Review: A Strange Hymn (The Bargainer #2) by Laura Thalassa

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“Siren and soulmate to the King of Night, Callypso Lillis survived the clutches of Karnon, the mad king, and his twisted prison. But the nightmare isn’t over. Callie wears the physical reminders of her time as a captive, and mounting evidence suggests the Thief of Souls is still out there.

When a fae celebration thrusts Callie and her mate, Desmond Flynn, into the Kingdom of Flora, they take their investigation with them. But under the bright lights and striking blooms of the realm, they find there are more immediate issues to deal with. No place is more uniquely savage than the great fae halls, and no amount of bargains can save Callie from royal intrigues.

Fairies play dangerous games. Some want love, some want vengeance, some want flesh, and some want things too unspeakable to utter. One thing is for sure: no one is who they appear to be. Not even Des, who only grows more enigmatic with every passing secret.

But the Kingdom of Flora has its own secrets, from bleeding trees to branded slaves and missing guards. Something is stirring in the land of all that grows, and if Callie isn’t careful, it will claim everything and everyone she loves—and her along with it.”

REVIEW:

It seems like once I pick up a book in The Bargainer Series, I can’t put it down. Just like Rhapsodic, I spent a couple of late nights reading A Strange Hymn. Just like the first book, the topics of rape, sexual assault, and abuse, in general, are recurring topics throughout this book.

A Strange Hymn picks up right where Rhapsodic left off. Callie has been rescued from the Kingdom of the Fauna, but now has to come to terms with the both mental and physical ramifications of her abduction. Callie also finds herself having to adjust to the fae world. Being Desmond’s mate means a lot of change for Callie, in a world that considers her an outsider. On top of that, Callie and Desmond still don’t have answers to the mystery surrounding the female soldiers trapped in an eternal sleep.

I really love Callie, she is able to be both strong and vulnerable. We really see her work through some stuff in this book, and I do think that Desmond is a good partner for her. I do wish he was a bit more forth-coming at times, but I get that he is a centuries-old fairy who has some trust issues. One of my big issues with the first book was that, for me, there wasn’t enough world-building. That problem was solved in this book. We were given a ton more detail about the Otherworld.

One issue did still lingers for me and it is that outside of Callie and Des, the characters aren’t very well developed. Temper is a big problem for me. She is Callie’s best friend, but she just feels like a caricature of a sassy best friend. Another issue was that I felt like this book moved a lot slower in the beginning. With Rhapsodic, I was hooked from the start. A Strange Hymn took a while to get to the action, but once the plot moved to the Flora Kingdom I was hooked.

Overall, A Strange Hymn is exactly what I’m looking for in a fantasy romance book. A strong heroine, a handsome romantic lead, and a good amount of smut. I have already downloaded Dark Harmony and will be reading it soon.

RATING: 4/5

If you have Kindle Unlimited, the entire Bargainer Series is available there!

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