[Reading] ➾ Wildalone (Wildalone Sagas, #1) By Krassi Zourkova – Cheapnikeshoes.co

Library Journal starred review Zourkova, Krassi Wildalone Morrow Jan 2015 384p ISBN 9780062328021 25.99 ebk ISBN 9780062328045 FZourkova infuses her first novel with atmosphere, lyrical language, Greek mythology, Bulgarian folklore, and the sharp stab of first love Thea is a piano prodigy from Bulgaria beginning her freshman year at Princeton University After a public concert performance, she draws the attention of several men on campus, A first person point of view and a sense of the surreal places the reader firmly in Thea s head as she tries to navigate an unfamiliar culture steeped in tradition from dressing the part of a Princeton coed to the school s exclusive eating clubs She is also thrown by the unexpected intricacies and intimacies of American relationships her feelings for two mysterious men are complicated by family secrets on all sides Fantastical creatures, forest witches known as Samodivi, or Wildalones, weave a thread through the entire novel, leading Thea to a decision that has consequences far beyond anything she could have imagined VERDICT Zourkova pulls off a balancing act that few debut authors manage a clever, dark romance steeped in mystery, with a bittersweet thread of melancholy and keen sense of place Fantasy and romance lovers, as well as those who liked Donna Tartt s The Secret History or Pamela Dean s Tam Lin should enjoy this See Prepub Alert, 3 3 14 Charli Osborne, Oxford P.L., MI This book is amazing guys, it really is When I first read the tittle I was confused, because I didn t know what it meant but as I read I understood This book has a lot of Greek mythology and I just couldn t stop reading If you love Greek mythology, read this book If you don t like Greek mythology still, read it You ll like it anway Zourkova describes everything perfectly Her way of writing is so rich, so pure and so open, I fell in love with it instantly Zourkova has a wonderful story in her hands and she knows it She made magic with it and she lures you right into it The author creates a perfect balance with this book it has just the right amount of everything, nothingand nothing less Sure it has a love triangle but it s not a soppy one Jake and Rhys complement one another I m sure you ll love them as much as I do You ll love one brotherthan the other trust me, I do but you will still need them both Thea is wise beyond her age, she doesn t let anyone stop her and even though she isn t American, she fits right in And this 3 make a perfect team Even though it seems disturbing this love triangle has its own way of working Not many authors know how to work a love triangle, but Zourkova surely did. In This Darkly Imaginative Debut Novel Full Of Myth, Magic, Romance, And Mystery, A Princeton Freshman Is Drawn Into A Love Triangle With Two Enigmatic Brothers, And Discovers Terrifying Secrets About Her Family And Herself A Bewitching Blend Of Twilight, The Secret History, Jane Eyre, And A Discovery Of WitchesArriving At Princeton For Her Freshman Year, Thea Slavin Finds Herself Alone, A Stranger In A Strange Land Away From Her Family And Her Eastern European Homeland For The First Time, She Struggles To Adapt To Unfamiliar American Ways And The Challenges Of College Life Including An Enigmatic Young Man Whose Brooding Good Looks And Murky Past Intrigue Her Drawn To The Elusive Rhys And His Equally Handsome And Mysterious Brother, Jake, She Ventures Into A Sensual Mythic Underworld As Irresistible As It Is DangerousIn This Shadow World That Seems To Mimic Greek Mythology And The Bulgarian Legends Of The Samodivi Or Wildalones Forest Witches Who Beguile And Entrap Men Thea Will Discover A Family Secret Bound To Transform Her Forever If She Can Accept That Dead Doesn T Always Mean Gone, And Love Doesn T Always Distinguish Between The Two , , , , , ,, 2 , ,, . I actually don t know what to think about this book I feel like I really shouldn t have liked it, because there were so many things wrong with it which I will expand upon below but for some reason, I still did kind of like it So, it gets the somewhat meaningless, stuck in limbo rating of 3 stars.I m saying this to myself for the thousandth time I NEED TO STOP LISTENING TO COMPARISONS BOOKS MAKE TO OTHER BOOKS IN THEIR BLURBS This particular one made the bold claim of a bewitching blend of Twilight, The Secret History, Jane Eyre, and A Discovery of Witches Now, I haven t read Jane Eyre but have heard it s one of the most readable classics, and I love love loved The Secret History, and found both Twilight and A Discovery of Witches to be enjoyable but ultimately silly But the combination of all of these sounded intriguing, and who doesn t want something silly and mind numbing every once in a while However, to even mention this as being in a similar league to Donna Tartt is a great injustice to her Wildalone is 100% on the Twilight end of the scale, with supernatural creatures and angsty love triangles