BLOOD FROM STONE is, at least for now, the last novel in the Retrievers series by Laura Anne Gilman. This is another of those series that I initially picked up out of desperation for anything to read that might interest me, and no kick-ass female science fiction was available.
It's a modern urban fantasy with a romantic sub-plot. And that's usually not my thing. But I felt myself drawn in by the fantastic characterization of both the main and supporting characters. And characters ARE my thing. Wren is a kick-ass, no-nonsense thief struggling to maintain her sanity. Sergei is the man with the dark past who knows exactly how to treat a woman, or at least works hard to get it right. (I fell in love with him even as Wren struggled to determine her own feelings.) The supporting cast has depth of its own. PB, for example, seems at first like your typical wise-cracking tough guy New Yorker (in addition to being a demon). But there's a sensitive side to him that is fully revealed in BLOOD FROM STONE. (We see hints of it in earlier books.)
The plot of this final story is fast-paced and ties up several loose ends. There's plenty of excitement and action to satisfy my adventure-loving side. Personally, I would have liked to see the romance play an even bigger part in this last installment, but I suppose that never was Gilman's primary focus.
The most impressive element is the growth one can see in all the characters from book one to this ending. Wren and Sergei mature. They learn about each other and themselves and the magic-filled world around them. Dynamic characters sell novels. I won't give away spoilers here, but I feel like I've grown with these characters.
I know Gilman's intention is to focus on another aspect of the same universe but with different characters. I'm sure they will be just as entertaining in their own rights, given Gilman's great skill in this aspect and in world building. But I will miss Wren and Sergei, especially Sergei.