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Book Review: Dark and Otherworldly, by Kristen Brand

Author, Kristen Brand sent me an ecopy of the Omnibus of Dark and Otherworldly for review.
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Leigh Morgan has one mission: to stop the fae who abducted her sister from ever kidnapping another human again.

Dredarion Rath wants one thing: to disgrace his older brother and prove himself the worthier heir to Otherworld’s throne.

When their paths cross, it changes everything, and neither Otherworld nor the human realm will ever be the same.

Three romantic urban fantasy novels; one darkly enchanting volume. The Dark and Otherworldly Omnibus includes:

dark and otherworldly individual covers

Poison and Honey
She hunts the fae. The last man she should fall for is a cunning fae prince.

Sting of Thorns
She’s been cursed by the queen of Otherworld. Now the only one who can save her is the man she betrayed.

The Cruelest Curse
When dark forces threaten Otherworld, she’ll have to join forces with her enemies to save the kingdom… and the prince.

my review

I wrote brief individual reviews as I finished each of these novellas. But I’ll make a few quick general statements before I get to them. First I liked this quite a lot. I loved the way Leigh and Dredarion grated on one another, but also came to respect aspects of the other.

Second, I know that my hatred of serials is a personal issue that not everyone shares. Many people will have no issue with this story being broken into 3 volumes. And at 519 pages it is too long to feasibly be published as a single book. But it is 100% a single story. While the author finds acceptable stopping points, none of it stands alone and I think it could have been edited down to fit into a single longish book. I just see no reason that it needed to be broken into 3 pieces. I wouldn’t have even chanced reading it if I hadn’t been offered the Omnibus and that would have been a shame because, as I said, I liked it quite a lot.

Third, I can’t write this review and not mention the giant elephant that is Leigh falling in love with her en-slaver and, because of that love, being willing to return and fight for the peoples who were still actively enslaving her own. By the end Dredarion may have changed his views, but no one else had. So, even by the end she loved and worked for the betterment of people who were enslaving her people. It’s hugely problematic and if it wasn’t in a fantasy setting it would have been wholly intolerable.

Since it is a fantasy I was able to suspend my disbelief enough to put up with it. But even then I noticed that the issue of slavery was more and more often euphemistically referred to as servitude as the series went on.

Now, moving on to my thoughts each individual novella.

Poison and Honey
I liked this a lot. I liked both Leigh and Dredarion and I liked what they appreciated about each other. I thought the world was interesting and both Leigh’s determination and Dredarion’s obvious blind spot around the enslavement of humans interesting. I did think the romance aspect moved too quickly and disliked that it ended on a cliffhanger, such that it’s not a complete story. And at only 136 pages, it had room to be. It did feel like it was a spin-off of something, with quite a lot of named, but otherwise unknown, characters showing up right at the end as if we should know who they are. But as far as I can tell it isn’t.

Sting of Thorns
In a way I think I enjoyed this second installment more than the first. All those unknown characters who showed up out of the blue at the end of Poison and Honey are finally introduced and I liked them all. Leigh and Dredarion are forced to get to know the real versions of each other and I enjoyed that, though I still feel their ‘love’ is unsupported. I just decided to roll with it like any other fantasy element. I did see the twist coming and it, of course, explains so much.

The Cruelest Curse
Honestly, this was my least favorite of the three. It brings the story to a satisfactory conclusion, but it lost the tension and delicious banter between Leigh and Dredarion. They became love-sick saps instead. Plus, while I was always bothered by the way the humans’ enslavement is glossed over as servitude, you really feel it here. I don’t think the word slave is even used. And when Leigh negotiated for better conditions for the humans, it included pay and the ability to leave a position, but not that humans wouldn’t be kidnapped anymore. Perhaps this is inferred, but I use it as an example of how the slavery aspect weakened as the series progressed. Despite all that, when I look at the series as a whole, I’m happy to have read it and will happily pick up another of Brand’s Books.

dark and otherworldly omnibus

Other Reviews:

Darkest Sins Blog



One thought on “Book Review: Dark and Otherworldly, by Kristen Brand

  1. Pingback: Spotlight – Dark and Otherworldly: The Omnibus, by Kristen Brand – Sadie's Spotlight

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