to boot.Let s back up and do a brief summary Thea Slavin is a Bulgarian native who comes to America to attend Princeton I ve since read that the author actually travelled this exact same path herself, which explains why the lovely descriptions of the Princeton campus are so compelling and atmospheric She s stunning as well as a piano prodigy so much so that she gets invited to play at Carnegie Hall , and so naturally soon attracts the attention of the two most attractive and mysterious males within range of campus Rhys and Jake , who also happen to be brothers Thea has lived most of her life without knowing about her deceased sister, Elza, whom her grief stricken parents kept a secret due to the circumstances of her passing, and when she discovers her sister s identity and the fact that she also attended Princeton, she is drawn to the campus while also hoping to solve the mystery of Elza s life there There s also a whole lot of Greek and Bulgarian mythology thrown in there, with many parallels to Thea s own life, which I m not going to go into detail on both because the myths are fairly intricate, and because it would get a little spoilery.The good stuff includes the writing, which is very pretty, particularly when Thea is contemplating her music or listening to one of the boys play oh yes, they re also both basically piano prodigies , and the setting, which as I already mentioned is well drawn The exception to this would be the dialogue, which felt somewhat formal and unrealistic, but maybe that s to be expected for Thea, who doesn t have a full grasp of English yet The whole novel is also just somehow addictive fast moving, with a good mix of romance and plot, a few twists thrown in even as I was frustrated or rolling my eyes, I kept turning the pages and needing to know how it all turned out.But the biggest problem is with the romance itself the dreaded love triangle The even MORE dreaded girl in love with two brothers love triangle Rhys, theaggressive older brother, is just an awful, awful character he s possessive and borderline abusive, including such typical alpha male traits as refusing to allow Thea to spend any time with platonic male friends, pushing her to go farther physically than she s ready for, and forcing her to skip school, piano practice, and whatever else she has planned in order to hang out with him with no advance warning but his money and charm and sex appeal are just supposed to make up for this Jake is a little better, but is still far from perfect And Thea makes all of this so much worse She swings back and forth between the two of them whenever she feels like it, which is just unfair to both of them she s cheating on one and leading on the other for pretty much the entire book no matter how unpleasant I found them She lets Rhys force her to abandon everything she previously found importantI mean, she s supposed to be playing at Carnegie Hall, for Pete s sake Honestly, I could on and on, but I m not usually too much of a ranter and I think it s time to stop And my ranting comes with a little caveat I m not saying I didn t find some of the love scenes sexy, because I ll admit that I did shame, shame.The long and short of it is that you may enjoy this book if you re a fan of mythology with large helpings of romance, or if you especially enjoy a very prominent love triangle, or if you like stories set on moody college campuses I m two for three here I m pretty sure this is going to be a series, and I will probably read the next book, and I will probably still hate love it Ah, well. I was gifted a copy of this title by the author in exchange for an honest review Thank you Wow, this book was extremely complicated and complex No jokeWildalone mixes an innovative yet uncanny mixture of Greek and Bulgarian mythology while implementing a modern day twist to it.It follows Thea Slavin a piano prodigy, who travels from her home country of Bulgaria to study in America at Princetown University.From there, she experiences a chain of events tinged in heavy secrets, unforeseen twists, turns and revelations the fate of three or four if you consider that selfish, heartless creature named Elza hearts on her hands As well, an alternate reality of what s real versus myth the delicate balance of life and deathlove and sacrifice And ultimately taking control of your own destiny.Author Krassi Zourkova is honestly one of those authors I actually would say to be on the lookout for Her writing is crafty, deep, and weaves outside of the borders or norm that people would find acceptable or try to mold themselves into.As one of those readers who are fascinated with the supernatural and ancient mythology and folklore, I think many of you who fall into this category will be entranced and bewildered with how everything plays out It is slowly, but intricately unfolded, with nothing rushed and no sort of annoying ploys or characters that will irk and get on your nerves Krassi does a fantastic job in teaching readers like me about