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White Stag by Kara Barbieri

The Book ✯✯✯✯

Silver threads of Labyrinth and the sharp iron of Norse mythology combine with a story all Barbieri's making for a gorgeously deadly tale. 

Janneke is nothing short of BA when it comes to lead female characters. She bows to no one. She can hold her own in a fight. And she is seen as an equal by Soren in both wit and physical prowess. She isn't unscarred and this is the perfect place to note that there is a content warning. Self-harm and rape are both discussed in this novel. 

Soren is supposed to be a monstrous goblin, and in the beginning, Janneke keeps telling us he is and somethings he has done but you never truly get that feel off of him. He's a swoon-worthy man with a past. It's bloody brilliant.

Honestly, this would have been a five star read for me if it hadn't felt like the first boss-level fight in a video game. The world is well-built. The characters are rounded and likable. The myth is followed and unique at the same time. But Lydian just seems like the tip of the iceberg and compared to the other things they killed before their fight with him, it just seemed...odd that he was the big baddie. Even though he was the one with a plan to destroy the world. 

All in all, it was a fun YA read now that the school year has started again and any high school librarian would be proud to add it to their fantasy section. 

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press, and Kara Barbieri for this free ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed herein are my own.




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