Author: Stacey Filak
Genre: NA Fantasy
”The Above and the Under have a tenuous truce that is shattered after the death of both their respective rulers. Gemma, the new queen of Under, must throw history aside and team up with Tollan, the heir to the Above throne, in order to take down a power that seeks to rule them all.Goodreads Synopsis
Their group of rebels is comprised of an assassin, a sex worker, and a palace servant from Above, and we follow their unique perspectives as they are forced to question previously held beliefs. But even with war looming, romance still grows. Challenging gender roles and the expectation that every prince must have a princess, Tollan discovers love with Elam—a young man, a sex worker, and one of Gemma’s closest friends.”
I found it funny, engaging and well paced. From the first page to the last there’s hardly a dull moment. There’s a lot of sexual themes in this book, which I don’t mind. They felt like they belonged and added a ”coming of age” vibe and openly questioned norms and prejudice. Which I’m all for! But it was very graphic at times, which many readers should be made aware of beforehand. This is NOT a Young Adult book and has many triggering scenes. So I’m adding this book to the pile ”Why New Adult needs to be more firmly established”.
But as it is a novel, there was not enough time and pages to really deepen the story. And that such a shame because I felt that there was so much more here to evolve on and explain. And those thing are what made this book good instead of great.
This is where the books limitation to less than 300 pages hurts the most! We get the history of the city and country explained fairly satisfying. But there was interesting history and magic systems to explore more in depth. And it’s sad than I don’t know much about this world at large.
I don’t remember specific traits to each character (or most names..), but I remember how they worked together. And it was so much fun! I love the combination between a really prude and ”innocent” person with a really free and gritty person. That being Tollan and Gemma. They had some really great banter, discussions and ”aha”-moments, and one encounter at a brothel that had me laughing my head off.
This is another book that was overall well written, but managed to have a small detail that annoyed the crap out of me! And that is that the word ”Prick” was used to the extent that I started wincing every time it was used. It literally felt like a prick in the brain. If you mean ”Fuck”, just type it out. We got the word ”cock”, torture, detailed sexual encounters and brutal rape plus other ”adult” topics and language. So why change the word ”fuck” to ”prick”? I don’t get the point of that.
This is not fo anyone. Me, who’s not triggered by explicit content and likes dark, twisted and cruel stories loved it. I loved the randy humour, that the author did not hesitate to really go there when it came to cruelty and the pacing of it all. But I wanted more details and work building, and ”Prick” is a word that will have me wincing for a while. 3,5 stars.