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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WWW Wednesday – December 23rd, 2020

Happy Festivus! It’s Wednesday which means another WWW Wednesday. I’m answering the three questions below. Let me know your answers in the comments or share on your own blog!

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore. I was very excited to pick this up at my library since I read Bringing Down the Duke at the beginning of the year and loved it.

What did you recently finish reading?

I just finished Air Awakens by Elise Kova. It is book one of the Air Awakens series. Overall, I really enjoyed it. I think it had some really great world building and I loved Vhalla and Prince Aldrik. It has some similarities to the Shadow and Bone trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, but isn’t a carbon copy.

What do you think you will read next?

I think I’ll be reading the next in the Bargainer series, Strange Hymn by Laura Thalassa. I loved Rhapsodic and completely devoured it. So I’m excited to see where this series goes, and see how Callie and Desmond relationship develops.

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Review: Rhapsodic (The Bargainer #1) by Laura Thalassa

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“Callypso Lillis is a siren with a very big problem, one that stretches up her arm and far into her past. For the last seven years she’s been collecting a bracelet of black beads up her wrist, magical IOUs for favors she’s received. Only death or repayment will fulfill the obligations. Only then will the beads disappear.

Everyone knows that if you need a favor, you go to the Bargainer to make it happen. He’s a man who can get you anything you want … at a price. And everyone knows that sooner or later he always collects.

But for one of his clients, he’s never asked for repayment. Not until now. When Callie finds the fae king of the night in her room, a grin on his lips and a twinkle in his eye, she knows things are about to change. At first it’s just a chaste kiss—a single bead’s worth—and a promise for more.

For the Bargainer, it’s more than just a matter of rekindling an old romance. Something is happening in the Otherworld. Fae warriors are going missing one by one. Only the women are returned, each in a glass casket, a child clutched to their breast. And then there are the whispers among the slaves, whispers of an evil that’s been awoken.

If the Bargainer has any hope to save his people, he’ll need the help of the siren he spurned long ago. Only, his foe has a taste for exotic creatures, and Callie just happens to be one.” 

REVIEW:

So this was recommended to me after I finished From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout and was looking to fill that void. It is a New Adult Fantasy Romance. This book was exactly what I needed right now, and after finishing it I definitely want to read other books by Laura Thalassa.

Fair warning, the topics of rape, sexual assault, and abuse in general are a recurring topic throughout this book, and I would assume the series.

Rhapsodic hooks you in right from the start, the set up is just perfect. Throughout the book we alternate time lines. Present time, and seven years ago when The Bargainer (or Desmond) and Callie first met. This really helps to build their relationship and you discover how important Desmond and Callie are to each other. The book’s strongest feature is their relationship. I absolutely loved it and it gets bit steamy which is also great.

I wish there had been more world building in this novel. I wanted to know so much more about the Otherworld and the magic beings in general. This book just gave an overview or basic understanding so you wouldn’t be completely confused once the action moved there. I’m hoping that this world will be expanded on in the other books, so fingers crossed for more world building. Besides Callie and Desmond the other characters in the story aren’t really fleshed out which I think hurts it a little as well. That being said, I still really enjoyed this book and couldn’t put it down. This also caused me to fly through this book too.

Overall, if you are a fan of Sarah J. Maas or Jennifer L. Armentrout, you will enjoy this book. Honestly, I’m a sucker for Fantasy with some romance mixed in and if you are to, you should check this out.

RATING: 4/5

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