True Lies and the End is Nigh So Hold On Tight (The Dark Calling – A Book Review)

The Dark Calling (The Arcana Chronicles #5)
Author: Kresley Cole
Published: 2018

Dark Calling

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

We watch. We endure. We prepare for the future. One day this game will end, and we’ll be ready.

Evie Greene is still reeling from news that will change her life and the lives of everyone she knows. It could even change the entire game, but she doesn’t quite believe it. And nobody believes her when she comes forth about it. Something is wrong. Really wrong. Somebody she trusts is lying to her.

With doubt crawling into her head, Evie makes a break out into the Ash because it’s no longer safe in the castle. With unlikely allies, she searches for anything that could help her find answers to many of her questions, including whether or not Jack really did survive Richter’s quake.

With a strange power falling over the Arcana, Evie may have to invoke the red witch to save those she holds dear. Her next move in this deadly game could give her what she needs to defeat Richter or…end her life.

In a world teetering on the edge…With enemies at every turn…Darkness beckons.

Reviews to the books previous to this one in the series are listed below.

Poison Princess

Poison Princesshere

Endless Knight

Endless Knighthere

Dead of Winter - SR

Dead of Winterhere

Day Zero

Day Zerohere

Arcana Rising

Arcana Risinghere

Congratulations to the first book ever to drive me to drink.  Well, not alcoholic status, but I did need a few drinks after this. The farther this series goes, the more I get wrecked. And baby, this installation to the Arcana Chronicles wrecked the living hell out of me. As my best friend said, “Isn’t that a good thing?”

Dark Calling

The great and dangerous game of Arcana has shifted. Evie Greene’s life is in even more peril as she learns of a great change in herself and in others, including Aric. With her life in danger, she flees, desperate and alone until she runs into unexpected acquaintances. With Joules, The Tower, and Kentarch, The Chariot, they move fast to figure out what has come over their allies and enemies and what’s turned their cards upside down.

On the verge of death out in the Ash, they run into old friends and new enemies. The Hanged Man finally comes into play and he’s not holding back. Taking many of Evie’s friends under his power, they must find a way to free them while also worrying about when Richter, The Emperor, may attack next. But, Evie’s powers are on the fritz and she may have to turn to her alter-ego, the red witch, in order to stay alive. She’s still confused about whether the one person who can pull her back from that dark abyss is alive or not.

The Dark Calling may take them all…

These characters have come so far and grown a great deal. I couldn’t be more proud of Evie. Sure, she’s still got that girly touch where she isn’t the greatest or most powerful fighter, but when she unleashes her powers she is the most deadly thing in the room, hell, on the planet. She is not somebody to trifle with. The bomb that was dropped in her lap at the end of the last book, Arcana Rising, really amps of the stress level for everyone, especially me. The young woman is a champ.

Aric’s past feelings really came back to haunt him and Evie. I have a big feeling that bothered many people, but I’m not one of those people. I figured he had lingering doubts and issues with his and Evie’s past lives and it’s why I’m not a major fan of their relationship. I can see what she sees in him, though, so I understand why she can’t fully toss him away. It’s the history. It’s always the history.

And Jack…fate has it out for this one. I couldn’t have been more excited about his return. He’s still the hothead I know and love, but he’s not the same guy he was in the very beginning when he first met Evie. He doesn’t fly off the handle as he once did. Only on those that threaten him and his. He’s more focused on the big picture: Evie and how much he cares about her.

While still incredibly young, these characters have been incredibly strong and have struggled through so much that they’ve each been on the brink of death more than once, and Cole is having me feel way too much about them.

Many reunions happened during this book and I was beyond ecstatic. So much giggling and happiness that I couldn’t contain myself. Everyone has been so scattered over the last two books and it’s had me a bit torn up.

The plot twists twisted my guts up into all kinds of interesting shapes. If you recall, I mentioned I might’ve been wrecked because of this book. The plot twists would be one of those big reasons why. I read this book from sunup to sundown on one of my only days off last week. I could not put this book down. It was amazing and heart-pounding. I’m still picking my guts off of the floor.

I’m still very convinced that Jack has a major part to play before all is said and done. He was brought into this from the very beginning for a reason. And while I am theorizing (and geeking out) here, a part of me thinks he’s part Arcana. Like, he’s been accidentally created. While human, he’s been brought into this game of life and death chess. Many Arcana have fallen, but he’s somehow still standing. I’ve got such a fuzzy feeling about him. I’m still working on my theory.

