After being tricked into opening the doorway to the Demon Realm by Aliette, the Wood Queen, Donna Underwood is faced with a terrible ultimatum from the newly released demon hordes. They demand that the alchemists deliver the Philosopher's Stone, or their reaper storm will plunge the world into a devastating modern-day Dark Age.
Donna is sent to London, England, where she must complete her alchemist's training and learn how to recreate the Stone. But time is running out. Between facing the vengeful demon king, Demian, and collecting the Stone's elements, Donna realizes she must give her own life in order to succeed. And this time, even braving death may not be enough to save the world.
After the shocking blow of the previous installment, Donna Underworld was left scrambling to find a way to close the doorway that allowed the demons to escape their realm. But then the Demon King issues an ultimatum, deliver the Philosopher's Stone or humanity will perish in two days time. Problem is that no one remembers how to fully create the stone. Faced with an impossible task, Donna will have to use every bit of strength and ingenuity she has, or humanity is doomed, and every one she loves along with it.
The pacing and path of THE STONE DEMON's plot was rather frustrating for me. The beginning was terribly slow and everything seems to be in limbo. I get that those down times are a part of life, but I just felt like it took up too much of the book, especially when you consider just how rushed the last 1/3 of the book is. I think that rushed ending is what frustrated me more than anything. All this time was spent setting up the idea that the war coming would have all but impossible odds to surmount. So when it was finally time to start tackling the quest to stop the war, I had been expecting to be dazzled by the way Donna overcomes her obstacles. To put it mildly, I wasn't. At all. Each new task, supposedly harder than the last, well the solution just happens to fall right into her lap and it was instantly onto the next. I just felt it really cheapened the victory a little more each time since it was just too easy. I just think more time could have been spent on the latter part of the book instead of the buildup, because as it stands, there was a whole lot of unfulfilled feelings.
THE STONE DEMON had several conflictions, or things that didn't quite jive for me. The romance for one, felt token at best. I mean Donna and Xan barely got any time together, and their relationship was supposed to be strained due to Xan's secrecy. But the secrets and the reason for them were never fully revealed. I just feel that if there is an issue, it needs to be addressed at some point in the book, otherwise I'm left wondering what was the point. Another confliction was the timeline of the Demon King's demands. If he legitimately wanted an item, than it makes no sense to have his odd be insurmountable. And if he wanted her to actually fail, then why bother setting the demands in the first place? Finally, there also was a continuity issue involving something in the epilogue.
It was implied that Donna had a plan for how to bring down the demons
due to something she read. But throughout the book, that was obviously
not the case as she was winging everything. Granted, I did read an ARC
copy, so perhaps some of these issues won't be in the final copy.
I have to say that I've felt really left down by the last two books in this trilogy. I loved THE IRON WITCH, so it was rather disappointing that things didn't pan out. I'm just going to chalk this one up to a loss, but I'll still be checking out more of Karen Mahoney's work in the future.
(Received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley)