Ahoy there me mateys! I received this romance fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here are me honest musings . . .
reliquary (Sarah Fine)
Author: Sarah Fine
Publisher: 47North (47North is the Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror imprint of Amazon Publishing, the full-service publishing arm of Amazon)
Publication Date: June 14, 2016
I do not know how I truly feel about this novel. I had major major problems with this book. And yet I want to read the sequel. It’s a conundrum. See I read one previous book by Sarah Fine that was fun – of metal and wishes. NetGalley has her book called splinter which is book two of this series but book one was still available to request so I did. I normally do not put spoilers in me reviews but this shall have some major spoilers and strong language . . . so read further at ye own peril.
So why do I dislike it and like it despite meself? Well the two main characters are bad guy who goes good (Asa) and good girl who goes bad (Mattie). I like Asa in this book. He is by far the most fun character and basically the only reason why I would read book two. Plus he has an awesome dog. Bonus. Mattie is a bit of an idiot who usually rushes into trouble, is naïve in a way that makes me want to knock sense into her, and she solves problems usually by showing off her cleavage while feeling scandalous and titillated by it. Ugh. She is trying to save her fiancée Ben who just happens to be Asa’s brother.
Ben is a major asshole. Mattie discovers he has been keeping secrets from her like: 1) being over $200,000 dollars in debt (at least), being a drug addict (addicted to pleasure magic), and has used magic on her to control her mind (i.e. if they are in a fight he uses it to get his way and it usually ends in sex. Ugh.) So Mattie finds this out and still wants to rescue him. Hell no. I would have dumped his ass immediately. But Mattie doesn’t because she loves him and will save him at all costs because Ben had to have good reasons right? Grrrrrr! I could run Ben through with my cutlass for his treatment of women. He doesn’t love Mattie if that is how he treats her. He is a self-indulgent narcissistic arrogant prick. I hate him and wanted him dead.
But of course the books have a love triangle involving the two brothers and Mattie. Well Asa is cool but I have no idea why he would fall in love with fluff-head Mattie. As for Mattie, well I tried to justify how she would want Ben (i.e. battered woman syndrome) which just made me grumpy and disgusted. Ben wanting Mattie made sense cause she was so controllable in every sense. Ugh. As for Mattie having feelings for Asa – well of course anyone is better than fuckwit Ben. Seriously.
The other issue I had in this book was the BDSM section. It felt so jarring. Mattie has to transfer pain magic and where better to do this but in a dungeon. So Asa takes charge, gives Mattie an alter-ego (Eve), and helps Mattie transfer pain magic and deal with the “bad guilt” of having to do this to save Ben. I mean we are told in the beginning that good girl Mattie loves sex. Okay fine with that. I don’t even have a problem with using BDSM in general, if it works for the story. But it did not work in this one. It felt like a stereotype section just to make Mattie seem more “bad” and to add more angst about “cheating” on Ben. Ugh.
I liked the magic in the world. There are four types: emotion, manipulation, pleasure, and pain. The magic was served in drug dens that resembled old opium dens, at clubs, etc. and is used by the wealthy magic/drug gang elite and corporations to manipulate each other. Mattie is a reliquary which means she can basically store magic inside herself though she cannot use it. Of course since she is kind of a special snowflake perhaps she can magically use magic later in the series. Who knows. The magic concepts were cool but not focused on enough. Angst and lust took up the focus of this book. But I want more world building and exploration of the magic concepts!
But the really obnoxious aspect of the book was the ending. Mattie rescues Ben and chooses to continue with the wedding plans and their future. Umm what? Stupid stupid stupid. And yet despite all that I say in this review and how grumpy the flaws of this book are . . . I am still slightly interested in book two. Why? I have no idea. It’s like not being able to look away when knowing disaster is coming. I don’t usually find the idea of such things fun. I don’t normally like urban fantasy or bad romance. I really don’t like women being used as sexual objects against their will. I have confused myself. Will I read the next one? I guess I will have to wait and see . . .
So lastly . . .
Thank you 47North!
NetGalley had this to say about the novel:
Mattie Carver’s engagement party should have marked the start of her own personal fairy tale. But when her fiancé, Ben, is violently abducted the next morning, her desperate quest to find him rips her away from small-town life and reveals a shattering truth: magic is real—and Ben is hooked. It’s not the stuff of storybooks. It’s wildly addictive, capable of producing everything from hellish anguish to sensual ecstasy almost beyond human endurance.
Determined to find out who took Ben and why, Mattie immerses herself in a shadowy underworld and comes face-to-face with the darkly alluring Asa Ward, a rogue magic dealer, infamous hustler…and her missing fiancé’s estranged brother. Asa has the power to sense magic, and he realizes Mattie is a reliquary, someone with the rare ability to carry magic within her own body, undetected. Asa agrees to help find Ben on one condition: Mattie must use her uncommon talent to assist his smuggling operations. Now, from magic-laced Vegas casinos to the netherworld clubs of Bangkok, Mattie is on a rescue mission. With Asa by her side, she’ll face not only the supernatural forces arrayed against her but the all-too-human temptation that she fears she can’t resist.
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