Wednesday 2 January 2019

#BookReview White Stag by Kara Barbieri @StMartinsPress @WednesdayBooks

White Stag by Kara Barbieri
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The first book in a brutally stunning series where a young girl finds herself becoming more monster than human and must uncover dangerous truths about who she is and the place that has become her home.

As the last child in a family of daughters, seventeen-year-old Janneke was raised to be the male heir. While her sisters were becoming wives and mothers, she was taught to hunt, track, and fight. On the day her village was burned to the ground, Janneke—as the only survivor—was taken captive by the malicious Lydian and eventually sent to work for his nephew Soren.

Janneke’s survival in the court of merciless monsters has come at the cost of her connection to the human world. And when the Goblin King’s death ignites an ancient hunt for the next king, Soren senses an opportunity for her to finally fully accept the ways of the brutal Permafrost. But every action he takes to bring her deeper into his world only shows him that a little humanity isn’t bad—especially when it comes to those you care about.

Through every battle they survive, Janneke’s loyalty to Soren deepens. After dangerous truths are revealed, Janneke must choose between holding on or letting go of her last connections to a world she no longer belongs to. She must make the right choice to save the only thing keeping both worlds rom crumbling.


I was a bit worried about reading this book after seeing friends of mine DNF the book on Goodreads. However, I'm glad to say that the book did work for me. Up to a point. Yes, I have some issues with the book, but that has nothing to do with the rape or any abuse Janneke had to deal with. I know that it's a trigger for some readers. But, in this case (unlike some other books I've read that really got to me), did it not bother me. And, that's because the characters were not developed enough for me to feel for them. And, that is one of the big issues with the big. It has so much potential. it's such an interesting book. And yet, I just wish that we, the readers had gotten a better understanding of the world. Instead, it feels like we are dumped in the middle of a story and now we have to puzzle together where the characters are, who they are and what they are doing through snippets of information. Janneke has been held captive for 100 years? It doesn't feel like it to be honest, especially when it comes to her and Soren. Seriously they have spent 100 years together and now they go from hate to love? What have they been doing for the last 100 years? Not talking?

Anyhow, as I read the book did I reflect over the fact that if the story had begun with Janneke as a child and the events that occurred. Perhaps also from Soren's POV would it have been easier to get to know the characters. I can't even say for sure if I liked Janneke or not. One thing for sure this romance between Soren and Janneke definitely didn't help the matter. It felt so ... off. If it had been shown through the years if we had gotten glimpses of it through the years. Then, it would have been a different matter.

The story has potentials. The writing is good. However, this is a story that could have been more developed. Especially the characters. And, I wanted to know more about this world. Odin was mentioned now and then, so I guess it takes place in a parallel world or something? The interesting thing is this the first book in a new series could have easily been at last a trilogy if the history of the characters had been more explored. When I read fantasy series do I expect to get to know a whole new world and species. There is no need to rush the story.

This has turned out to be quite a long review, but I found that I have a lot of thoughts concerning the story. I liked the book, I had issues with the story. Would I read the next book? Yes, I would, despite all my issues do I want to know what happens next.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!

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