The Gargoyle at the Gates, by Philippa Downing

One never knows what will end up on one's Cybils reading list--The Gargoyle at the Gates, Philippa Downing (from the Canadian publisher Dundrun, 2012) was a nice surprise.

Once, long ago, a great artist made a small number of living gargoyles.  They were scattered, and some feared lost, but slowly they  have been gathered back together by the descendant of their creator, who protects them in his English garden (with trips to the local churchyard).  Two ended up in Canada, where they were befriend by a human girl, Katherine, as told in the first books of this series (The Gargoyle in My Yard, and The Gargoyle Overhead). 

By the time this book begins, Gargoth and Ambergine, the two Canadian gargoyles are living in a small city park, pretending, on occasion, to be real stone gargoyles.    A boy named Christopher, new to town, and seeking respite from his happy crowded home, finds the little park....and meets the gargoyles.  Unfortunately, the gargoyles are being hunted down by a ruthless collector (who is a bit too foggy and unequivocally evil to quite work for me).  Christopher and Katherine must try to save the gargoyles from his ruthless clutches, and save the little park they call home. 

I wish that I had read the first two books before reading this one, because the beginning would have worked better if I had known more of the backstory, but after that initial roughness, I enjoyed it quite a bit. The two urban gargoyles are charming and interesting, and it was a pleasure spending time with them.  The growth of the friendship between Christopher and Katherine balanced the fantastical nicely.

If I ever encounter the first two books, I'll snap them up.  I think my personal target audience member, and any young fan of the "mythical creatures living among us" sub-genre would enjoy them lots.  Though originally published in Canada, they are available at Amazon in the US.

Review copy received from the publisher for Cybils consideration.

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