Dark Calling

The book moves fast, though over the span of weeks, just like the books previous. And you still follow through the POVs of Evie, Aric (Death), and Jack (The Hunter). The new POV that I got a new glimpse through was The Hanged Man. The man is a total creep and downright vain.

Dark Calling

The imagery always gets me. Activating my senses and putting them on high alert. The use of onomatopoeias really pulls you in closer. Cole also uses short and to the point sentences to show how quick the action scenes move, adding to the intensity of the story. It’s one of my favorite things! And the setting is all new! Evie and her gang of misfits (which they really are) travel out to the ocean, or what’s left of it anyway, and discover Jubilee; a settlement where the last remaining waters of the ocean is, and where ships have collided and capsized. This community isn’t the godsend that it seems to be. People are being offed on the plank and plunged into the dark, cold depths of the water. But, with no place else to go, Evie has to take her chances here to regroup. This place really reminded me of exploring the Titanic under water because that’s how this place works. You scavenge and get paid for it. It’s dangerous and there are always people that don’t make it back. There’s also a strange magic hanging over the place that is dangerous, so Evie and the other Arcana have to be careful with their powers.

Dark Calling

I highly recommend this series. I really do. The action, paranormal angle, romance, angst and that feeling of always being unsure which day will be your last is all encompassed in it. Cole really kept it all original here. I’ve never read anything like this. I’m enthralled and probably on an unhealthy level. So many of my heartstrings have been broken, but also mended…and then broken again. I can’t get enough. I know that when this series comes to its end I will be a complete mess. I’ve never been so in love with a series like this.

Quotables:

“Go. Out into the wastelands.” (p. 11)

“Remember: Your mind has dominion over your body.” (Kentarch to Evie, p. 113)

“My hope lied to me, whispering in my ear, ‘Believe these men, and you will reunite with your wife.’ Tell me, Empress, do you trust the whisper of your hope?” (Kentarch to Evie, p. 115)

“Noble cuts like a blade to the heart.” (Jack to Evie, p. 138)

“Now, where were we? Oh, yeah, I was telling you how every Emperor gets an Empress. Which means you ass is mine.” (Richter to Evie, p. 156)

“My mother once told me that diamonds were born of pressure, but I never understood what she meant until I met you.” (Evie to Jack, p. 180)

More to comes soon…

P.S. Song today? Into Dust by Mazzy Star.

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Vengeance Becomes Her (Arcana Rising – A Book Review)

Arcana Rising (The Arcana Chronicles #4)
Author: Kresley Cole
Published: 2016

Arcana Rising

My Rating:Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

He’d asked me what I would sacrifice. I hadn’t been able to answer then, but I could now.

Not Jack.

After Richter, The Emperor, wreaks utter destruction, annihilating an entire army and more, Circe, The Priestess, strikes back with a force just as strong of . Evie, giving up after such a heavy loss, nearly lets her win, lets her kill her. Only one thing keeps her going. Vengeance. She will have it.

The remaining Arcana on the board have chosen their sides and the main battle can begin. Evie struggles to fight and keep going. Evie finds herself going darker and darker after finally getting to her Gran and learning of The Empress’s chronicles. Can Evie repress the red witch inside or will she let her loose to avenge all that she’s lost, becoming what Jack helped to suppress? The true Empress.

Could it be enough to take on Richter and his allies? Evie reunites with Aric and other fellow Arcana to build up a mighty force to fight back. It may prove difficult though after the bond between her and Death has been shaken and nearly destroyed by her choices. Can she and her allies rise to the heat of battle or will they fall like those who have already been swallowed up by Richter’s fires.

When the battle is done…And all hope is lost…Vengeance becomes everything.

 

Reviews for previous books in the series can be found below.

Poison Princess

Poison Princesshere

Endless Knight

Endless Knighthere

Dead of Winter - SR

Dead of Winterhere

Day Zero

Day Zerohere

 

So…Okay.

Yes.

I’m struggling to find words. Why you ask? Because this series is completely beautiful and also very destructive on my poor heart. I’ve said it once, twice, a bazillion times. I’m completely obsessed. The aftermath of Dead of Winter lingers over this entire book.

Evie Greene is struggling with heavy losses after a brutal attack from Richter (The Emperor of the major Arcana) has left nothing but destruction its wake. Her heart completely closed off, Aric (Death) helps her to recover from her mortal wounds, promising to help her avenge those that have been taken from her. The big showdown begins now (which makes me an even bigger wreck). I’m still working on my feelings at the moment. They’re everywhere and are hard to collect.

