Hard as Stone by B.B. Morgan

Book Blurb:

Seventeen-year-old Raven Thane wants an adventure…and she’s going to get one. Just not the way that she expected. Bored and disinterested with a routine life in her remote underground community, she fails to notice a thief during her turn at guard duty. Zander, a charming sharpshooter, tasks her with helping him retrieve the mysterious stolen item. Posing as a couple on the road, they’ll face deadly automatons and Gray Elite soldiers, entangle themselves in a complicated world of spies and freedom fighters, and hide secrets of their own. Can Raven fix her mistake and prove herself more than a simple country girl? Or will she create even more chaos?

I received a copy of this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

AnnaScott’s Review:

If you have read any of my reviews, you will know that unpredictability is one of my big things for books, especially if they’re in the fantasy genre. Hard as Stone is based on a world with automatons, so it definitely met this criteria. The world building involved was impressive and original, combining fantasy with sci-fi. Kind of like a combination of the different planets in Star Wars minus aliens and space? It also reminded me of Fawkes by Nadine Brandes, minus the history. There really is no good comparison that I know of, which is a plus in my book.

I was a bit dismayed by the characters at first, as there was the whole ‘naïve girl goes on adventure with wise and experienced man who rescues her all the time’ thing, but I was pleasantly surprised by the ending. Raven didn’t have any newfound powers or anything extreme like that, but she still played a key role. I also really appreciated that, while some had special powers, Raven was not among them. B.B. Morgan broke so many of the clichés common to this genre, and it was really refreshing. My only complaint with the characters is that I would have loved to get to know them more. The book is so full of action that we don’t really get to see them in a way that goes beyond the immediate circumstances.

There are only a few things I would caution readers on. The first is that there is a smattering of language throughout the story. It isn’t frequent, and it is all mild, but there is still some. The second thing is that some of the characters use a lesbian relationship as a cover for their work as spies. It is a super minor part of the plot, and nothing is given in detail. Finally, there are several scenes with partial nudity and discussions of drugs and alcohol.

Overall it was an intriguing book. I was kept on my toes, and had no idea how it was going to end.

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