- Series: The Fantasyland Series
- Paperback: 604 pages
- Publisher: Kristen Ashley (April 6, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0692619364
- ISBN-13: 978-0692619360
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 294 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #946,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Broken Dove (The Fantasyland Series) (Volume 4) Paperback – April 6, 2016
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About the Author
Kristen Ashley is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She grew up in Indiana, but has lived in Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus she’s been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least), but loopy is good when you want to write. Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched). Needless to say, living in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up. And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better
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Apollo Ulfr is the master strategist for Queen Aurora and Lunwyn. As we saw at the end of Fantastical, Apollo gave a fortune in Sjofn Diamonds to Valentine in payment for her to bring the real-world twin of his deceased wife (Ilsa) to Fantasyland. Apollo's Ilsa passed away six or so years ago from a terminal illness. Having been deeply in love with Ilsa, Apollo has been grieving for her a very long time. He feels guilty that he couldn't save her, and guilty that he kept their son from seeing her in her wasted and weakened condition. But once he has the other Ilsa, he quickly sees that it may not be easy to handle getting what you wished for.
Ilsa of the real-world is a tortured heroine stemming from her marriage to the Apollo "Pol" Ulfr of her world. She has been on the run and in hiding from Pol for several years, as he is an extremely violent crime boss. To say that Ilsa is not quite comfortable winding up in Fantasyland with her husband's twin is an understatement... but it worked out that he kind of abandoned her once she is there. That's not to say that things do not continue to be somewhat weird for Ilsa - she is the spitting image of his dead wife after all. To distinguish herself, Ilsa becomes know as Maddie in Fantasyland and she decides to reinvent herself and make the most of her escape from Pol. I enjoyed seeing her personality come out free of the restrictive confines of being on the run.
The romance between Apollo and Maddie was somewhat slow to build, mainly because Apollo is a jerk in the beginning. But this gave us time to get to know Maddie and enjoy her introduction to Fantasyland. The real-world characters' introduction to Fantasyland is one of my favorite parts of this series. Once Apollo is able to see Maddie as her own person, things between them pick up speed and progress at a rapid clip. I liked that there was not much back and forth between them once this occurred as I like to see the relationship continue to build (rather than taking 2 steps forward and 1 step back). Things definitely got steamy between the pair, there was a lot of chemistry and Apollo was not afraid to get a little dirty or dominant with Maddie. There were a few moments when Apollo was a jerk or overly harsh, and I was so wrapped up in Maddie's character that I felt the hurt and conflict right along with her. However, it was a beautiful thing to see Maddie come out of her shell and stand up for herself when the time came.
The non-romance plot aspects of this installment were fabulous. Things come to a head with Baldur, Cora the Exquisite and Minerva - villains from the prior books of the series. I liked how the three baddies joined together in this scheme, with help from a couple of evil witches from Hawkvale. The joint effort multiplied the suspense and made for a more explosive culmination. I loved seeing all our prior heroes and heroines work together to defeat the combined foe... particularly because I can't quite get enough of Dax Lahn.
There were also some great new secondary characters in Broken Dove. Apollo's children, particularly his daughter, were fabulous. There is a cameo from real-world Noctorno "Noc" Hawthorne, who is our hero in the next book. Franka Drakkar continues to be a viper, but we start to see that she may have another side in this book. Maddie's guard, especially Derrick and Achilles, were charming and added a special something to the story. I would not mind at all seeing additional Fantasyland books with some of these characters... but I think I'm out of luck on that front.
Stay tuned for the next review of this series on Monday, August 15th! 4.5 stars / 4 flames. Full review posted at Bambi Unbridled.
Audio: 4 Stars
Although there is a 5th book in the Fantasyland series (Midnight Soul), this 4th book wraps up the battle against the enemies that were introduced in the first book of the series. At the same time, all books are stand-alones and conclude with their own HEA's.
I want to say that Broken Dove was my favorite of the series, but then I think back to previous books and have a hard time committing to that decision. I will say, the story was all things fun and compulsively readable - developed plot and characters, previous character cameos, detailed writing, and fun world-building. Of course, if you've read a number of KA stories, you also have the frustrating character traits that often cross-over from book-to-book. - Alpha males with similar idiosyncrasies; doe-eyed, quirky, acquiescent females (with a side of feisty); and KA catch-phrases. If you can look beyond the KA character formula, you will find that there is almost always an original plotline. Aside from the few times Apollo was a thoughtless jerk, I really enjoyed his and Maddie's love story. Having met Apollo in Wildest Dreams and knowing some of his back story, I was ready for him to get his second chance love story.
Audiobook review: I listened to the audio intermittently with the ebook and, for the most part, enjoyed the narration. My one frustration was the female narrator's voice for Apollo. I didn't like that he sounded like he was loudly whispering all the time like Christian Bale's Batman. It was kind of weird. Since Apollo had a number of chapters and sections in his POV, I wish they had opted for dual narration with a male narrator. It wasn't terrible, but it could have been much better.
For me the Hero can make or break a book. I just couldn't get on board with Apollo's treatment of Maddie. She was unjustly dumped on throughout the whole book and I just got angrier the more I read. Add in that the dead wife might as well have been living, she was referred to so much in this book that I don't even think a chapter went by with out her being brought up.
This just isn't how I want to see a heroine treated by the hero. She deserved better and I ended up hating Apollo by the end of the book.
***Narrator review: Tillie Hooper did an outstanding job and the only reason I could stand continuing the book to the end. I highly recommend the audio version.
Apollo came across as a bit gruff at first, but it doesn’t take long before he realizes just how amazing Maddy is. She’s not his deceased wife and after he spends time with Maddy, he’s able to clearly separate the two. He’s handsome, strong and fiercely protective of his children and those he loves.
Maddy has been on the run from her abusive husband Pol when Apollo and Valentine step in and save her. With the help of Apollo’s men, she quickly becomes accustomed to the new world and begins to start living. She and Apollo have a rocky start and I’ll admit, I thought he should have had to work a little harder to win Maddy. But he proves himself worthy and I found myself rooting for them to get their happy ending, and in the process help to heal the wounds they both carried.
Most recent customer reviews
My biggest problem with these books is you can NOT quit reading them once you start them. They draw you in immediately.Read more