Bingo Square (Round 2): Brain Candy
After reading Pestilence, I was curious about what else the author had written, and stumbled upon this first novel in a series on Kindle Unlimited. It’s both interesting and slightly more generic – what is it with faeries and wings as erogenous zones? It seems like every time a novel has a bad boy fae ruler with wings, the wings are described as sensitive in a sexual manner. I didn’t realize this many women had a wing fetish. Since I love the Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas, I was very much up for another King of the Night court. While I enjoyed Desmond Flynn, he was a rather typical (and even generic) protagonist for these types of books: the bad boy with a secret heart of gold, lonely and duty/responsibility driven, with a soft spot for chosen love.
One other thing about this novel is that there is a lot of implied rape and abuse so it might not be the best choice for some readers. Fortunately, Thalassa mostly glosses over the details rather than describing repeated rape scenes but when dealing with a plot line that involves thousands of missing women, of whom some come back comatose with infant children, the story line is going to be dark.
The novel’s narrator, Callie (Callypso) is a siren, and had her first interaction with the Bargainer shortly before her sixteenth birthday, the legal age of adulthood among the supernatural world. Sirens are beautiful and can make people do whatever they want, but the entire species/group also bears a curse, and Callie is no exception. She killed her abusive stepfather in self defense and needs help covering up the crime, leading her to ask for the help of the infamous Bargainer. It’s now eight years later, and he has come back to collect his debts. Callie didn’t stop with that first request, and created quite a stack of IOUs to the King of the Night as she craved friendship and companionship during her first year at a supernatural boarding school.
As in many supernatural novels, the age difference has potential to be a bit creepy, especially since Callie fell in love with Desmond Flynn (definitely the least pretentious fae name I’ve ever seen) at 16. The way Thalassa prevents this from becoming too offputting is that Des never acts on anything until they meet again when she is around 24, and he enlists her to help with the disappearances affecting his realm. I mean, there are still some minor red flags but if I can get over a 20 year old and a 1,000 year old, I can respect Thalassa’s approach to this one – especially since Callie had relationships (mostly short and meaningless) rather than pining away for Des for eight years. So between that and the whole legal age for supernaturals is 16, it doesn’t feel like a grooming situation in the same way that The Time Traveler’s Wife did (a book I loved despite that super creepy factor).
Overall, based on this, I can see how Thalassa has experience at making love interests that shouldn’t work be acceptable, though in the case of Desmond Flynn, she is definitely working within an established mold. I enjoyed the novel but while I thought Pestilence shook things up, this one was well-written and engaging but didn’t exactly stand out from other urban fantasy/fae-related novels.
Bingo Square: Brain Candy