So, apparently, “Rhapsodic” is a fan fiction based on “A Court of Thorns and Roses” but, admittedly, I haven’t read that yet so I can’t speak to anything around the similarities of these two books, other than based on what I know of Sarah J. Maas’ series, I can see it. “Rhapsodic” is about a young siren named Callypso (Callie) who first makes a deal with The Bargainer (also the King of the Night in the fae realm) to help her out of a tragic event when she is fifteen, just shy of her sixteenth birthday. The Bargainer agrees to help, but Callie keeps calling him back, making deal after deal because she wants a friend. But the Bargainer is hot. And dangerous. And he “saved” her so of course she has a crush on this much older man (I’m not sure how much older, fae ages are odd, but needless to say, he is a MAN and nowhere near being a teen). Most of the book is about their evolving relationship, but the synopsis wants you to believe it’s also a mystery over who is terrorizing the Bargainer’s people, returning his female warriors in catatonic states with prophetic children clutched in their arms. But this is 80% a romance with some plot sprinkled in. And honestly? The thing that most people seem to like about this book, I could not stand.
I am finding that I am just not a fan of these ancient beings having relationships with little teenage girls. These girls do not even know who they are as people before these dangerous, powerful men show up and start this intense relationship with these girls. Callie is 15 when she first meets the Bargainer, and while the author may constantly remind the reader that 16 is an “adult” in the supernatural community… It is really not. Even the Bargainer at one point admits that Callie was just “so young” when they first met, and because each chapter starts with a flashback to little Callie, you can never forget that this relationship started when she was still in high school and the Bargainer was already a king. Plus, for a rape survivor, it gets a little uncomfortable how often the love interest implies that he can kind of make Callie give him sexual favors as a way to pay off her debt… This book is more about the mystery between what happened between Callie and the Bargainer when she was sixteen, to when he shows back up in her life seven years later. And while Callie is a powerful siren, we don’t get to see much of her siren powers, which is too bad because that was an interesting aspect to her that I’d have liked to be further explored.
You don’t really even get hints about who is responsible for the trouble in the Otherworld until roughly 50% through, but nothing is really done about it, meaning that the plot teased in the synopsis isn’t really touched, until the last 15% of the book where things escalate really quickly. So if you come into this story looking for a supernatural mystery with a subplot of romance, this isn’t that. No, this is mainly about Callie and the Bargainer reconciling, having their romance rekindled, and a few chapters of some graphic, steamy sex. I won’t discuss if the erotic aspects were titillating or not, that’s really your personal preference, but in terms of erotic novels, this was too little sex for it to truly classify as pure erotica, but too much to have this book be suitable for anything under the New Adult category. Also, while we’re talking about mature content, be warned that there is lots of discussions around rape (of children and adults) and sexual assault. So just know that ahead of time if those are sensitive topics for you.
The book was easy to read, and there were sections I was flipping through very fast to find out what happened next. But this trope of fated love between children and adults is just… Not going to be one that I like it seems. Did I enjoy this book? Eh, I don’t know. It’s hard to say because I am just so annoyed by that trope and how the meat of the plot all happens in the last 15% of the book. So I’m giving this 2.5 stars, which I know makes this an unpopular opinion, which is fine! I am clearly in the minority so I won’t tell anyone not to read it… I have the other 2 books in this trilogy too, so yes, I am continuing on just to see if, now that we don’t have to be constantly reminded that the Bargainer was grooming Callie at 16, if I’ll enjoy the series more. We shall see…
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