Author: Laura Thalassa
Trigger Warnings: Rape, Sexual Assault
*All my reviews have spoilers, be warned*
Callypso Lillis is a siren with a very big problem, one that stretches up her arm and far into her past. For the last seven years she’s been collecting a bracelet of black beads up her wrist, magical IOUs for favors she’s received. Only death or repayment will fulfill the obligations. Only then will the beads disappear.
Everyone knows that if you need a favor, you go to the Bargainer to make it happen. He’s a man who can get you anything you want… at a price. And everyone knows that sooner or later he always collects.
But for one of his clients, he’s never asked for repayment. Not until now. When Callie finds the fae king of the night in her room, a grin on his lips and a twinkle in his eye, she knows things are about to change. At first it’s just a chaste kiss—a single bead’s worth—and a promise for more.
For the Bargainer, it’s more than just a matter of rekindling an old romance. Something is happening in the Otherworld. Fae warriors are going missing one by one. Only the women are returned, each in a glass casket, a child clutched to their breast. And then there are the whispers among the slaves, whispers of an evil that’s been awoken.
If the Bargainer has any hope to save his people, he’ll need the help of the siren he spurned long ago. Only, his foe has a taste for exotic creatures, and Callie just happens to be one.
“And the mountains may rise and fall, and the sun might wither away, and the sea may claim the land and swallow the sky. But you will always be mine. And the stars might fall from the heavens, and night might cloak the earth, but until darkness dies, I will always be yours.”
Oh my dear Gods high above, where do I even begin? You know a book is going to be really good when the prologue itself has you shook. I knew just by looking at the cover and reading the summary on Goodreads that this would be a new favourite of mine. It was a 5 star read from start to finish. This book was a whole rollercoaster of “holy shit” and “what the fuck?”, and that’s just the beginning. Laura Thalassa, thank you, thank you so much for writing this book. The beginning of the book itself had me stop and pace around my room because all I could think of was oh my gods. It isn’t of those books that start off happy, something horrible happens, and then everything is falling apart. No. In the prologue itself, all hell breaks loose and everything just spirals into chaos from there.
Also, the characters. Gods, I will protect these children until the moment I breathe my last breath. Callie is so good-hearted and broken at the same time, and I just want to hug and tell her it’ll all be okay. She’s emotionally traumatized from years of sexual assault and rape at the hands of her stepfather, but she’s a survivor and throughout the book starts to find her voice and becomes more and more stronger. She’s a siren and uses her voice to stop creepy men from doing horrible and creepy things. She has a successful PI business with her best friend, Temper Darling, who I hope we see more of in the next book. Eli, her ex-boyfriend, is an alpha werewolf who I also hope we see more of in the next books, despite him being kind of a jerk to Callie. But he does back off, which I respect. And Desmond Flynn. The Bargainer, Lord of Secrets, Master of Shadows, King of the Night, Emperor of the Evening Stars. He’s so protective of Callie, and does his best to try and make her happy.
The Bargainer captures the bug in his fist, his knuckles grazing my skin. He steps away from me and, opening his palm, releases the glowing critter. The two of us watch it drunkenly canter back to my hair.
I can just barely make out their luminescent bodies flickering above me. The whole thing is so ridiculous and strange that I begin to laugh. “Des, are you trying to cheer me up?”
My favourite thing about Des is that he is respective of boundaries, and does not take advantage of Callie, knowing she’s not emotionally ready and far too young to sleep with him – she’s two weeks shy of sixteen when they first meet. Yes, he’s somewhat of a jerk in the beginning of the book but as the story progresses, you see how he’s patient with Callie and so in love with her that he waits seven years, where he says he felt like his soul was ripped in two. He’s kind, and most of all, loved Callie when she genuinely believed she isn’t worthy of being loved. He stocked his fridge with all of Callie’s favourite foods, has Harry Potter movie marathons with her, AND has read the books just for her? Where do I get my very own Desmond Flynn, sign me tf up.
This series deserves way more appreciation because the characters, the writing, the storyline is just phenomenal. This book was so beautifully written I could imagine the scenes unfold in my head like a movie. It was definitely really creepy at times and gave me goosebumps, and since I was reading this well after midnight, with heavy rain nearly breaking my window, I was spooked. If this book was turned into a movie/tv show with 100% accuracy, the cinematography would be unbelievably mind-blowing. I called it.
It’s very similar to the ACOTAR series, but I think this series is much better. It’s darker and creepier. But if you loved ACOTAR, I definitely recommend this book. Also, can we talk about this cover? Have you ever seen a cover so beautiful? I’m speechless, it’s so breathtakingly beautiful.