I received this book via Author, My Book Shelf. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.
Series: The Bargainer #2
Published by Lavabrook Publishing Group on 2017-05-26
Length: 324 pages
Reviewing eARC, eBook from Author, My Book Shelf
Reading Challenges: 2017 New Release Challenge
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.
Des is back! This is not a drill. DES IS BACK! A Strange Hymn by Laura Thalassa is the second book in The Bargainer series and I seriously couldn’t have been more excited to dive back into the Otherworld. For those of you that have not read the first book in the series (Rhapsodic), there may be minor spoilers to that book in this review. Read at your own risk!
Rhapsodic left me dying for more. I wanted to know how Callie would come back from Karnon’s torture and Des’s darkness. I wanted to know more about the secrets the Bargainer keeps and oh God did I ever want to know who the Thief of Souls was as the soldiers still slept. Unlike most of Laura Thalassa‘s books, Rhapsodic didn’t end on a bad cliffhanger, instead it just ended leaving you with this feeling of dread that Thalassa carries over into the beginning of A Strange Hymn.
Callie has been throughly broken. All of those defenses she spent building while Des was kept away from her, all of her emotional armor from what her step-father done to her….Karnon broke. This is not the same sassy chick we met in Rhapsodic. Instead Callie starts off a victim and it takes her mate’s pushing for her to move past that and begin to accept the things she cannot change like her wings, scales and talons (just for starters). I loved reading Callie’s POV. Her struggles are real and relatable even in this fictional Otherworld. What I love the most though is her transformation in this book.
And Des *sigh* I love Des! He is Callie’s rock, her mate, and oh so much more. He is a king, a thief, a war hero, and a rebel all rolled into one. Yet the events that surround him and Callie cast Des in a sinister light. Even I doubted his innocence. He is sweet and kind to Callie, everything a man in love should be. BUT he is the Bargainer. He knows how to twist words to his own advantage. He deals in secrets. His secrets he keeps close, letting no one in. However with Callie, his guard begins to come down and we see a different, more vulnerable side than we’ve ever seen before. They are kindred spirits in more ways than one 😉
With Karnon dead, the curse/magic he placed on the soldiers should have lifted, yet it didn’t. The female soldiers still sleep, and male soldiers are still going missing. And now it is Solstice, a time when all the Fae kingdoms come together in peace to celebrate and discuss treaties. Yet doubts and accusations fly and Callie finds herself doubting her mate. The Solstice celebration is an interesting addition to this book. I enjoyed seeing the other kingdoms and learning about their cultures. It also gave Callie a chance to see Des in his official role as King of the Night.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. I couldn’t read it fast enough. There were enough surprises and twists to keep me guessing right to the end and then OH MY GOODNESS!!!! That ending is brutal. I cried, like big ugly sobbing crying. And then I relaxed and then that ending….I don’t know if I can wait for winter to find out the conclusion. If you enjoyed Rhapsodic or you enjoy urban fantasy/paranormal romance, I highly recommend you grab a copy of the book. Just be sure to read them in order, otherwise you will be lost 😀