The Lebrus Stone: Book One by Miriam Khan
Publisher: Rogue Phoenix Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (266 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: 2.5 stars
Review by: Poinsettia
When eighteen-year-old orphan, Crystal Valdez, accepts an invitation to the small town of Blacksville, West Virginia, she hopes to have a summer to remember and a chance to learn more about her parents, to also get to know the family she never knew existed.
But the Lockes begin to act strange and erratic; eerie movements in the night fuel her vivid and gruesome nightmares. To complicate her summer further, she becomes attracted to the menacing yet handsome Cray Locke: her none blood related cousin.
He seems determined to keep his distance. The only bonus to her trip seems to be the housekeeper and gardener.
And when a local informs Crystal of the secrets buried at Thorncrest Manor, the kind consisting of a forbidden relationship and a war between hidden worlds, and witchcraft, she must decide whom to trust. Even if it means leaving behind those she has come to love.
Does Crystal really want to be a part of the Locke family?
To say that Crystal has had a rough life would be a massive understatement. She has endured more loss than anyone so young should ever have to suffer. My heart ached for her and I found myself hoping that this young woman would find some happiness. When Isobel, her long lost aunt, walks into her life, Crystal is excited about the prospect of having a family and a place to belong. She follows Isobel to Thorncrest Manor hoping to learn more about her family and the parents she never knew. Unfortunately, Crystal’s dreams soon turn to nightmares. Strange things start happening at Thorncrest, and Crystal even begins to question her sanity. Crystal’s quest for information might cost her everything she holds dear.
Crystal is a very complicated young woman, and it seems as if all her relationships, whether platonic or romantic, are complicated as well. Her relationship with Cray is no exception. I must admit that I had a very hard time getting into their relationship. He gives her absolutely no reason to like him. When he isn’t outright ignoring her, he insults her, and yet for some reason Crystal is unbelievably attracted to him and quickly begins falling in love with him. Their interactions were nearly always uncomfortable, and it took a very long time for them to open up to each other. I was relieved when they finally began having more normal interactions, but this feeling was short lived. Crystal couldn’t relax in the relationship. She was constantly doubting Cray’s affection for her. They would have a good heart to heart, and then literally in the next minute she’d get upset or jealous and they would be back to fighting again. Trying to follow all their mood swings was truly exhausting.
I really question Crystal’s decision to stay at Thorncrest Manor. From her very first day there, it soon becomes apparent that something is very wrong with the Locke family. Not only is Isobel acting like a completely different woman, but Crystal has vivid, violent nightmares and is possibly being tormented by ghosts. Crystal tries to rationalize all the strange things that happen, but very unconvincingly. I know that Crystal is a smart girl. She wouldn’t have survived everything that has happened to her if she didn’t have a good head on her shoulders, but anyone in their right mind would have left after the first few days. Crystal really wants to know more about her parents, but it quickly becomes clear that Isobel has no intention of giving Crystal any more information. I just had a hard time believing that Crystal had a compelling reason to stay in a situation that was becoming increasingly volatile.
When Crystal’s eyes are finally opened to the reality of the Locke family and her connection to them, Crystal is constantly in danger. Graphic violence is prevalent throughout the last half of the book. I found it very hard to read. There are also some descriptions of rape that are disturbing as well. Readers particularly sensitive to this type of material are forewarned.
The last half of the book is very extreme. Crystal and those she cares about are tortured mentally and physically. I confess I had to put the book down at times because it was just too much. I pressed on because I clung to the hope that Crystal would find a way out and find some measure of happiness. However, the ending leaves a lot of questions unanswered. While Crystal is reunited with some of those she cares about, others are still in peril. I can only hope that Ms. Khan has a sequel in the works to soften the blow.
Reading The Lebrus Stone was an intense experience. Crystal is a well rounded character who deserves every shred of happiness she can find. Fans looking for a different kind of paranormal tale might want to give The Lebrus Stone a try.