in a long time.
The pair develop an unexpected and intensely sexual bond, but are threatened at every turn when Sean’s case attracts the unwelcome attention of the mad sidhe lords of ancient Ireland. When Sean and Cormac are thrust backward in time to Ireland’s violent history—and their own dark pasts—they must work together to escape the curse and save their fragile relationship.
I loved the writing in this story, it was very beautiful, which I have come to expect from this writing partnership. In fact up till the story hit 42-43 percentage mark on my kindle, it was pure reading bliss for me – perfection.
Here we have the guys whose connection may be fast, but not quite Instant, believable, lovely, really beautiful. I got the sense of who Sean and Cormac were very fast in the story, and I appreciated that they felt like fully fleshed characters right from the beginning. As you can imagine from the blurb, Sean is not in the best shape due to what is happening to him and is trying to find the ways to solve his problem and him coming to Cormac made perfect sense to me. Due to who Cormac is, I guess due to his calling, it makes perfect sense that the story is deeply rooted in magic and mythology. I am *not* the sort to complain about magic and mythology in the story. My knowledge of Irish mythology is almost non-existent (I know some basics here and there but no more than that), but I appreciated that the authors were not talking down to me and if I wanted to learn about names and places they referenced I could look it up for myself. I do not think that not knowing much about Irish mythology would stop you from enjoying the story, - I know it did not stop me – just prepare yourself that magical beings and events play important external obstacles to the main characters’ happiness and if that is okay with you, you will probably be fine.
I did run however in the certain problem related to the humongously important role magic and mythos played in the story that as I said that started roughly less than in the middle of it. I feel guilty saying it, simply because this book IMO was so exquisitely crafted, prose wise, but I wish that authors took more time to explain what was actually happening in the book when magical beings got involved (see the blurb to find out which magical beings).
Now you would ask me whether it contradicts what I wrote above – that I appreciated that authors were not talking down to me, and I will answer you – not in the slightest. I do not need an explanation of what those characters are, what was their role in the mythos, I however do need a clear explanation of the actions our characters take in *this* story and sometimes I felt it was lacking. For example – and I am going to try to keep this example as vague as I possibly can - at some point of the story some people are going on a saving expedition to save somebody else from the evil magical clutches. We learn about how dangerous such an expedition is and that those characters may never come back alive, how complicated it could be, etc, etc. So, when they go where they go, at some point the character they were trying to save just *appears* on the page with them. I had to stop, reread and still ended up feeling that I missed something awfully important, because while the expedition was not done at that point, they still had to get out of there, the *getting him from evil clutches* portion was apparently skipped? I get really annoyed when anticipation and build up happen and no actual scene is given. Another example was about a wonderful, wonderful female character which the authors gave us in this story. Let’s just say that some things that were happening to her were *really* confusing to me. I loved her so very much and her motivations were clear enough though.
I wonder if the authors did not consider those explanations to be important; after all the relationship between Sean and Cormac was very clear to me and so very awesome, but in this story settings play such an important role. - It is an exciting adventure too, not just a romance, that I wish they would consider sometimes going an extra step and explaining this extra step in the logical chain which may have been clear to them in their heads but not to some readers (me).
The personal interactions between Sean and Cormac were for the most part wonderful – I thought that Cormac’s initial reaction was believable, I give huge props to the authors for the teasing me with possible separation due to misunderstanding, but instead one of the guys realizing it almost right away and rushing to resolve it. Of course there are separations but those all made sense to me. I also loved how wonderful and believable both characters’ growth was throughout the story – the changes are subtle, but quite visible and to me those are the best ones.
And have I mentioned how very much I loved the female character? Because I really did – so much. It is too bad I cannot talk much about her without spoiling important plot points, but she was so human, mostly likeable, strong, but not perfect by all means and sometimes wanting things for herself, which is of course to me how most human beings would react.