Overall Series Rating: 4.0/5.0
I don’t often review whole series in one fell swoop, but I binge read this and honestly I’m not sure I could tell you exactly what happened in each book! I’ve been craving pure, fun escapism fantasy lately and that seems to mostly be taking the form of fantasy romances. Some have been really awful, some have been just plain absurd (couldn’t even bring myself to review one series!), and some like this one have actually been pretty good.
This is the story of Callypso Lillis (what a name) and a dark Fae king called the Bargainer. He deals in favors and for each favor you ask he gives you a tattoo (or in Callie’s case, a bead on a bracelet). As with all bargains, he can collect on the debt at any time, for any reason, and basically ask anything which is quite a daunting piece of knowledge. Callie first called The Bargainer in to dispose of her father’s body and clean up the crime scene because she murdered the bastard after years of sexual abuse. Eventually the Bargainer, aka Desmond Flynn, calls in his owed favors and asks Callie to help him solve a series of disappearances in the Fae realm. Over the course of the investigation they fall madly in love with one another, but all cannot remain sunshine and roses because a big baddie called the Thief of Souls is still kidnapping Fae and returning the women impregnated and in a coma. The plot over the course of the three books focuses on tracking down the Thief of Souls, keeping Callie out of his clutches because he desperately wants her, and lots of spicy scenes with Callie and Des. And some backstory from the time Callie and Des first met to how they were initially separated.
The whole story was such fun that I binge read all three books in about a week. And it only took that long because I was trying to shuffle in a review book in between all that. Is it going to win any literary prizes? Nah, probably not but I was surprised to find that the characterization and the plot were a lot more solid than I expected. These characters have history, motivations aside from animal lust, and even some solid friendships for good measure. My biggest problem with this book is that Callie and Des began seeing each other when she was only 15, BUT it did remain platonic on Des’s part. NONETHELESS, the author really could have set this up with Callie being a college student with almost no change to the plot whatsoever and it would have been infinitely less perturbing. Like, WHY must authors do stuff like this? The book is most definitely not young adult and is not specifically geared toward teens, so the age change would have made sense in that respect as well.
Overall, despite some apparent flaws this was a good, wickedly fun series with plenty of spicy moments. If you don’t like fantasy romance this will clearly not work for you, so stay far away. On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re craving another book that will fill the Feyre + Rhysand shaped hole in your soul, you should most definitely check this out. I loved it and might even read it again at some point. It’s also on Kindle Unlimited, so you can check it out for free if you subscribe to that service.