To me, the Talisman character was too snidely Whiplash for the modern soyboy age. His bluster held no charm. Love Garn, and wish I could have got more of its Gargoyle perspective. The first para or two from this stone cold pov was out of sight.
Also need more bang right away or even deeper character insights. What I got was neither. The extended dialogue at the cabaret was, dare I say, tedious.
The giant serpent intervention was telegraphed. Which is OK, but I just needed more. I'd have really liked this, I think, if you'd stayed focused more on Gran's POV and insights. The stone metaphor could have been mined for gold, not just scratched around the surface. And so, I am going to have to pass on this for now.
I wish you the best of luck and look forward to doing business with you in the future.