Bulgarian tales of the samodivi while also interweaving it with infamous well known Greek figures such as the god Dionysys, his female followers the maenad, the daemon, the Satyr, and even the tragic fate of the legendary musician, Orpheus.It was like a rush of old and new for me as I wasfamiliar with Greek mythology but not Bulgarian whatsoever It was definitely a learning process of googling Bulgarian myths and looking up what a samodivi was and what they could do Haha Literally had me pausing and double reading a lot of the story content and researching them on the net LolI genuinely ate this novel up as it puzzled me, riddled me, and kept me thinking and guessing Normally, I hate anything to do with love triangles but this one just aroused me and kept me on my toes.I mean, what is Thea going to do Who is she going to choose, if she does How is she possibly going to win back Rhys heart and favor after that betrayal And if there is any them left to salvage WahI m really busting at the seams on this one, as Rhys has literally hit his point of no return and no longer trusts anyone nor holds onto any fathoms of hope in regards to his set future I wonder the what cards will hold for him in the end And if he can be saved from his dreadful doom Gosh, Krassi I need bk 2 like now Omigah TEAM RHYS4theWin SorryNOTSORRYJake you coward It s been a long time since I ve read a modern Gothic in a contemporary setting as enthralling as Wildalone Reminiscent of novels such as The Secret History and Lake of Dead Languages, Wildalone is a flawless blend of myth, fated love, and Gothic suspense Among the many things that I loved about this novel was the way in which Zourkova interweaves Greek and Bulgarian myth, finding the commonalities between the two and creating her own, unique brand of myth It was wild and harsh and carried the story through its entirety One of my favorite chapters in the book involved Thea s memory of visiting her estranged family in far away town in Bulgaria it had beautiful, subtle elements of suspense I also loved the way in which the mysterious, vanished sister ultimately factors into the conflict Elsa s story is relayed to the reader in a gentle unfolding that leaves you just enough time to wish that it weren t so, but to be horrifically fascinated when you realize that it is I m being vague here as to avoid too many spoilers The other truly defining element of this story for me was Rhys He is a resplendent, emotional roller coaster of a character Part Alpha Male , part tortured soul his story like Elsa s was executed brilliantly, showing just enough of what we needed to know at just the right moments I loved the fact that I was enraged with him one moment and saying .Ooooh the next I also enjoyed the exploration into the triangular relationship between Rhys, Jake, and Thea Upon reading the book s blurb, I falsely assumed that it would be a consensual relationship and was surprised when it wasn t I struggled with the validity of Thea s feelings towards Jake in fact, I could make a really good argument for why Thea s feelings for Jake are ri donk ulous However, I enjoyed being so caught up in my feelings over a character, or group of characters And the side lining conflict of Rhys Thea and insert spoiler here aching, devastating, and so well rendered.If there was anything dissatisfying about Wildalone, it was my desire forwhen it ended I appreciated the ambiguity of the end, though I would L O V E a sequel or even a prequel I think a prequel which focused on ahem other characters would be super Regardless, this was a spectacular first effort by Zourkova and I impatiently await her next novel. I have some good news and bad news for readers of Wildalone by Krassi Zourkova The good news is that I cannot tell you clearly enough how unique and refreshing this book is The bad news is that I am not sure how many reasons to give you without spoiling the plot As an author and avid reader myself I wasn t expecting the contents of this story What truly blows me away is that this is Zourkova s debut novel It s beautifully written and the plot is well executed She is a written illustrator of unparalleled talent Seriously You don t just see red poppies You smell them You can feel the warmth of the petals between your fingers after you pluck one from the sunny fields It s incredible On to the plot How many times have you read a book with the tired dynamic of girl loves one boy and his brother too I can think of five titles with that general plot without trying However, throw in the mystical Bulgarian folklore waifs called samodivi and the dynamic changes Just like that Add in a god from Greek mythology and the dynamic turns again For good measure, lets throw in an older sister of our main character who died on an elite college campus fifteen years prior but was never talked about Interested yet You should be In a tragic tale of death disappearance, carnal longing for one brother you cannot have, and a sense of obligation to the brother who