Arcana Rising

To keep up with the basics. The tone has been completely steady and keeping me on the edge of my seat. I’m very shocked, but somehow I’m still hanging on-not in the bad sense I mean. I mean that it’s a complete roller coaster that will leave you breathless. You’re holding on for dear life while. I read this book during my whole day off last week while watching Grace and Frankie (completely amazing show and also had me on the edge of my seat). It’s been a loooong time since I’ve done that, but I just couldn’t put it down. The book was glued to my fingers. The pacing was still moving fast and with a hyper awareness, but when you’re wondering each day if it’s your last day then it’s understandable.

Unlike the previous books, except for Day Zero, this book followed multiple POVs instead of only following Evie Greene. This was really awesome because it really spread the story out and allowed me to get a look at a few other characters that I really love. Each new POV was just as intense as it’s been with Evie throughout the series. There hasn’t been a single character that I’ve hated. Well, more specifically, there hasn’t been a character that I’ve hated because it’s a terrible character that makes now sense whatsoever. I have hated a character because from person to fictional person, I just don’t like them and hope they perish. Yes, Aric, I mean you. LOL. I swear, this series is giving me the Twilight PTSD (Team Edward or Team Jacob?). I’m still Team Jack. Freaking love that human and am crying an ocean of tears for him.

Buffy - Once More with Extreme Prejudice

Of course characters that we learned about in the previous volume (Day Zero) finally make an entrance and this deadly game of thunderdome is in full swing with all of the Arcana on the board. More! Evie’s Gran is actually alive and she’s also a little (A LOT) psycho. After reading her own chronicles on The Empress, Evie comes across unsettling discoveries about her friends and past games, and is deeply unsettled and unsure about who to trust. Her friends might not be her friends. With Gran’s ill condition worsening, she isn’t even sure she can trust her. She keeps telling her to release the red witch, which is the last thing Evie wants to do. But, with Jack…missing (queue my denial)…she may not be able to keep her at bay much longer.

Also, it turns out that the major Arcana are not the only ones on the battle board. The minor Arcana are floating around as well! Those like: ten of swords and queen of cups. I’ve been wondering for the last few books if they were a part of this and I’m so giddy to know that they are. They apparently aren’t people you want to walk up and expect a buddy-buddy moment to happen. They want this game to end just like them, possibly more than them.

Did I mention that my heart is utterly destroyed? It’s been ripped out, or at least it I wish is was. It would be much better than this pain I’m in over all of the emotional dread and heartache I feel. Kresley has truly messed with my emotions.

The twists! There are so many. There were several times I turned a nasty shade of red, teared up, and cried out “NOOO!”. I was losing it, utterly upset. And no, it wasn’t because this book was terrible. Not. At. All. It was because I felt like I was being torn apart by what was happening. You know the feeling. These characters you fall in love with that have great passion and intensity go and do all of these stupid things you disagree with. They go and stomp on your heart.  But the story is so great you can’t stop, so in the end you let them. That’s Evie Greene.

Arcana Rising

Like those previous, this book was amazing. I’ve already pre-ordered the next in the series that’s due out on February 13, 2018. Usually I’m pretty patient, but not about this book. I WANT IT RIGHT FREAKING NOW. I have no idea what will be coming and I’m not entirely sure that I’m emotionally prepared either, but I can’t wait.

 

Quotables:

“The Empress’s screams had awakened the dark in me. Reverse, perverse…The Dark Calling.” (Mathew, p. 59)

“Twist, tighten, constrict.” (Evie, p. 104)

“The gods decreed this game. They set events into motion eons ago. Someone has to win. No matter what, someone will win.” (Lark, p.116)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Eyes Closed by Halsey.

 

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Thoughts? Tell me in the comment section below.

Don’t Blink, It’s the End Of the World as You Know It (Day Zero – A Book Review)

Day Zero (The Arcana Chronicles #3.5)
Author: Kresley Cole
Published: 2016

Day Zero

My Rating:

Millennia ago, the gods grew bored.

Evie Greene’s story of the Flash is one of many. She lost her best friend, her boyfriend-everyone that she knows, except for the rugged Jackson Deveaux who came strolling back into her life, though their last encounter had ended on a bad note. That night still runs through her mind like a waking nightmare. All of the beautiful, hypnotizing lights in the sky. A fiery aurora borealis that destroyed the world, thrusting it into an apocalyptic wasteland, and turning it into the new game board for the Arcana. Across the globe each one connected to this deadly game must first survive the horrifying night that turned their worlds upside down and changed them forever.

Some Arcana are experiencing their powers for the first time. Others were just waiting for this game to begin. Here, discover what they lost and the hell they went through and how their lives began anew on day zero of the Flash.

Ashes to ashes…Wall fall down.

