Publication Date of Book: July 15, 2015
"You have to know the difference between what you truly know, and what seems real. You have to harden your mind to resist them. A heart and will of stone. That's our way."
Tiffany Noboru is your typical determined, family loving, yet insecure girl with the usual ups and downs . . . except for the fact that she's dead. That's right! Tiffany was unjustly murdered by a sinister ghost by the name of Bones. Stripped from our world one night in a sudden act of malice, Tiffany awakens from death in a new world where all is like nothing she has ever seen before. To make matters even more confusing for Tiffany, massive wings have sprouted from her back. People around her are just as peculiar. Some individuals have wings, some have tails, some have both wings and tails, and some have neither of these assets. Certain individuals have skin like marble, as well, in all different types of colors. Welcome to the land of the gargoyles!
Now the clumsy Tiffany must learn how to fly, fit in with those her own age in her appointed housing unit, deal with the loss of never getting to see her family again, and come to terms with her own tragic demise. Then, Franklin comes into the picture. Franklin is Tiffany's instructor who is to help her learn the ways of the gargoyles, their history, and how to fight. Oh, and now she's being drafted into the Gargoyle Ghost Hunter Corps. The gargoyles have been given the duty to protect the human world by hunting the ghosts who terrorize it, which they have been doing dutifully for years. Franklin is one of the best of the best at hunting ghosts, and when Bones is the new target for him, things get a little chaotic. This ancient ghost has a driving desire to destroy the gargoyle world.
Tiffany thought her old life could be complicated! Will she find a way to fit in with her new peers? Can this young girl ever find a way to contact her loving parents on the other side? Is Bones going to destroy the gargoyles forever? Or is someone going to step up to the plate and destroy him once and for all? Tiffany has lots on her mind, and one of these many thoughts is figuring out how to keep Bones from killing her again. So, if you want to figure out what happens, pick up a copy of Girlgoyle and find out!
Together, C and I have read several books by Better Hero Army, and we have two things to say about him. The first being that this book proves he is easily competent of being a diverse writer who can pen for all different ages, as well as explore all different genres with great detail and description. Secondly, he never disappoints us! Each and every one of his novels is a work of art that we love to delve into, exploring every little detail.
Girlgoyle was an original, fantasy/paranormal read that was chock-full of fascinating characters, possessing various, defining personalities and backgrounds, especially Tiffany who was of Japanese descent. On top of this, the world building was absolutely beautiful. The settings in this book, particularly where the gargoyles live, were skillfully portrayed. (Our favorite was the secret garden!) His fluid writing allowed us to easily depict and portray scenes in our mind's eye without confusion.
Tiffany, the main protagonist, was a delight to read about. We both connected with her in a special way for several reasons. To start off with, she was clumsy and awkward but still strong-willed which we could easily identify with. It's the story of our lives, in fact! Also, while it was not an entirely huge part of the novel, the sense of family/friendship between Tiffany and her parents and eventually Tiffany and Franklin, was extremely touching. Family comes in all different shapes and sizes, and Better Hero Army did an excellent job of painting that.
Also, we were interested to see just how the gargoyle universe differed from our own world, and we were happy to see that there was an equal balance between the supernatural elements unknown to Tiffany and yet a norm that could be translated between her old life and her new one. For example, the girls that Tiffany had to room with are just like the ones you'd meet in any other setting. Some are rude, judgmental, meddlesome, and cruel while others are caring, shy, and friendly. It definitely felt like something that was universal for teens, something that everyone could understand or relate too, especially because of high school.
Several other notable qualities incorporated into this novel were determination, courage, and dedication, all simulated by Tiffany herself. Yes, she was not the most coordinated individual, but she still practiced her flying even when people called her out on how horrible she was at it. It's true that she was small and awkward, but her bravery made her seem larger than life. It's also undeniable that she was forever separated from her family, but she still stayed dedicated to them and thought about them often.
Of course, we can't leave you without mentioning the twenty wonderful illustrations by Miimork. They expressed a manga-like feel that the two of us absolutely fell in love with! There's no denying how much Christian and I are obsessed with manga and anime. Miimork, to us at least, was slightly reminiscent of the exquisite Kazue Kato (Blue Exorcist). Miimork's illustrations presented a spectacular opportunity for us, as readers, to see the story come to life on an entirely different level!
The action and adventure packed into this book is plentiful and sure to keep MG and YA readers satisfied as they rip right through it. We hope that everyone can see what a crowd-pleaser that this book actually is. Better Hero Army wowed us yet again! This author has promising talent that you just have to check out! He set up Gargoyle so that it could open up an entire world of possibilities for sequels that we can't wait to hear about.
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