BOOK REVIEW: CURSE OF THE WOLF KING BY TESSONJA ODETTE

the book cover for House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J Maas
  • STAR RATING:  3 stars
    PAGE LENGTH: 356 pages
  • WHAT SERIES? Entangled with the Fae Series
  • WHAT BOOK DO I START WITH? Curse of the Wolf King
  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? 4
  • DATE PUBLISHED:  April 7th 2021
  • PUBLISHER: Crystal Moon Press
    CONTENT WARNINGS: Sexism, sexual content, bullying, panic attacks, kidnapping

  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY: A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas

SYNOPSIS

A beastly fae king with a deadly curse.
A devious bargain to break it…

All Gemma Bellefleur wants is to leave her past behind and forget the day scandal broke her heart. But when she’s captured by a trickster fae king who threatens to hold her for ransom, she’ll find herself at the top of the gossip column yet again.

Unless…

Plagued by a curse that will soon claim his life, the human-hating King Elliot will do anything to save himself. And if Gemma can use that to her advantage, she might be able to bargain her way to freedom. All she has to do is help him break his curse.

There’s just one hitch—to do so, they’ll have to trick someone into falling in love with the beastly, brooding Elliot.

With a devious alliance made, their scheme begins, bringing Gemma and Elliot into very close quarters. Soon, an unexpected desire stirs where once there was only hate. But Gemma must fight it. For when the curse is broken, Elliot will return to his true form—a wolf—and be lost to her for good.

Can Gemma sacrifice her budding feelings to save the king’s life? Or will love force her to give up something even greater…her heart?

The other night, I picked up, started, and DNFed three whole books. Nothing was satisfying the urge I couldn’t quite defined. I knew I wanted a fantasy romance, but nothing was really hitting the spot after the last book I read. I picked up Curse of the Wolf King after initially starting the second book in the series — Heart of the Raven Prince. I hate starting things in the middle, so I went back and started the first book.

Curse of the Wolf King is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, with fae. Sound familiar? Probably, because that’s exactly what A Court of Thorns and Roses is, too. I love a good fae book, but this one was just okay. The writing was tolerable, the plot middling, and the characters…frequently infuriating.

Gemma is our main character — the Belle of the book, so to speak — and she is not very nice. She spends most of the novel desperately wishing to not be around people because they might judge her for her past “scandal”. Except no one in town knows about the scandal, because it happened far away. So she’s prejudging these people before they can judge her. Gemma is “special’ because she reads books instead of hoping for a husband.

Elliot is our Beast, and he is…well he’s a piece of work at first. He’s the unseelie king of the Winter Court. Once he gets he warms up to Gemma, he’s a bit of a cinnamon roll, but a first he’s infuriating and stubborn. No different than the original Beast, of course. The whole gist of the book is that they (Gemma and Elliot) must break the curse on him before all the petals fall from the roses in his garden. The curse being, of course, that a human must be willing to sacrifice their greatest treasure. Otherwise, the curse will kill Elliot (and the people living on his estate.) So Gemma comes up with a kind of stupid plan to manipulate her most hated townsperson into falling in love with Elliot and breaking his curse.

You can see where this goes wrong.

Anyway, the first half of the book is much better than the second half. The author writes yearning much better than they write actually being in a relationship. Overall, this was just okay — here’s hoping my next read is much better.

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BOOK REVIEW: DARK NIGHT, GOLDEN DAWN BY ALLISON CARR WAECHTER

the book cover for Dark Night Golden Dawn by Allison Carr Waechter

STAR RATING:  almost 3ish stars
PAGE LENGTH: 411 pages
WHAT SERIES? The Immortal Orders
WHAT BOOK DO I START WITH? Dark Night, Golden Dawn
HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? Unknown
CONTENT WARNINGS: Mentions of past abuse by partner, gore,

IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

SYNOPSIS

In a city where the elite are powerful as gods, the season is about to begin. The Immortal Orders will gather, pair and create a spectacle for all of Nuva Troi to witness.

Harlow Krane is a sorcière who wants nothing more than to recover from her most recent breakup in peace. When the season begins, her Order needs her help to save their ancestral occult district from being taken over by the Illuminated, the most powerful immortals in Nuva Troi. They offer to back off—if Harlow agrees to pair with their most eligible bachelor, Finn McKay. But Harlow has been burned by Finn before.

Finn McKay is one of the Illuminated. Rich, powerful, and he isn’t afraid of anyone—except for his parents. When they push him towards Harlow Krane, he knows their purposes are sinister at best. For the past seven years, Finn has done everything in his power to stay away from Harlow and he won’t break his resolve now, even if it means defying his parents. As the season begins, it’s clear something is dangerously wrong but besides Finn, only Harlow seems to notice.

With magic behaving strangely, the balance of power between the Immortal Orders and humans grows deadlier by the day. Harlow and Finn must work together to keep ancient grudges from resurfacing and take back their lives in the process. If they can get over their past, the whole world may have a brighter future.

Dark Night, Golden Dawn should have been a five star book for me. It had so many of my absolutely favorite tropes (vampires, mating, there’s a social season like in historical romances etc.), but ultimately, it fell more than a little flat. My biggest problem with the book lies with the main character, Harlow. For most of the book, she is a limp, boring noodle. She has little personality other than wondering why anyone likes her at all. (The author writes a reason for this into the story, but it didn’t really solve the issue for me.) Despite having the world’s worst self-confidence, Harlow is good at practically everything, other than standing up for herself and doing something to make herself interesting.

Finn, Harlow’s love interest, is slightly more interesting than her. He is the typical alpha male, a perfect specimen with awesome powers. He is protective, and always willing to take a step back to make sure Harlow is comfortable with how things are going. They have a rocky past together, but Harlow gets over this surprisingly quickly.

The plot and the world built in Dark Night, Golden Dawn is vastly interesting. The author has fantastic ideas, but the actual book just does not equal up to a fantastic story. The writing itself tends to be on the more boring side — too simple and plain to really paint a picture of what’s going on. The sex scenes should have been steamy, but instead felt overly bland. We get so much of Harlow hating and doubting herself when we should have gotten more descriptions of the world, of the plot, of what was going on.

I really wanted to like this book more than I did. If I remember about Dark Night, Golden Dawn when it’s sequel comes out, I might grab it. But I have a feeling this book might fade in my memory — it just has no sticking points. Dark Night, Golden Dawn is available on Kindle Unlimited.

GOODREADS | AMAZON