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Bitterwood by Rowan Speedwell
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bookshelves: 3-star-review, m-m-fantasy

I’m not quite sure what I was expecting from this book, but I think it was more than what I actually got. There’s a bit of romance, but it’s mostly lust, there are mages and a little bit of magic, there’s the mystery of the cat, the mystery of Meric, a snow storm and lots of wandering around in a wood, but it’s pretty slow going and although a light, easy read, it never quite caught my attention as I’d hoped.

Part of this is because of the romance, or rather complete lack of it. There are actually two in this book, the one between Faran and Joss, which starts from nowhere and is mostly lust without any hints of chemistry, because we only have Joss’ side of the tale and Faran keeps his thoughts and emotions close to his chest and can also be moody on occasion. There’s also a sweeter romance between Meric and Faran’s son, Eissa. But this isn’t a romance either, because it’s love at first sight and pretty boring.

Which is kind of like the mystery of the cat. I had a few theories about that cat and, sadly, it was my least interesting one that came true. I can’t really say why without too many spoilers, but I just found the whole thing a bit weak and flimsy, with too many pertinent details coming out afterwards, when they really would have helped to build the mystery if mentioned before.

Having said that, the world-building in this is great. There are loads of little details about manor life, which probably didn’t need to be in there and definitely slowed down the pace, but were still interesting. The descriptions are good too, and I would have liked to have spent more time in the Bitterwood, especially if it had been given more presence.

So it’s definitely not all bad, I just would have liked more connection between the characters, a stronger build up to the cat plot and just more depth all ’round. However, if you’re looking for a light, easy M/M fantasy that definitely has its roots in Medieval Europe then you might want to give this a try.

(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)
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Reading Progress

July 20, 2016 – Shelved
July 20, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
September 15, 2016 – Started Reading
September 15, 2016 – Finished Reading
September 19, 2016 – Shelved as: 3-star-review
September 19, 2016 – Shelved as: m-m-fantasy

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