TRIGGER WARNING (HIGHLIGHT WORDS BELOW):
Series: The Bargainer #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Lavabrook Publishing Group
Release date: November 15th 2016
Callypso Lillis is a siren with a very big problem, one that stretches up her arm and far into her past. For the last seven years she’s been collecting a bracelet of black beads up her wrist, magical IOUs for favors she’s received. Only death or repayment will fulfill the obligations. Only then will the beads disappear.
Everyone knows that if you need a favor, you go to the Bargainer to make it happen. He’s a man who can get you anything you want… at a price. And everyone knows that sooner or later he always collects.
But for one of his clients, he’s never asked for repayment. Not until now. When Callie finds the fae king of the night in her room, a grin on his lips and a twinkle in his eye, she knows things are about to change. At first it’s just a chaste kiss—a single bead’s worth—and a promise for more.
For the Bargainer, it’s more than just a matter of rekindling an old romance. Something is happening in the Otherworld. Fae warriors are going missing one by one. Only the women are returned, each in a glass casket, a child clutched to their breast. And then there are the whispers among the slaves, whispers of an evil that’s been awoken.
If the Bargainer has any hope to save his people, he’ll need the help of the siren he spurned long ago. Only, his foe has a taste for exotic creatures, and Callie just happens to be one.
“Only this is real.”
Rhapsodic is a dark, fun, unique, and incredibly well-written Paranormal Romance novel. Laura Thalassa creates a world that is all kinds of twisted, as well as bases herself on existent mythology, and uses her world-building to lay the groundwork to an entertaining and amazing story.
I think the best word to describe this book is: gripping. It has a prologue that will both shock you and immediately hook you in, the pace and shift in POVs from Past/Present is done very well, and the world-building and the way this world works is absolutely fascinating. The one issue with it, as you can tell from the summary, is that it is kind of wrapped in consent issues.
The main premise of Rhapsodic is that Callie, a siren and our main character, has been collecting a bracelet of black beads from The Bargainer, a fae named Des, and each bead corresponds to a magical IOU. When Des comes to collect one of his favors, he stars by demanding a kiss from Callie in exchange for one of the beads disappearing.
I’m pretty sure you can see where this goes.
The consent issues are evident in these kind of exchanges between them, but also in the way their relationship starts and as Callie’s siren powers manifest, since she is able to glamour people. This made things a little uncomfortable for me at times, which knocked down a star, but it is something that is presented right from the beginning of the story and the Thalassa builds up the plot and develops it, so it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book.
One of the most positive aspects of Rhapsodic are the characters. Callie is a survivor and a fighter, and she shows how badass she is throughout the book. She is a siren who learns to accept and embrace her dark side, and I love her for it. Des is also one of the most interesting and complex characters I’ve read about in a while. The entire Bargainer concept is amazing and very well-executed, and as we learn more about Des’s past and who he truly is, he only gets better. Aside from his thing with secrets, which can be infuriating when he’s keeping important information to himself that he should be sharing with Callie since it affects her life.
The main mystery plot is also super creepy. It does kind of fall aside in favor of Callie and Des’s romance and the rehash of their past, but it still manages to be eerie and engaging all the same. It is also very much a loose ends that will to the next installment, so I’m really curious to see how things will develop.
Rhapsodic is a great and enchanting read, with all the elements that make for a good Paranormal book. I definitely recommend it to all PNR fans, as well as people who are looking for a good take on sirens and their unique mythology.