Small question, uhm, has a book ever taunted you? I know they can stalk us. Algorithms and such making them pop up everywhere. But I mean taunt. As in you see the book and you see people talking about the book and you feel like a little invisible tug on your soul that whispers, “You should read me.” Just randomly, when you are looking over your TBR list and looking at the cover, you hear, “You should read me.”
It is gut boiling. And to her credit, I felt it. That is the potency of Rebecca Yarros and her words. Because a good book, for me, is one that disrupts me. It takes me out of my lane, steals my focus, and commands my attention. Yes, I was upset while reading, but she had me. And in hindsight, Iron Flame is the perfectly laid conduit to transition readers away from Basgiath War College into the deeply engulfing world of The Empyrean.
Throughout the first half of Black Cake, the author authentically described the rhythm and feel of life in the Caribbean in the 1960s. Initially, she is vague enough that the island discussed and its people could be multiple islands within the Caribbean. Specifically, I thought the book was a Trinidad and Tobago based story, but it is based in Jamaica. You felt it, though.
The prologue reads as a woman sitting in a house with a dead body upstairs. She is sure she will be arrested. There is guilt. There is fear. The police are in the house questioning her, and just as she claims, she only heard a sound and found the body. A young officer shouts he has found something unbelievable upstairs. At that point, I stopped. I had searched and downloaded the book, but not paid too much attention to the reviews, or comments, etc. It is my friend’s relative book. I am reading it anyhow. After that prologue, I go back and check. My brain registers for the first time the description. “An absolutely addictive psychological thriller with a jaw-dropping twist.”
If you think about it, being the sister ignored, as you watch your family rave and extol the virtues of your sibling, who you know is a serial killer, could be a petulant mess. Ms. Braithwaite artfully spares us from such dreariness. She instead shares the insight and the truth of sibling comparison, all wrapped up in humor, as a worldly lesson.
But what else can you expect when a sarcastic survivor is placed in jail as a child until she is secretly stolen away to compete for a queendom in a neighboring land? A competition, btw, that can be and has been, dun dun dun, deadly.
This book is a solid 3.5. I picked it up because Nalini Singh, my heart writer, recommended it, and she never steers me wrong. The Kiss Quotient was no exception. As the author describes, it is a reverse Pretty Woman. But it also a journey of self discovery for our heroine who is dealing with a disability no one can see on looking at her. That to me was the angle and story line that drew me in.
Imagine living a normal boring life, where you are an outcast and keeping a low profile, until your mother dies and suddenly, you find out you are the heiress to the kingdom you have always lived in the dregs of. The infighting that would follow, the drama, the knowledge uncovered, all of that is in this series. Simply put, I loved it.
This was a great read. It reminded me of Game of Thrones, but without the degradation of women, and random descriptions of their anatomy (like pert boobs bouncing while she is just walking in a stable smh). The main characters are women who understand what it means to lead no matter how difficult and heartbreaking it may be.