Rhapsodic by Laura Thalassa
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Heh… I was ready to give this book 4 stars, call it ‘a comfort book you read to get your mind away from your shit’, rant a little about its main character, and leave it at that… Until the very last chapters. The ending, unfortunately, made me take off at least 0.5 more stars and gave me a whole another topic to rant on.
First of all, this book is still a ‘comfort book’ (like comfort food), where instead of a fairy god mother you get a handsome fae king with tattoos and rock band t-shirts to save you from your horrors and take you to a ball (and I’m sure many would prefer it this way). The only negative thing I can say about the character of Bargainer is that his ‘bad side’ was not entirely realistic, developed, or believable. From all the things he says and does, nothing really screams ‘dangerous and ruthless asshole’ other than the main character’s insistence that he is. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Even though I’m not really a fan of fairies and wouldn’t say that his ‘type’ is a one I personally would usually be attracted too (except for the fashion), the Bargainer is easy to understand, like, and emphasize with.
The main character, however, is another story all together. Unfortunately, she does not escape the curse of female characters of romance literature you just want to throttle for her behavior from time to time. She is not the worst case, and is still tolerable, I can give you that, but with the progression of the story it becomes increasingly difficult to find anything to like about her, or any reason the Bargainer would like her this much. Except for the fact that she’s supposed to be very pretty… Which is just… no. She is a coward unless she uses her supernatural powers, she is self-centered, manipulative, and can’t make up her mind and refuses to listen or understand the man she claims she loves. It actually feels pretty strange, because, as readers, we see everything through her POV, but she sort of acts as a mindless conductor a lot of time, passing on the things that make a lot of things very clear to us readers, while she herself acts like she sees and hears them, but refuses to comprehend any of their meanings. It get’s rather frustrating to read their interactions with the Bargainer where he is making his intentions pretty clear all along, and she keeps to her song of ‘he never liked me and he will be cruel, and I shouldn’t like him’ that makes absolutely 0 sense.
What really got me, is the part where the whole ‘twist’ (if we can even call it that, because it’s actually very strange and confusing, and I don’t really get why we needed it) is revealed, and she is so focused on her feelings she doesn’t even bother to apologize for all the shit she did and for her behavior. She’s just too happy for herself to think about how the other party feels. In general, it feels like the main character never really bothers to actually listen to her ‘partner’ and try to see things from his point of view, she is always too busy caring only about herself… and it doesn’t feel nice at all.
Speaking of making 0 sense, there is the whole ‘main villain’ story part. While I’m aware that there’s probably more explanation in the following books, at the moment my impression is that the whole story line was pulled out of nowhere and flushed down the toiled.
a) It makes absolutely no sense that it was going on for so many years on the scale that it was supposedly going on and no one managed to uncover or stop it;
b) We are pretty much told that the Bargainer should have realized exactly who was behind the whole thing the very first time he brought the main character to his world – which brings us to c) it makes absolutely no sense that it took him so much time to find them since she actually told him how the man looked and he said he recognized him all that time ago. Also, since he was supposed to be able to trace her location using the beads. There are more things that make very little sense about it, but I don’t really want to go into details and spoilers.
The whole ending sequence just felt random, confusing, and unbelievable… unfortunately.
Another negative point that I can’t help but mention is that the only two other real characters (the best friend and the ex-boyfriend) were treated terribly, and until the very last time they both make appearances were nothing but annoying nuisances written in a rather unpleasant light. Very much like with the Bargainer’s background, we get nothing but tiny vague hints about them, and no real character development. Which, I guess, sort of makes sense if we take into account the fact that we see the world through a main character who isn’t really interested in anyone but herself…
I’m planning to read the sequel once I get it, and I’m hoping to see a number of things there: to get more deeper information and more developed background story for the Bargainer, not just vague hints; less selfishness from the main character; a resolution to the ‘villain plot line’ that will actually make sense; some other actually properly developed characters that don’d add angst; less confusion and needless angst in general.
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Rhapsodic by Laura Thalassa