The Gargoyle Prophecies is the first in what promises to be a series that centers around a most improbable heroine. Stefani is a virgin topless dancer and if that was not hard enough to believe, she is also the 'Chosen One' who will either lead the Gargoyles into a new age or bring doom down upon them.
Sure Stefani's life was never that great. Her mother died before her eyes and she never had a real father. Mostly she lives within strong walls she has created around herself hoping that one day she might be able to avenge her mother's brutal slaying. This dysfunctional world of hers becomes a Norman Rockwell dreamscape compared to the Hell she is drawn into when she discovers that not only do fearsome Gargoyles exist, but in less than a week, on her 21st birthday, she will become one.
That is more than enough to drive someone mad, but it doesn't stop there. The villains she encounters, and sometimes even her allies, play fierce tricks with her mind. Why does she fall to sleep in the middle of a fierce adventure only to wake up in her apartment like nothing has happened? Still this is better than when she wakes up in the psych ward.
This obviously makes her doubt her sanity. But, besides herself, who can she trust? Most of the people she meets either betray her or get killed before she can get to close or even hope to learn the truth about her mysterious destiny.
Stefani's life quickly becomes a whirlwind of dangerous encounters and unexplained events. Double crosses and strange déjà vu abound and for every answer there are five more questions. Soon the reader is also wondering if what we are reading is an account of her crazy life or just a trip through her tormented mind.
This book was a fun read, but there were a few places where I could predict what would happen next. Other things became a little routine. Stefani meets a new guy and he gets killed. Things get rough and she wakes up in the asylum again.
These issues are easy to overlook as the novel sweeps you into a new world where Gargoyles are the things that move in the darkness. Much like White Wolf and other vampire writers have done, Payne uses Gargoyles as a tool to explain myths and changes in history and it is enjoyable to allow yourself to be pulled along. I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys Urban or Dark Fantasy. It is nice to see something besides the 1000th new vampire book and Payne's unusual monsters deliver.