Author- Raven Kennedy
Series- this is the first in a series
Rating– 1/5 (I gave it a 2 stars on Instagram, but after sleeping on it, I’m hoping no one buys this book)
Genre- not romance. Not erotica. Good luck finding a genre. Probably fantasy
Trope- none, I’ve seen this listed as enemies to lovers on Instagram. It doesn’t fit that.
Steam level- Hard to describe. There aren’t any sex scenes for romance/connection/love between the two main characters. I’d say 3/5 steam with the king and his saddles but the explicit content is rape, which then changes how it’s rated.
Cover– misleading. Shows me fantasy but the plot didn’t feel fantasy until the end
Comps– hopefully none. I was enraged for most of this novel, hoping it would improve and it only seemed to worsen. I’m fine with explicit sex scenes, but there was no character growth or enlightenment about her situation. There was no message showing the reader how to overcome the issue.
Gold floors, gold walls, gold furniture, gold clothes. In Highbell, in the castle built into the frozen mountains, everything is made of gold.
King Midas rescued me. Dug me out of the slums and placed me on a pedestal. I’m called his precious. His favored. I’m the woman he Gold-Touched to show everyone that I belong to him. To show how powerful he is. He gave me protection, and I gave him my heart. And even though I don’t leave the confines of the palace, I’m safe.
Until war comes to the kingdom and a deal is struck.
Suddenly, my trust is broken. My love is challenged, and I realize that everything I thought I knew about Midas might be wrong.
Because these bars I’m kept in, no matter how gilded, are still just a cage.
But the monsters on the other side might make me wish I’d never left.
The first chapter was explicit to set the standards. I’m pretty sure I hate both Auren, the golden skinned caged prisoner, and King Midas. I hate that she wants to be around him. And I hate him for caging her. I hate her for feeling jealous of his saddles and I despise him for trying to control/change the way she thinks and processes. So there’s huge room for character growth on both sides.
Character Development- none
Best part- the possibilities of cool snow pirates, but they ended up not being cool
What I would change- going back in time and not reading it
Setting- her cage was described well in the palace and the snow atmosphere was done well
Character goals/motivations- she didn’t have one
Diversity- She has golden skin. Otherwise, I don’t recall other ethnicities. Maybe I missed some since I Was distracted at feeling appalled.
Ethics/morals- This is the first book where I’d publicly state that I hope others don’t buy it
Conflict/tension/obstacles- things just kept happening to her. She was the victim. She was being saved. And even in the way she was being saved felt unethical.
Thoughts while reading-
Page 35- aaah, there’s soo many things wrong with this message, but I’m rolling with it in hopes for the bigger picture. I can see why it’s popular yet why people would hate it too. I’m glad there’s trigger warnings beforehand.
Page 52- when & how is she going to escape? Will there be any character that’s likeable later? How will Auren avoid Fulke? How and when will she use her ribbons? Will there be any good guy?
Page 91- good. You better fight back
Page 122- ten years is a long time to never step foot outside. How long do you think you could last?
Page 137- these scenes always drive me crazy because I’d be the same way. Naively giving what I can to try and make a difference but it makes things worse because the whole system is broken. It’s heart breaking
Halfway- I love Digby and Sail, the guards. I have a guess that Midas might be King Rot in disguise and or King Rot isn’t as bad as he seems and there’s a twist. I don’t see myself ever trusting Midas. So we shall see what the author has in store for me.
Page 165- it feels contradictory when Auren is proud that the guard calls her “more than a saddle,” yet earlier told him to never think poorly of a saddle. So, which is it? Is she proud or ashamed? Is the mixture the point?
The adventure was a bit slow other than for the purpose of forming friendships. But this possible avalanche is exciting. At this point, I just don’t know where the book is leading. Obviously she’s headed to the new kingdom, but she has no goal. She has clear intent to react more assertive instead of reactive passive like the past, yet it’s still a reaction. She doesn’t have something she’s striving towards.
Page 186- very unexpected. This book feels completely different now than the beginning
Page 204- maybe I’m a robot but it feels like a severe reaction for a new friendship
Page 211- I highly appreciate how not much time passes when the next chapter picks up
Page 231- I feel so confused in the world I’m in.
Page 236- what? We were supposed to be in the “dark night of the soul” moment but instead we get whiplashed to a different backstory of a bridge leading to another realm? At this point I’m feeling frustrated as if there wasn’t much of a plan going into the story & things happened to just bounce up disorganized. There doesn’t seem to be a purpose of her hardships so there’s no point in her suffering.
Page 242- one of the main characters (the King) has just gone MIA in this story
Page 252- yeah she’s debating who is the lesser evil- wolves or foxes, but she’s not doing anything about it. They’re all just waiting around to see what fate hands them.
Page 270- so another character just disappears from tor book? Digby is just… gone from the story.
Ending- Page 289- hey y’all. To be brutally honest, the only time I give a book a 1-2 star is when I don’t finish it. And because of that I often leave the rating empty. Unfortunately, this is one of the only books I’ve given a 2 star after completing the whole thing. I won’t be purchasing the rest of the series. Explicit sex scenes don’t bother me. But a novel based on rape does. The whole time I had a yucky feeling in hopes that it would get better, but was disappointed. Usually I don’t say my opinion if it’s negative in order to keep the peace & respect authors, but I feel like I owe it to my daughter to speak against this novel. (The only thing I liked was the concept of snow pirates which had potential for cool scenes.) I’m glad there was a trigger warning in the beginning but I don’t feel it sufficed to the amount needed. The sex scenes weren’t even a 4 or 5 steam or spice level. It was just the overall message it portrayed that I wasn’t on board with.