Friday, January 25, 2019

Book Review: White Stag by Kara Barbieri


Title: White Stag
Author: Kara Barbieri
Series: Permafrost #1
Publication Date: January 8th 2019

Synopsis: "The heart of a human.
The mind of a monster.
One destiny caught between two worlds.

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 - 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 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 even as she tries to fight her growing attraction to him. 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 from crumbling."

My thoughts: I was really not expecting to love this book as much as I did. The synopsis sounded good, but I had no experience of this story beforehand, so it seemed like it would be a fun romp, and we definitely need more Goblin books in the world.

And then I started reading, and it was kind of hard to stop?

Janneke is such a fascinating, flawed, and strong character - her dry sense of humour and sarcasm was absolutely fantastic and made me love her even more, and that made me feel everything she went through so much more. Soren is also brilliantly written, and you really feel the character development that both of them go through during the course of the story.

And this story is absolutely brilliant - Barbieri has stitched together a beautiful and brutal tale that keeps you on the edge of your seat all the way through, and is so deep and rich in world-building, scenery, and emotion. I was taken aback by how quickly I fell in love with the characters in this and desperately wanted to know what happened next.

Occasionally I found myself frustrated with some of the writing, but the majority of the time I was enchanted. The frustrations, I think, were only due to this being Barbieri's first book, and I have no doubt that her writing will continue to grow and become even more lyrical and immersive over time. I think this one is definitely a new favourite, and I would like the next book as soon as possible, please, thank you.



{I received a review copy of this book from Pan Macmillan in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!!}

A favourite line from the book: '"Don't look so excited. Someone might get the wrong idea."
He raised a fine white eyebrow at me. "I don't look excited. I'm scowling."
I bit back a sigh. "It's sarcasm."
"I've told you before, I don't understand it," he said.'


You would like this book if: like Goblin stories and think there need to be more of them? like a pretty damn slow-build romance? strong female characters with their own minds and wicked archery skills, too? I would recommend.

Tea to drink while reading this book: Hmmm. Tea would be good in the Permafrost, I think. Russian Caravan for a bit of smokiness, I think!

Rating:  9/10

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