Hot (but gruesome) goblins, kick-ass female protagonist, great banter, high stakes action = White Stag by
This is one of those books I wasn’t really sure whether I’d like or not. It was a total “Yes! I want to read this!” and it ended up being such a gripping fantasy and I loved it!
As someone who dealt with trauma over the past year with toxic relationships, this book really spoke to my soul. It helped me leave behind bad memories and start moving forward.
“What exactly is a monster?”
― Kara Barbieri, White Stag
Janneke is a human who was captured during a goblin raid on her small village. She was originally enslaved to a cruel goblin but when left for dead, his nephew Soren took her. She is now 100 (which is old for a human living in the Permafrost – the land of the goblins).
Now the Goblin King has died and whoever captures and kills the white stage becomes the new kind.
This book takes place during this hunt and it’s filled with non-stop action, creatures, danger and so much fantasy goodness.
Humans in this world are used to take care of things the goblins can’t, such as clothes and buildings. The world building was easy to fall into and contains a lot of Norse mythology.
What was I loved was the fantastic and humorous banter between Janneke and Soren. She is total sass, and totally amazing.
ALSO, Janneke wasn’t some weak human. She fought and fought alongside these immortal goblin men and not only could keep up, but saved their lives on countless occasions. I loved that she was strong and it wasn’t weird or unusual. She just was! No men having to swoop in and save her.
There’s also a lot of beautiful healing in this book. Janneke was raped by her former captor (Trigger Warning: references back to rape but no on screen moments) and there’s so many moments where she’s dealing with the trauma of this.
“Sometimes a part of you died to let the rest of you continue living.”
― Kara Barbieri
The romance was also a slow burn, my very favorite kind!
If you love non-stop action, great banter, characters that you’ll instantly love, this book is for you! I gave it 4 out of 5 stars and look forward to the next book!
ABOUT THE BOOK
WHITE STAG by Kara Barbier
White Stag, the first book in a brutally stunning series by Kara Barbieri, involves a young girl who finds herself becoming more monster than human and must uncover dangerous truths about who she is and the place that has become her home.
As the last child in a family of daughters, seventeen-year-old Janneke was raised to be the male heir. While her sisters were becoming wives and mothers, she was taught to hunt, track, and fight. On the day her village was burned to the ground, Janneke—as the only survivor—was taken captive by the malicious Lydian and eventually sent to work for his nephew Soren.
Janneke’s survival in the court of merciless monsters has come at the cost of her connection to the human world. And when the Goblin King’s death ignites an ancient hunt for the next king, Soren senses an opportunity for her to finally fully accept the ways of the brutal Permafrost. But every action he takes to bring her deeper into his world only shows him that a little humanity isn’t bad—especially when it comes to those you care about.
Through every battle they survive, Janneke’s loyalty to Soren deepens. After dangerous truths are revealed, Janneke must choose between holding on or letting go of her last connections to a world she no longer belongs to. She must make the right choice to save the only thing keeping both worlds from crumbling.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kara Barbieri is a writer living in the tiny town of Hayward, Wisconsin. An avid fantasy fan, she began writing White Stag at eighteen and posting it to Wattpad soon after under the name of ‘Pandean’. When she’s not writing, you can find her marathoning Buffy the Vampire Slayer, reviving gothic fashion, and jamming to synthpop.
Find Kara on Twitter @PandeanPanic