Sunday, October 20, 2019

ARC Review: A Faerie Story by Barbara Elsborg

A Faerie Story
Once upon a time, the fate of three men was decided in a world where it was forever Christmas. 

A faerie forced to flee his homeland Kaegan lives in fear of his vicious twin brother. Tormented and abused, his only option is to escape to the one place he knows he’ll be safe: Inverkillen, a haven of magic, eternal Christmas where he has the chance to live the life he craves. But leaving Faerieland means taking a huge risk. 

A man searching for a second chance Aiden’s world is broken. Life is a dark and wretched place—until a chance encounter with Kaegan gives him hope for a brighter future. But fate has never been Aiden’s friend. No sooner has Kaegan come into his life, than he’s gone. Aiden is resigned to loneliness, but after he makes a startling discovery, he takes a decision that could be the biggest gamble of his life. 
An anguished soul ready to end it all Pascal is afraid to love. He’s determined not to risk his heart when he knows everything can be snatched away in a single moment. A fateful meeting leads to a night of enchantment and passion, leaving Pascal hungry to know more about the mysterious Kaegan. But when morning comes, Kaegan is gone, leaving Pascal to follow the one clue he has to the beautiful stranger’s whereabouts. 

Three men in search of a second chance, deep in a snowy wilderness. Will Christmas cast its magic to give them the greatest gift of all: their Happy Ever After?

Todd's rating:

Wow, this story had a bit of everything and the kitchen sink going on.

In addition to the really great world building, the book had tons of great characters, including the three MC's.

First, we learned about Aiden and his awful childhood, raised by an abusive, cruel mother who never wanted him. In the very first chapter, when hearing about what his "best Christmas ever" consisted of, GAH, that shit broke my heart in two right down the middle.

Then we were introduced to Kaegan, a powerful seventh son of a seventh son of a seventh son, which gave him extraordinary faerie powers, earning him hatred and torture from his evil, twin brother.

And lastly we met Pascal, who'd suffered a childhood trauma from which he'd never fully recovered, leaving him guarded, fearful, and with no regard for the value of his own life.

Yet, in spite of all that, the three men completed one another in a way none of them had ever known before.

During the course of the book, not only were their pasts covered in a good bit of detail, but also a magical royal ball, enchanted snow globes, imprisonment with a five-year-old and his dog, long ago secrets of true identities revealed, and plots of devious siblings overcome.

I loved several of the side characters, with a few others fully earning my genuine contempt and hatred, but they all added to the overall plot arc, so they felt relevant, instead of only being added as filler.

The story had some humorous moments, thanks mostly to Aiden, but I wouldn't really categorize it as a funny or snarky read.

The angst was fairly moderate, with a few moments of "less moderate", and the there was a good bit of steam, without spiking the ball so often in The Dick Zone that I was constantly reaching to throw some bitches their panties back.

The story ended with a full-on, fantasy-level HEA and an epilogue from a year later, which may or may not have approached being sappily sweet, but it didn't bother me.

My one major issue with the book was that, although Goodreads reports the book's length at 254 pages, according to my usually-accurate eReader app, the *actual* length was closer to 350+ pages.

So by the time that I got to around 75% into the story, I was freaking DYING for the story to be over, so that I could move on to my next read. As a rule, I don't mind longer books, but the pacing of this story felt a bit mired in quicksand, while I wanted events to transpire more quickly.

I'd rate this book at around 3.75 stars and recommend it to fantasy readers with a taste for longer-feeling stories.

My ARC copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.

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