*Today’s review was supposed to be for Shelter of the Most High, sequel to A Light on the Hill, by Connilyn Cossette. I had to order the second and third books in the series and they didn’t arrive in time so I decided to move forward with The Bargainer series. I will finish Cossette’s series when this one is over.
Rhapsodic by Laura Thalassa is a book that my best friend had been wanting me to read for a year and I FINALLY got around to it. I’m not sure why I put off reading it for so long but it just got lost in my Kindle and forgotten about. Rhapsodic is book one in The Bargainer series. This is a fantasy and romantic fiction series in the New Adult genre. Overall, I like this book but there are some things that I’m going to be critical of in my review. I typically wouldn’t include spoilers in a review of the first book in a series but I don’t feel I can really review this without spoilers; I will keep them to a minimum, however. My thoughts will be down below after the synopsis.
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.
As always, when I have many points to make I like to split what I loved and hated into bullet lists. This just makes it easier for me to get my thoughts out in a concise way. This book does require some warnings so I’ll talk about those first and then get into what I loved.
Rhapsodic contains rape, adult language and sexual content. There is nothing truly explicit, in my opinion, in this book but everyone has different comfort levels. The rape aspect is a part of Callie’s backstory and figures into a plot line in the fae world. I would not consider this book to be appropriate for younger readers.
- If I hear fantasy with romance mixed in, I am THERE. I love getting lost in a fantasy world and the Rhapsodic world is an interesting one to get lost in. It’s what would be considered urban fantasy because it partially takes place in our world in modern times but there’s also the addition of the fae world.
- For the most part, I love the characters. Callypso (Callie) and Desmond (Des) are the main characters and the most developed. I really liked both of them and their relationship together. They do have a very stereotypical relationship where he is the alpha male and she is more submissive. This is partly due to their power dynamic, however. Des is a powerful fae warrior and Callie is a siren with supernatural powers of her own but the fae are the most powerful and therefore, her powers have no affect on Des. This plays into their developing relationship a lot. I don’t mind fictional relationships that have uneven power balances but it’s something to keep in mind, if that bothers you.
- This book is first and foremost a romance. I love a good romance, however, the side plot about the fae warriors disappearing but being returned unconscious and with a mysterious child is SO interesting to me. I hope this is explored more in the later books.
- This book is not the most grammatically correct but that really didn’t bother me. It’s an easy read that kept me entertained the whole time.
- I really enjoyed all the different supernatural beings and magic systems in this book.
- Callie has a best friend named Temper and oh my goodness, what a terrible mess of a character. Temper basically serves no purpose except to be Callie’s friend that has an attitude. She is the most stereotypical “sassy black woman” character I’ve ever had the misfortune of reading about. Of course, black women can be sassy but Temper was written in the cringiest way possible. I would love to ask Thalassa if she’s ever actually spoken to a black person, lol. Temper is also some kind of supernatural being but it’s never elaborated on. I’m pretty sure she’s a witch but there was so little detail given about her that I’m not sure.
- This book suffered from a lack of world building. I really wanted to know more about the fae world, the Otherworld, but we get just a bare bones description from Des. I’m hoping the next book will elaborate more on this.
- There is way too much telling and not enough showing. We’re told over and over about how tough Des is but all we really see is him being a total sweetheart with Callie. There were a few moments where Des lived up to his description and I hope to see more of that, and less gooey love, in the next book.
- Like with Temper’s character, a lot of the writing was just cringey. Des’ nickname for Callie was Cherub, which is fine, but it was overused to the point that it was sickening. Callie constantly swapped between calling Desmond Des or the Bargainer. Once their relationship became established, it felt weird for her to call him the Bargainer. There was also an over usage of curse words from Temper and Callie. You know how a twelve year old will curse to seem cool? That’s how it was at many points in this book.
- I love romance and love stories. I loved Des and Callie’s relationship. I thought it built up well and I liked how they interacted together. What I didn’t like was the sole focus being on the romance. As I mentioned above, there was a lack of world building. There was also a serious lack of focus on the plot about the fae warriors. This was because about 75% of the book focused on Callie and Des falling in love and telling their backstory; well, mainly just Callie’s backstory. I’m hoping that the next book will be filled with more action and detail about the world since the main romance/falling in love story line is finished.
- Toward the end of the book, Callie is kidnapped by the main villain, I won’t spoil who it is. It was a very interesting twist to the story line but she ended up being rescued by Des ridiculously fast. I would have liked this part of the book to be a little longer.
Rhapsodic is compared to A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas quite often, even to the point of being called a copy. They do have similarities, especially Des and Rhysand, but both books were released in 2016 so there is no way Thalassa could have ripped off Maas. It is possible for people to have similar ideas and if you do like ACOMAF, you will more than likely enjoy Rhapsodic.
I did not think this book was a perfect work of fiction but I was entertained and I’m looking forward to the next book, A Strange Hymn. If you like fantasy romances and you’re wanting a fun read, this would be a good book for you. I’d love to know if you’ve read Rhapsodic or what you think about my review! Thanks for reading and have a great day!