Friday, June 24, 2016

Wildest Dreams by Kristen Ashley | Book Review

Fantasyland #1
First Published: August 15, 2011
Kindle Edition
Adult, fantasy
Seoafin “Finnie” Wilde was taught by her parents that every breath was a treasure and to seek every adventure she could find. And she learns this lesson the hard way when they perish in a plane crash. But she never forgets and when she discovers there is a parallel universe where every person has a twin, she finds a witch who can send her there so she can have the adventure of a lifetime.

But upon arrival in the Winter Wonderland of Lunwyn, she realizes she’s been played by her twin and finds herself walking down the aisle to be wed to The Drakkar.

Thrown into inauspicious circumstances, with years of practice, Finnie bests the challenges and digs into her adventure. But as Frey Drakkar discovers the woman who is his new wife is not Princess Sjofn, a woman he dislikes but instead, his Finnie, a free-spirit with a thirst for venture just like him, without her knowledge he orders his new bride bound to his frozen world, everlasting.

But at the same time Frey plunges Finnie into a web of political intrigue that includes assassination plots, poison, magic, mystery and… dragons.
To tell you the truth, I have never planned on reading this one, or any book in the series. It was a mixture of things; the first being the unappealing covers, the second being the synopsis which was overly long and messily structured (imo).

But I have read another Kristen Ashley novel (Play It Safe) which I loved, so when this one only $0.99 I decided I would get it. For that price, what did I really have to lose? Luckily for this book, I almost immediately found myself in the mood for a romance, and picked it up. There were a lot of things that I liked about it. There were a few I didn't.

But at the end of the day, I decided to rate it based on my enjoyment which was a solid four stars.

In it's essence, it's a pretty simple premise: Finnie lost her parents when she was younger, so when she discovers there exists a parallel universe to ours where they still live and breath (even if it's a different version of them), she jumps on the opportunity to see them again, switching places with that world's Sjofn.

Only turns out it's that Sjofn's wedding day... so now Finnie is getting married, to a frightening beast of a man called Frey Drakkar ("The Dragon") and this Frey doesn't really like Sjofn and so he thinks he doesn't like Finnie.

Thus starts the little adventure that would eventually lead to these two falling in love.

Finne was a good character, and a good person, refusing to let any negativity control her life. She finds joy in whatever and wherever she is, easily excitable, and has a wondering spirit. She fit the Drakkar very well, despite a few hits and glitches along the way (and moments I was shaking my head because shame on you Drakkar!). The Drakkar is a natural born leader, a strategic, imposing figure with a lot of power at his hands, being (essentially), the true king of Finnie's country.

It's a marriage-before-love type of story, which is one of my favorite tropes in historical and this reads very much like an historical in the medieval fantasy world it presents. A fantasy world that is well thought out, but takes second place to the love story itself.

And I honestly, and truly enjoyed that story very much, even if I was a bit sad with the villain.

However, there were a few things that bothered me, and they mostly had to do with the writing. It's not the best... not even close. It took a while for me to get used to it and put it out of my mind enough to concentrate on the story itself. It was all kind of choppy at places and very young, which is a bit weird considering this has some very adult content. 

Or maybe, it felt young because of how Finnie talks and expresses herself. Finnie should be around thirty years old, but I wouldn't put her past twenty-two based on her voice. She sounded so, so young to me. Younger that I, and I am 22 years old. Her inner monologues included a tedious amount of "wow", "cool", "awesome", and the likes. Every new thing she encountered was awesome and freaking beautiful, more than the last one. After a while, I was desensitized to all her exclamations of beauty because they appeared so often and so frequently.

Then there were the descriptions. Good god. How many dresses and items of clothing can you describe to teeny tiny details? It drove me mad. I did not need to know the exact shade and shape of your dress, what fabric it was made from and how many bows and strings and belts it had in it. It gives nothing to the story. I can handle a few dress descriptions in order to establish the fashion and how it differs from ours. But almost every dress and every item of clothing you see? It was too much by far. You can leave some things to the imagination, and it won't take from the story at all.

These two things were the major issues I had with the book, and while they did bother me greatly, I decided to just skim the descriptions and focus and the story and I enjoyed that story enough to one click and start the second book immediately.

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