White Stag (Permafrost #1) by Kara Barbieri
ARC received via Netgalley for a fair review.
Publish date: January 8, 2019
The death of the Goblin king has spurred The Hunt for the white stag and Janneke finds herself in the middle of it. After being a thrall for the goblins for 100 years now she seems to be losing more of her humanity and becoming more like the monsters they are. During this hunt, the goblin who controls her uses it as an opportunity to encourage her to accept what she has become.
White Stag is the dark story that follows Janneke as she struggles with humanity versus monstrosity. As a thrall she struggles with PTSD from the tortures she has suffered through, yet also struggles with survivors guilt as she is the sole survivor from her town. 100 years after she was captured, she realizes that she is becoming more like the creatures she deems to be monsters.
The story itself was really easy to read, however, you could tell this was a debut for Kara. While I loved the concept of the story and the pitch of the story, the flow of the writing seemed disjointed at times. I felt that a little more editing could have really gone a long way, and I am eager to see the growth that Kara achieves after this book as the series continues. While set in old timey/fairy tale world the book read much more modern in language. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked this book. In fact, it un-slumped me. I went from zero book completion to actually making it through a book, granted it took me a few weeks to do so.
Trigger warnings: assumed rape & torture, kidnapping, & violence
The World Building
This is where the book really stood out to me. Here we have goblins that fit well into the beautiful fae world that has been somewhat popular lately. There are these beautiful goblin like creatures that remind me of the goblin race you find in other books like Wintersong by S. Jae Jones or Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen. What I love about this goblin race is that it’s all sort of just a mirage, as the creatures become more violent or monstrous the more hideous and beast like they become. It is when they are acting somewhat civilized that they resemble the human race.
Again, Kara could have done a little more explaining or developing some details of this world, but there is definitely opportunity as the series progresses. I thoroughly enjoyed some of the additional creatures that were introduced in this book and the role they ultimately played.
I loved Janneke. I love how much she has endured and survived and still clung to the idea of humanity despite her need for retribution. Through her character and her relationship with Soren she shows that the title of monster is loosely applied. I love that she craved more power, yet understood the consequence of acquiring it, both physically and in the sense of the pain as well as what it was doing to her human body. She danced on this fine line of what she was willing to do to live and what she thought was right – yet she stuck with her morality through and through.
Sia – Alive