ARC Review: “Wilde’s Meadow” by Krystal Wade

Wilde’s Meadow (Darkness Falls #3) by Krystal Wade

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Happy endings are hard to find, and even though Katriona is in the middle of a war with someone who’s already stolen more than she can replace, she aches for a positive future with her Draíochtans.

Armed with hope, confidence in her abilities, and a strange new gift from her mother, Kate ventures into the Darkness to defeat a fallen god.

Losses add up, and new obstacles rise to stand in the way. Is the one determined to bring Encardia light strong enough to keep fighting, or will all the sacrifices to stop those who seek domination be for nothing?

2 1/2 stars

Thank you to NetGally and Curiousity Quills Press for this eARC! This book is now available.

Well, this is the end. Hopefully, if you’re reading this, you’ve read my reviews of Wilde’s Fire and Wilde’s Army. If not, spoilers will abound.

I did not like Wilde’s Fire. I’m just going to put that out there. I thought Kate and Arland’s romance was absolutely ridiculous and creepy, but I finished the book anyways. Somehow, for some reason, I also requested Wilde’s Army when it came out. It wasn’t the best, but it was actually surprisingly better than the first one. Maybe it’s because Arland is absent for a long time in that one…

For better or for worse, I also requested Wilde’s Meadow, because since I’d made it through the first two, why not? Unfortunetly, I was rather disappointed.

Kate and Arland are back in full swing for this one, and syrupy sweet. The freaky intensity of their relationship brings me to think of Twilight, which is never a good thing. In multiple instances, they leave people waiting and ignore a war so they can “enjoy being newlyweds.” Honestly, I prefer it when you’re fighting demons.

Despite the war aspect, there wasn’t as much action as I was expecting. Or, rather, when it happened, Kate wasn’t always actively participating. Sure, she did her fair share, but too many huge plot points in the novel were taken out of Kate’s hands and figured out for her. The amount of times that people had to lead her around to what she needed to save the world was infuriating.

There were also far, far too many characters, once again. Worse, these characters got an attempt at depth, but then nothing ever fully did them justice. I never believed in the change of the character of Perth, for example. He was always pretty rude, and otherwise flat. The senseless deaths of other characters also made no sense.

I think the biggest things that threw me off were the plot “twists.” But they weren’t really twists. The way they were thrown into the story, they felt like plot inventions, suddenly thrown in to move things along, like a NaNo novel.

All in all, it was a fight to get to the end of the book. The characters were always defeating my attempts to like them, and the plot was really jerky. I find this to be one of the few series where the middle book was actually the best.

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ARC Review: “Wilde’s Army” by Krystal Wade

Wilde’s Army (Darkness Falls #2) by Krystal Wade

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Hello, Katriona.”
Those two words spark fear in Katriona Wilde and give way to an unlikely partnership with Perth, the man she’s been traded to marry for a favor. Saving her true love and protector Arland, her family, and their soldiers keeps her motivated, but the at-odds duo soon realizes trust is something that comes and goes with each breath of Encardia’s rotting, stagnant air. The moment when concern for her missing sister spirals out of control, all thoughts of trust are pushed aside and she finds herself trapped by the daemon tricks Perth warned her of.
However, rescuing those she loves is only half the problem.
Kate still must get to Willow Falls, unite her clashing people, and form an army prepared to fight in order to defeat Darkness. When so many she’s grown fond of die along the journey, her ability to play by the gods’ rules is tested.
How will she make allies when the world appears stacked against her? And will she still be Katriona Wilde, the girl with fire?

3 stars

This review is of an ARC received from NetGalley. You can get a copy for yourself on July 4, 2012.

I don’t know how many of you saw my review of Darkness Falls #1, Wilde’s Fire, but it was … a little less than complimentary. Giving the book the benefit of the doubt, however, I realized that a lot of the reason I headdesked into next Tuesday while reading it was my own jaded opinion–and Wade certainly had potential to write some great action scenes. Crossing my fingers, I went ahead and requested the next one from NetGalley.

And instantly screeched to a halt.

Wilde’s Army begins a little bit after the events of Wilde’s Fire, which is nothing new. However, it starts after EVERYONE BUT KATE AND PERTH have been ABDUCTED BY THE BAD GUYS.

Picture me squawking ‘What? What? WHAT?’ and flapping my arms around like a demented chicken, and you have my reaction to this.

Besides it being an utterly unsubtle plot convention to get Perth and Kate to like each other, it’s also done without any forewarning or real explanation. I was not happy, at all. I almost stopped reading right there.

But I didn’t, because I am a glutton for punishment.

And that ended up being a good thing.

