Rhapsodic by Laura Thalassa: 4.5/5 stars!
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.
This was a wonderfully written story with originality, well developed characters, and a beautiful love story. It isn’t very often that I find original ideas in the young adult and new adult fantasy genres. But Laura Thalassa has built a solid and interesting world in this book with werewolves, faeries, seers, sirens, and more living relatively harmoniously in our world and others. Thalassa’s world building is solid with some supernatural generalities utilized well. The characters are fleshed out and believable and the romance is swoon-worthy. The only problem I had with this book was the mystery part; some sections of information were redundant and other parts were rather sparse. While I very much like Callie in general, she was agonizingly slow when it came to her dreams and other situations related to the mystery.
Out of everything, the romance was hands down the best part of Rhapsodic. Callie and Des are beautiful together and I thoroughly enjoyed the brief flashbacks scattered throughout. I generally hate flashbacks because they’re hard to pull off and usually end up wasting time and pages. But I really, really enjoyed these flashbacks because they were pertinent to the story and added significant depth and insight to Des and Callie’s current relationship.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses series. While Thalassa’s storytelling isn’t quite on par with Maas’s, it’s certainly well on its way and I can’t wait for the second book in The Bargainer series!