The reviews for the series so far are below.

Poison Princess

The Poison Princesshere

Endless Knight

Endless Knighthere

Dead of Winter - SR

Dead of Winterhere

This was a great addition to the Arcana Chronicles. While it doesn’t move Evie Greene’s story forward, it does go into detail about all of the Arcana on the day that the world was wiped out and plunged into an apocalyptic wasteland with pus-filled creatures that are like zombies and deathly plagues. The worst thing out there? People that either want to turn you into a slave or eat you.

Kresley starts out this small collection of short character stories with a side note—you should at least have read the first three books before this one. Like I said, this book isn’t directly connected to the story line, but still, there are massive spoilers that refer back to them as well as characters that we haven’t met yet. Each story follows an Arcana on days up to the Flash. Some don’t have much of a story, but that’s because their stories have been told previously.

There are some characters are already well-known at this point, like Evie (The Empress), Aric (Death), Jack (???), and Matthew (The Fool). I was really excited to learn what it was like at the very beginning for several other characters such as Joules (The Tower), Lark (Strength), and Selena (The Moon). Others like The Sun and Fortune—other tarot—make  me excited to continue on with the series.

Poison Princess

Some of these stories really had my stomach churning with how dark they got. Don’t get me wrong, I love a book that pushes the boundaries because it can make the story that much more realistic, but wow. There was no holding back on how nasty the world, and the people in it, can really be. Every gritty detail made me cringe. But, the parts that were such a karmic flip were so satisfying.

Each character was well written into independent people. Not a one seemed repetitive, which is always a worry of mine when there’s so many characters in a book. There’s nothing worse than characters who all read like one character rather than having their own independent lives. (Actually, not true. As a grammar whore, I will tell you that you’re VS your and there VS their VS they’re is really irritating when fucked up. LOL)

The style of this book is very different than the others in the series so far. It doesn’t keep track of the days after the Flash (A.F.) like it does for Evie, Jack and Aric. Each character story takes place just days before the Flash. One is in a subway, another at a fraternity house, and one at a hockey game, for example. Arcana are all over the world, which also shows that this series isn’t just focused in the United States.

It doesn’t follow the usual pattern with chapters. Each story is titled by the Arcana player, reminding me of a primer or bestiary. Both serve as a book that guides the reader in a specific subject, like a textbook.

How else do I explain how fulfilling this book was?

Ah! (Possibly spoiler-y ahead.)

There were a couple things that Kresley didn’t bring up in the book. Most of Matthew’s story is blacked out in the book. I’m glad that I already know some of it, though it is all over the place. The style of his story matches that of who he is both as The Fool of the Arcana and as an autistic kid. As the The Fool, Matthew has a talent for keeping whatever he wants regarding the game hidden, which comes across as a jumbled mess whenever he speaks anyway. It makes me antsy because I want to know everything and he knows everything! It’s so TEASING!

One character story that I was looking forward to reading was non-existent! The Hanged Man. There was absolutely nothing, and now I’m even more impatient about discovering what the hub-bub about the character. There’s been no trace of this Arcana so far in the series and I’m not sure that Jack is this Arcana, since people are wondering about him and if he’s something more. Evie or Aric would’ve heard his call at this point, I feel. Plus, he has his own story of his last few days up to the Flash. It’s obvious that Kresley enjoys torturing her readers.

freak out - Misty Dietz

(About sums up how it’s making me feel.)

This is a quick read. I finished in a matter of two hours. It’s filled with so much need to know stuff, in my opinion. I like having extra background about my characters. I can see them so much more clearly. With a story that spreads out over such a massive setting and that has several characters between books, I’m glad to get some backstory. Is this a must-read? Probably not since it doesn’t move the main story forward. Do I recommend it? YES! If you’re like me, you like to know everything and this is filled to the brim with information that I feel will put you on the field of this deadly game. To me, that’s important and really pulls me into this world even deeper.

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? Still Alive by Lisa Miskovsky.

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The Heat of Battle…In a Teenage Wasteland (Dead of Winter – A Book Review)

Dead of Winter (The Arcana Chronicles #3)
Author: Kresley Cole
Published: 2015

Dead of Winter - SR

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

What was real? Unreal?

Nearly seduced by Death, Evie finds out that The Lovers, one of the most twisted and perverted of the Arcana, has kidnapped Jack and she will do anything to get him back, even create shaky alliances that could crumble and destroy her, literally. She doesn’t care. She can’t let him die, not with how they left things unresolved and her heart still possibly longing for him.

