Book Review: Heart of Stone

Heart of Stone by Ben Galley

Merciless. Murderer. Monster. He has been called many names in his time.

Built for war and nothing else, he has witnessed every shade of violence humans know, and he has wrought his own masterpieces with their colours. He cared once, perhaps, but far too long ago. He is bound to his task, dead to the chaos he wreaks for his masters.

Now, he has a new master to serve and a new war to endure. In the far reaches of the Realm, Hartlund tears itself in two over coin and crown. This time he will fight for a boy king and a general bent on victory.

Beneath it all he longs for change. For something to surprise him. For an end to this cycle of warfare.

Every fighter has a last fight. Even one made of stone.

The last book I read by Ben Galley was Bloodrush an western inspired story. A wild one to say the least! Anyway this February I received an email if I was interested to read his latest book, Heart of Stone. How can I deny a story of a golem? What I could make out of from the blurb is that it wouldn't only be story about making war but also one for making a change and finding peace. 

On to the story. The book itself opens pretty graphic, a few small stories tell about events that happened in the past right before the book fast forwards. And you meet Task. A simple name yet it describes his purpose. Task is the main protagonist of the book, the stone man, the golem. Task was build thousands of year ago and is "handed down" by contracts to new people. This is precisely where Task finds himself yet again. He is sent to the warring frontlines again to make sure that he will topple it in its favor again. He is the most powerful weapon you can imagine...

So when his latest master Huff Dartrigde only sees Task as yet another piece to win the war, Task starts to reflect and he already has had quite the time to think about it. Task is becoming to understand that he finally wants respite and stop fighting. (maybe also demons of his own)?

Great things are coming Task way though. Since he is seen as equipment he is being put into a small shed to sleep and rest. Here he already makes a new friend immediately, a girl named Lesky, a girl who sees more in Task. Lesky asks questions that make Task think and even though he answers them with words like because and only simpel yes and no and it always has been like that. There is still that seed is being watered. 

One thing that I particularly liked about this book was the fresh air that Ben Galley blew through the whole story. Of course this isn't the first book about a thing with feelings but it is executed in a very, very good way. The first thing that you will notice about these Stone Man is that they are held in awe and feared. So you would naturally assume that they are rough and like to beat up things. And this is where Task at least is different, from the start he could be a human being. Showing Task in this daylight made for me at least, to make an easy connection with the character. Which is further bolstered by the relations he makes. 

Lets not forget though that beside the human/emotional aspects, there is still the war that going on. In the description of the battles that take place, Ben Galley doesn't spare you any detail. They are big and brutal and in your face. They really show how ugly this side is and if you have been doing this for hundreds of years, making that final decision might get easier by the day. 

Some of the writing style that I got acquainted with in Bloodrush is seen back in Heart of Stone. Mainly the engaging writing style that will get you hooked on the story even further. 

All in all Ben Galley imagines an original world and a truly engaging story. Making a proclaimed monster, have thoughts and a conscious, gives a definitely new prespective and certain depth to Heart of Stone. What a ride!


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