I was provided a free ARC of White Stag by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Just going to go ahead and put this out there. Omigosh. I absolutely loved this book!
Release Date: January 8, 2019
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Official Blurb (courtesy of NetGalley)
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—as 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 him 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. 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.
1) I am a HUGE fan of books that incorporate any type of mythology or the Fae (high Fae, Goblins, faeries, etc., it doesn’t matter!).
2) I love books that show a broken person becoming whole and loving themself regardless of their past.
3) hot.alpha.males. (Sorry, not sorry) \_(•_•)_/
Trigger Warning – the main heroine, Janneke, does suffer severe trauma during her time with her original captor, including but not limited to torture and rape.
Janneke suffered, a lot. She lost her home, her family, her friends, her freedom, and her years. She was tortured and abused until she finally fought back, causing her original captor, Lydian, to throw her at the feet of another as a “gift”. Neither would know that act would start the journey of Janneke becoming stronger and happier.
With Soren, our hero, I knew I liked him when he attempted to use sarcasm in the first chapter…and utterly failed at it. 🤣 You could tell there was a special bond between Soren and Janneke, even if she felt it wasn’t more than master and thrall (human slave). As the story progresses, we see not only Janneke grow, but also Soren. We see that he, and other goblin-kind, are not truly monsters, but are merely monsters in the eyes of others.
With that being said, I enjoyed the theme of the story. “We are all monsters even if we chose not to believe so.” We are all monsters in some way to someone or something else.
Janneke thinks herself a monster. She survived when her family did not. Her current status as companion with Soren makes her feel traitorous to her dead family. And when Soren unleashes a “secret” (no spoilers), she struggles with that secret and what it means for her humanity. But the thing is, she is a survivor and not the monster she fears. Soren is not the monster she fears he is. Janneke begins to accept that the goblins may not be all that terrible, and neither is she.
Did I already mention I absolutely loved this story? If I did, I’ll say it again! I loved White Stag. I loved the characters, the concept, the writing, and the ending. This could totally be a standalone book, but it’s the first of a series, with the next book being called The Goblin King. Umm, yes!!
I am totally going to be buying this book when it releases and will continue reading the series. I look forward to reading more from Kara.