See, remember how I wanted more action in Wilde’s Fire? Well, I GOT THAT in Wilde’s Army. I got it by the BUCKET FULLS. Kate and Perth’s rescue attempt begins the first of MANY battle and magic-weilding scenes. I thought Wade could rock those, and I was right. The book barely stopped moving right up until the end, which made me very happy.

Kate and Arland are still over the top as ever, especially come the time when her mom starts pushing her 18 year old daughter to marry the guy. Having just finished reading Rapture by Lauren Kate, I’d rather had my fill of overdone romance, but at least it wasn’t as much of a focus this time. I was also probably too gleeful about how Kate and Perth had to pretend to be in love for a while and Arland was nowhere to be found, which was a nice switch.

The ending was also nicely done, though I was confused by how easily everything worked out. It made vague sense, so I let it slide for the most part. Most confusing was how, for the whole book, Kate was demanding an Army and then gets everyone to fight for her, but is then like “Whoops, sorry, only need a few of you!” The book is titled Wilde’s Army, for goodness sake. But maybe that’s just me being nitpicky…

All in all, I found Wilde’s Army to be a marked improvement on Wilde’s Fire. The romance wasn’t as focused on, there was a ton more action and the characterization was mildly better. I’m glad I stuck with Wilde’s Fire and then requested this one. Wade didn’t disappoint!

Review: “Wilde’s Fire” by Krystal Wade

Wilde’s Fire (Darkness Falls #1) by Krystal Wade (Click for Goodreads)

2 1/2 stars

“There is no pain in this death, only peace, knowing I am going to die with the one I love the most.”—Katriona Wilde.
Katriona Wilde has never wondered what it would feel like to have everything she’s ever known and loved ripped away, but she is about to find out. When she inadvertently leads her sister and best friend through a portal into a world she’s dreamed of for six years, she finds herself faced with more than just the frightening creatures in front of her. Kate’s forced to accept a new truth: her entire life has been a lie, and those closest to her have betrayed her. What’s worse, she has no control over her new future, and it’s full of magic and horrors from which nightmares are made. Will Kate discover and learn to control who she really is in time to save the ones she loves, or will all be lost?

This review is based on an ARC received from NetGalley. Look for the ebook to be released May 13, 2012.

To me, there is nothing more frustrating than a book you know could have been amazing, and then wasn’t. That exactly what happened with this book. I really wanted to like it, and in places I really did. The world, the magic and the mythology Wade created were really interesting. The plot could have been spectacular. The fight scenes were AMAZING. (That ending? Nearly made up for the book!) There was so much potential hiding in this book that it frustrated me even more with each passing scene. Because here’s the thing.

Books live and die by their characters. Especially their main characters. And Kate? Oh boy.

To me, she was like a roadblock in this book. I really wanted to enjoy it, but I just couldn’t do it. At first, I thought she was cute. Ridiculously dense when it came to boys, but just cute in an innocent way. Her and Brad’s relationship was sweet, so I was willing to just roll my eyes at her and keep on reading.

And then the rest of the book happened.

Far, far too much of this book centered on romance. Kate and Brad go down the tubes quickly, as he spends most of the book in a coma. My eyebrows first started hiking as, right after Brad admits he wanted to marry her and Kate spends pages musing about what it would have been like being his wife, she then goes to Arland and asks him if he wants to sleep with her. SLEEP SLEEP, zzzz sleep, because she thinks that’s … normal. This was weird enough in the first place. But then she asks him if he wants to take a bath with her. With clothes on. Because that’s a thing you can do platonically.

I understand Kate had been dreaming about doing a whole bunch of fun things with Arland for years. I understand that attempts were made to explain why she thinks this way, and that also this was supposed to be a love triangle with her warring over her feelings for her best friend or her literal dream guy. But after that point I just lost it. I was 50% of my way through the book.

The last 50%, though, were not that bad. Brad is utterly forgotten for a while and Kate and Arland focus on getting their thing on, while intermittently fighting the minions of Darkness and info-dumping about the world. I LIVED for those fight scenes. Let me say again: THEY WERE AWESOME. The ideas of the daemons and the gods; I was in love. But we’d always end up back with Kate and Arland and I’d be left headdesking. There were several other logical inconsistencies that didn’t make sense at the end, but I can’t give them away without giving away the ending so I’ll just say … headdesk.

This book had so much potential, but it just left me frustrated. I’m hard to please with teen romance of any kind these days, and this one just fell way on the wrong side of my feelings. I must say, however, that I am very curious to see how the next book in this series, titled Wilde’s Army by the looks of Krystal Wade’s blog. Now that all this romance-disaster is past, I’m hoping that we’ll be able to move onto the really interesting stuff Wade can write so well.