Tricking Death and leaving the safety of his mansion; its lavish luxuries not hiding that it’s actually more a prison, Evie finds comfort in Fort Arcana, Jack’s creation. Its protective walls hide survivors of the Flash and other Arcana who are also searching for an end to this deadly game. With battle on the horizon, Evie, Jack, and Death agree—well, not agree, but team up—to take out The Lovers once and for all and save one of their own. But, can they do it without killing one another first?

As if surviving the dry wasteland of the apocalypse wasn’t hard enough, Evie is torn in her heart as Jack and Death convey their feelings for her with no intention of giving up. A past with one of them that spans centuries, but a current present, and a possible future with another that fuels a fiery passion inside. One who manipulates and reminds her of who and what she is, and the other who breaks her trust and shows her what their future could be. The choice rips at her center while the heat of battle arises. Can she figure out where her heart lies before it’s too late?

Heartbreaking decisions. Uncertain victory. Two heroes returned.

 

The reviews for the first two of series are below.

Poison PrincessThe Poison Princess – here

   Endless KnightEndless Winterhere

THIS BOOK. THIS SERIES! I’m completely and utterly under the spell of this series. It is certainly one of my favorites. The story is compelling and driven at the speed of . It’s dark and utterly dangerous, but not going to lie, this would be something I’d dive into. Headfirst. The heat of battle and all. Its adventure and danger is heart-pounding and pulsing through my blood.

Here, we have the classic plot of one person being torn between two people in this installation to the Arcana series. Kresley did not shy away from going in depth in showing how Jack and Aric (AKA Death) make Evie feel both positively and negatively. So far, this is the toughest decision Evie has to make for herself. Amid all of the deadly baggers, cannibals and slavers, not to mention the Arcana still in the game. It’s her heart that is in danger more than her actual being right now. As The Empress card she can take care of herself very well. Both Jack and Aric pose pros and cons to being the right suitor for Evie.

Now, I’ve never been torn between two people who both want to be with me, but this book with its first person POV puts you right there. It’s overwhelming. Personally, I’m with Jack. Aric, besides being Death, just rubs me wrong. He cares about Evie, that’s sweet, but still, the way he goes about trying to win her affection makes me a little disturbed, but that’s just me. I’m just not leaning towards Death. Give me the Cajun, Jack! Please? The way he’s so sure about himself and Evie is endearing. He doesn’t let the game of the Arcana stand in the way of the two of them and I admire that he’s trying whatever he can to get back to Evie.

Dead of Winter

There was a great addition of flashbacks this time around. I know that when it comes to the past it’s Hakuna Matata  because, well, in this apocalyptic world you should be concerned about the future, which could possibly be quite short, but these flashbacks really allowed me to get a glimpse of Jack and Aric so that I  had a deeper understanding of them. Aaaaand it made me fall even more in love with a fictional character. Curses. All in all, it was good to see more of what is going on with the other characters and good to get to know them more.

Dead of Winter

 A few BIG plot twists caught me off guard majorly. My stomach lurched and I may have turned a little green while my eyes bulged out of my head. And then another twisty-turn completely shattered my heart and it was right at the end so I have no idea what happens next, which is why I immediately bought the next book. So many twists and turns left me spinning and yearning for more.

Dead of Winter

Theory? There is one growing on the horizon.

Who or what is Jack?!?!? People have guessed that he is possibly The Hanged Man, which hasn’t come into play or even been activated that I know of. I’m wondering if he is being introduced as a new card altogether? Is that even possible? Each Arcana member has a special call that alerts players of their proximity and acts as a warning of how deadly they are. So then, if Jack were Arcana wouldn’t his call be heard around all of the Arcana that he’s come in contact with? So many wonderings. All of these other Arcana were chosen, why not a new player to the deadly game? He is called The Hunter…

I really loved this book just like I’ve loved the ones previous. It is always my hope that the next one that follows is just as good so, *crosses fingers*. I highly suggest this series if you enjoy drama, non-stop action, dark and apocalyptic worlds of a magic you can’t quite put your finger on. Oh, and there’s tantalizing romance that will scorch your ever-loving heart. It’s really worth a read.

Quotables:

“I never imagined someone like you would be a leader, other than a cheerleader.” (Selena to Evie, p. 78)

Me, Jack, and Death on a mission. What could possibly go wrong?” (Evie, p. 137)

“Mortal, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in all my year, it’s this: lies are curses you place on yourself.” (Aric to Jack, p.  182)

“…the people of his mother’s blood fall in love once. They pray they get it right—because it can’t be changed…” (Selena to Evie, p. 283)

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? Break My Heart by Hey Violet.

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