Elves and dragons and hot guys, OH MY!!
Well we all know that KA is the one of the queens of contemporary romance books, but it turns out she’s just the queen of romance books in general cuz her fantasy book was pretty freaking awesome too!
It was fun, adventurous and romantic. Filled with palaces, balls, adventures, sea voyages…. thrones to be won, assassination attempts, betrayals, political plots, battles, kidnappings, executions, oh, and did I mention romance? Much swoony romance!
There is a parallel universe in this story, in which ever person has a twin. Desperate to reconnect with the parents she lost when she was young, Finny finds a way to make a deal with a witch to switch lives with the alternate ‘her’ for one year…. and so, she is magically transported to the winter wonderland of Lunwyn where she steps into a beautiful palace, finds out she’s princess of the realm and is then promptly taken to a hall where she is marched down the aisle straight into an arranged marriage to Frey Drakkar (aka big, dark, broody, scowly hotness) who then, in true macho Alpha caveman style, drags her off to a far off cabin in the woods and leaves her there for several weeks.
But fear not, he doesn’t stay away for long, and once he returns, some of their mis-communications are overcome (like, for example, sorting out with him that, unlike the alternate version of her, she is, in fact, not a lesbian and is actually attracted to him) and begin to learn more about each other, ooooo boy, hold on to your panties because the swoon gets turned to max!!
“So here I was, a princess in a frozen world with a very scary yet very hot husband who could really kiss and liked to cuddle.”
I think my first love in this story goes to the heroine actually. She pretty much defined “can-do”. She absolutely loved life and was adventurous, smart, resourceful, adaptable, reasonable, always with a positive attitude and ready to make any situation work… this chick pretty much defined ‘survivor’. I mean, here she was, thrown into this whole new world, married off to a big, dark, scowly guy, driven out to the middle of nowhere, ditched and yet she just assesses her situation and, with not one sniffle or mental break down, figures everything out. One thing at a time. I totally loved that about her!
And then we have the hero – Frey Dakkar. He was both swoony and loving as well as a total ass/jerk/dick (take your pick). He came off as gruff and caveman-like on the outside, but once he started to warm up to her, his thoughtful, sweeter side began to emerge until my heart was pretty much just melting.
“I do not know, my wee Finny, where I came from but I’m beginning to know why I’m here”…
His eyes held mine as his mouth murmured, “She waits for me at windows and buys me dragons. There are reasons we walk this earth, I’m beginning to realize mine.“
I’m pretty sure my heart skipped beats every time he would call her “my wee Finny”. Total swoon!! But despite his epic swooniness, there were some things about him I had a hard time getting over which I’ll address below (in slightly overly ranty detail). He was totally Alpha – fierce and lethal to his enemies and totally protective and caring of his new wife with a lot more to him than initially meets the eye that we begin to discover as the story progresses.
The whole book kind plays out like one big romantic fantasy adventure about a couple who were quite literally DESTINED to be together <3
“I love you, Frey. I’m in love with you. So in love, I’ll never stop loving you. Not ever. You, everything about you is beyond my wildest dreams.“
And then, there I was, just totally lost in this awesomeness of this world when suddenly: elves! Freaking elves!! … I honestly wasn’t sure how much I’d like the fantasy side of this world. That genre is not usually my thing, but it serves me right for doubting KA because they totally worked for this story.
Ok, but I’m going to have to be honest here and say that there a few things that the hero did that reeeeeally pissed me right the hell off. Absolutely infuriated me! Like BIG TIME!!! I seriously wanted to geld him! I was swearing and ranting and my heart just hurt so much!! I’m going to try and talk about it vaguely without giving spoilers but still so you’ll have an idea of what it was to see if you think it’ll bother you.
I loved the hero, I really did. He was very very protective and swoony and Alpha and loving and all but, in many ways, he was very old fashioned – with a ‘man knows best’ and ‘man does no wrong’ kind of attitude that went with the culture of his world…their men were culturally granted a lot more liberties – they got to decide when and if contraception was used, they (and only they) got to choose if they wanted to sleep around even after marriage *shudder* etc…
There was one issue that happened at 37% that I hated but what really got to me more than the issue itself was that it much was never addressed directly. Once, like 20% or so after it happened, it was kind of glossed over and dismissed but that was it…
But THEN came a whole other big issue which, basically, without spoilers, he does something behind her back which was really disrespectful of her body. No, don’t worry, he doesn’t sleep with anyone else, that’s not the thing he does. But still, see, if it was a cultural mistake, I could have gotten over it because his world was very different than ours, but what I couldn’t get over was that it wasn’t just a cultural misunderstanding mistake because during the scene where he did it, he clearly REALIZED that there was a chance that it was HER cultural norm from HER world and yet even knowing that, he STILL did it. To me, *shakes head*, I’m sorry, but that was just an UBER dick move. Total disrespect for her. No matter how much he loves her, to do that, consciously knowing that its probably all a cultural difference and not respecting her enough to talk to her, and instead just making that choice against her will AND just plain not communicating about it EVER was just too big a disrespect for me to disregard or fully forgive.
But I would have probably been easily able to forgive him (given their cultural differences) had he just done the action, then thought about it, come to a realization on this own and then approached her on his own about it. BUT, he didn’t. The only reason (at 97% I might add) that the issues were actually addressed were because someone else actually brought what he had done to Finny’s attention. Otherwise, it pretty much looked like he had no plans to tell her and that, to me, didn’t sit right.
And I also think that if someone who had read this had told me that those issues wouldn’t be resolved until the very end, I might have been able to be more tolerant of them… but I just kept WAITING for him to say something to her and so I was pretty disappointing when he never did so of his own accord. So if YOU are going to read this, hopefully you’ll know what to expect and be able to be more forgiving maybe? After all, if the heroine can forgive it, I guess I should have been able to do.
Now, I understand that a lot of this book was about them overcoming their cultural differences and so I kinda tried to overlook these issues and move on and the fact that they pretty much lapsed into total HOT swoony happiness together really helped take my mind off anything that bothered me. There was a whole lot more adventure, more super hot (and magically enhaced) sexy times, more relationship development, a kick ass heroine moment, and general happy swoony reading.
And I will point out that in the end (which, by the way, was pretty epic), they both came to an understanding about everything and did resolve their issues 🙂
I absolutely loved how much Finny and Frey loved each other. Because they really did. They fell completely in love and they fell hard. What they had was beautiful and hot and totally KA-style magical and if it weren’t for those issues, the story would have easily been a 5 star read for me, so I’m going to settle with a 4 star rating instead.
Please don’t let what I’ve said deter you from loving the hero. I’m kind of hoping that by knowing this in advance, it’ll help you kinda ‘prepare’ yourself for it and be able to overlook the issue for a bit and just focus on the swooniness of their romance. Because it really was totally swoony. I was completely lost in the world, in the adventure, in the romance and with the characters.
The parallel world wasn’t very focused on equality. Men had a lot more rights than women, there were a lot of things in their world which were totally acceptable that in our world would probably have the man either slapped across the face or slapped with a divorce but I loved how Finny slowly introduced bits of her strength, fairness, and justice into their world and by the end I really liked where things had ended up.
It looks like the rest of the series will take place in the same world – we have already met or heard of all the next heroes so their stories are all set up and I’m very much looking forward to continuing on in this series 🙂
Oh… one more thing. I’ve heard some people were avoiding this series because of some ‘time travel’ element so I just wanted to diffuse the rumors and say that there is NO time travel in this book. The only thing is being magically transported from our universe to the parallel universe but not backwards or forwards in time.
*** FANTASYLAND SERIES ***