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The Bargainer Series by Laura Thalassa, I didn’t look or read the synopsis before reading the first book: Rhapsodic. The only thing I heard about it was it was good, spicy to some degree, and fantasy from BookTok (TikTok). And I was in the mood for all of those things. So, I plucked this one of my TBR and decided to give it a go.
I kept debating on returning to Lightbringer by Claire Legrand, but I just couldn’t. Mostly because I can’t mentally handle reading about one of the characters being tortured and mentally in a bad place. I read to escape, and that’s not the escape I’m looking for. I’ll go back to it eventually and finish as the book is good. Even if it was exactly like Shadow and Bone series by Leigh Bardugo. I think that’s another reason I just haven’t been able to return to it with all the Netflix buzz around Shadow and Bone.
But we’re not discussing either of those series, we’re talking about Rhapsodic by Laura Thalassa. So, before I get into my review, let’s go over some book details…
Callypso Lillis is a siren with a very big problem, one that stretches up her arm and far into her past. For the last seven years she’s been collecting a bracelet of black beads up her wrist, magical IOUs for favors she’s received. Only death or repayment will fulfill the obligations. Only then will the beads disappear.
Everyone knows that if you need a favor, you go to the Bargainer to make it happen. He’s a man who can get you anything you want … at a price. And everyone knows that sooner or later he always collects.
But for one of his clients, he’s never asked for repayment. Not until now. When Callie finds the fae king of the night in her room, a grin on his lips and a twinkle in his eye, she knows things are about to change. At first it’s just a chaste kiss—a single bead’s worth—and a promise for more.
For the Bargainer, it’s more than just a matter of rekindling an old romance. Something is happening in the Otherworld. Fae warriors are going missing one by one. Only the women are returned, each in a glass casket, a child clutched to their breast. And then there are the whispers among the slaves, whispers of an evil that’s been awoken.
If the Bargainer has any hope to save his people, he’ll need the help of the siren he spurned long ago. Only, his foe has a taste for exotic creatures, and Callie just happens to be one.
- Published: November 15, 2016
- Page Count: 423
- Genre: YA Fantasy & Romance
I’m not going to be sharing any spoilers, but I found myself unable to turn away the pages. And read the entire book in one sitting. I’m going to be immediately starting the next book in the series as not all of the elements are resolved, but set up nicely for a sequel. Which I’m excited about.
I’m glad I didn’t read anything about this book before hand as it was an experience. The story splits of between the events that happened eight years ago and the present between Callie and Des (the Bargainer). The past reflects the current state of the story where their relationship stands. So, you can see it develop for the first time and how they reconcile years after being apart.
There was a perfect balance between plot and relationship elements, where neither felt rushed to get to the conclusion. They played into each other and made the story more enjoyable. A lot of time you get one or the other taking control, but never that balance. Rhapsodic handles the combination nicely.
Speaking of the plot, story elements, I found how the supernatural world was handled interestingly. You have the fairies in the Otherworld and the humans in our world. It’s basically our present if everyone was aware of supernatural beings. Callie is a siren able to make anyone do her bidding, but the caveat is the power comes with the price of another side that wants to screw everything and destroy things. Another caveat is she can’t glamour fairies like Desmond, the Bargainer. According to Des, sirens also have terrible luck. Callie has that and then some throughout her life. Relationships don’t work out, her parents are dead, and countless men including her step-father sexually abuse her. She ended up killing her step-father, and sensing that the supernatural police would try her as an adult she enlists the Bargainer’s help to deal with it.
Normally, Des doesn’t make deals without immediately collecting the price but for Callie he makes hundreds. He also instead of marking her with tally mark tattoos as he does with anyone else, Des turns those IOUs into a black bead bracelet that wraps around her arm. One that eight years later he finally comes to collect on. There’s more there, but I thought the way the bargains were handled and how they were repaid made for an interesting concept. By the end of the book, Callie hasn’t paid them all off yet. So, I’m curious about what will be required for those beads to go.
One of the main things Callie was doing to remove her debt with the Bargainer was helping him solve a mystery of why female warriors were being taken and returning as the embodiment of Snow White in a casket in a sleeping state like death with a child in their arms. Those children, drink the blood of others to survive and all share a single father. Not only that but they have prophecies and can talk as young as three months old. Something that should not be possible. Apparently men are also disappearing, but they never return like the woman. This is the main focus of the story. The two work together to figure out the mystery of the disappearances and sorting out where their relationship stands.
Not saying how the ending turned out, but I enjoyed it. Though it still leaves a lot open. Considering there are two more books in the series and a novella from Desmond’s POV, I can’t wait to pick up the next book and continue the story from there. Overall, I would give this story a 4 out of 5-star rating. I have a feeling I’m going to be coming back to this series and I’m definitely in that state where I want more.
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