reached you first You cannot tell which direction Thea, our Bulgarian piano prodigy, will choose to lean until the very last page Knowing her older sister, Elza, was found dead on campus, Thea already feels that there are facts she must know Thrown headfirst into a professional concert atmosphere she sees a shadow drop a rose and nothingA short time later she gets her first assignment and meets the mystery shadow in another dark corner No name Not even a good look at him He promises to find her Instead his equally attractive brother Rhys finds in a morning fog By the time she realizes her mistake it s too late to change it Now Thea is torn between tragic Rhys and his self sacrificing younger brother, Jake Both men have good qualities but she feels pulled toward both and cannot decide Then, the shoe drops To go intodetail would be to spoil your reading pleasure so I ll stop there Suffice it to say that have never read a book with this story line Zourkova gives fabulous descriptions of her native Bulgaria without spending long periods of time there She introduces and explains her countries folklore and the stunning differences to our own She then seamlessly weaves them into a tale in America in a way that makes the reader why they hadn t looked at these things before It s truly engrossing This is an absolute five star read and I highly recommend it to readers of all genres There is something in here for everyone I won this book through a Goodreads Giveaway. I m walking away from this one I m not rating it either Why First the good The writing in this book is really good There is a blend with Greek mythology and Bulgarian folklore involving the samodivi or wildalone that were some of the best I ve read Fascinating I actually hate that I m not going to stick around to see where that part plays out In the legends of my country, no creature isbeautiful orcruel than the samodiva the young witch of the forest who dances under a full moon, lures men with promises of love, then takes their lives Folk superstitions claim the samodiva powers run in certain families, but I never believed this Or at least tried not to Now the bad The main character to me is reminiscent of Bella Swann I didn t worry that he would keep stalking me I worried he wouldn t No, you don t We weren t here yesterday and you still acted this way Why Becauseyou don t even know me I don t need to know you His stunning eyes were ruthless I need to have you You need a restraining order against his ass is what he needs.As my RCA, she loved worrying about me Still, there were worse things than being stalked or claimed by a guy like Rhys And what was the American obsession with stalking anyway We had no such word in Bulgarian people expressed their emotions in all kinds of ways, and to pursue a woman was expected of men it didn t automatically mean crossing criminal lines.I don t know if this is true I m skeered.There was something intoxicating in his jealousy, even in his rage It left him vulnerable and gave me a strange sense of power Rhys, you are crushing me I can t even breathe. He pulled back just enough to let me catch my breath, but his grip around my wrists tightened I said that I m not going to share you Which part didn t you understand I thought we agreed on the sharing when you told me you were not a one woman guy The love triangle in this book is also between brothers I just can t I m stepping away so that I don t completely hate the book for these reasons I will read something else by this author though, because the good parts were good. The premise of this book sounded SO good and totally in my wheelhouse, but ultimately there was nothing I enjoyed about it whatsoever In fact, I resented the time I spent reading it, as I found nothing to redeem it The writing was awkward and made it clear that Zourkova is not a native English speaker, the main heroine is spineless and a drip, and the two romantic interests are not compelling or alluring and mostly boss Thea around The central mystery regarding her family s past is largely a snore, and the big reveals are so unsurprising and obvious Given the strong, feminist legend the novel revolves around, it was so disappointing to have most of the tension of the novel revolve around which of two overbearing alpha male brothers Thea would fuck I can only assume Zourkova is a fan of the Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey nonsense, and if you re a fan of those books too, then I guess you will like this My feelings about all of this, however, can pretty much be summarized by the following BtVS exchange Cordelia I d say we ve hit bottom Xander I have a plan Cordelia Oh, no, here s a lower place On behalf of Jane Eyre, which egregiously gets name dropped in the blurb about this book, I am offended Best of all by which I mean worst Wildalone can t even contain its terribleness to a single volume Like its ignoble predecessors, it too is the beginning of a series, the rest of which I most certainly won t be reading.