White Stag⭐⭐⭐1/2 (The king is dead! Let’s kill half the population)

This book is fast paced, uncomfortable, beautiful and brutal.
Janneke has spent 100 years as a thrall in Permafrost, the land of the goblins, after her family was slaughtered and the lands burnt. She was first owned by the insane and torture friendly Lydian for a short time, who later passed her on to his nephew Soren where she has remained. When the Erlking dies the hunt, or slaughter fest, begins to find out who will become the new Erlking. The strongest will win and anyone is fair game. Now, let’s dig into it!

Storytelling:
We get thrown into things from breath one, and it does not stop. The pacing is fast and we seldom get brakes from action or tension. So my excitement level was kept on high!
We do not get a ”pamphlet” in the beginning of the book that explains what’s going on like many other books do. And we, at some level, probably expects because it has become the norm. So it was kinda refreshing to get something different. And this book is so cleverly written that we get the background story as we go along. Why things are happening, who they are and why they ended up here.
There are a few things that are still shrouded in fog, but it’s still a greatly woven story!

Worldbuilding:
This book has been heavily inspired by different mythologies, especially Norse-Mythology and the danish/german Erlking. Because it has so many different already known elements, I think it may have been a bit lazy.
I’m Scandinavian and grew up knowing norse-mythology and later studied it, I’ve read Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones that has taken even more inspiration from the Erlking legends AND the land is called Permafrost.. That was enough for me to paint a VIVID picture of everything. But if I didn’t know all of this, I’m not too sure I would have had the same experience. I don’t remember that many describing moments more than oak and ash trees, cold, bog, burnt land and human realm. I hope it was more than that, but I cant be sure anymore.. But I likes the world I got in my mind, and I’m keeping it.

Characters:
Unfortunately, I find them to be a bit bland or one-dimensional. We got:
Janneke: Except for being one hell of a survivor, you could just insert your basic heroin here. She’s strong and can deal with trauma that FEW can. But I was still a bit bored.
Soren: Basic supernatural sweetie-hunk who takes on ”human” characteristics over time.
Lydian: And here’s your lunatic uncle who just do horrible things without proper explanation or variation.
I personally had a hard time with the goblins as a mass of ”people”. There is nothing really special or new here, they are basically your standard fey-beast. And when there is nothing new or interesting, my brain goes on a mission to entertain me from the sidelines. Like that annoying friend who talks trough a movie. The goblins are brutal, can morph and get claws and teeth, prideful and have a very short fuse. So, naturally, my brain goes;
”Oh goodie… A army of Tamlins..”
Or, in the case of Lydian;
”If Amarantha and Tamlin had a baby, this would be him!”

(If you’ve not read ACOTAR, sorry about the references.)

Conclusion:
The book has flaws, but I still liked it immensely and will read the next one with gusto. This is one of those books where I know they don’t hit top marks, but the flaws don’t really matter that much because I got more than enough enjoyment out of it anyways. so 3,5 stars!

Kara Barbieri // Goodreads review // Instagram

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