February 17, 2015

Review: Dead of Winter

Dead of Winter (The Arcana Chronicles, book 2) by Kresley Cole


Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Edition Reviewed: eBook
Amazon: Hardcover | Kindle
Goodreads: Dead of Winter

Can Evie convince her rival loves to work together? Their survival depends on it in this third book of #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole’s Arcana Chronicles, a nonstop action tale of rescue, redemption, and a revenge most wicked.

Heartbreaking decisions
Evie was almost seduced by the life of comfort that Death offered her—until Jack was threatened by two of the most horrific Arcana, the Lovers. She will do anything to save him, even escape Death’s uncanny prison, full of beautiful objects, material comforts…and stolen glances from a former love.

Uncertain victory
Despite leaving a part of her heart behind with Death, Evie sets out into a perilous post-apocalyptic wasteland to meet up with her allies and launch an attack on the Lovers. Such formidable enemies require a battle plan, and the only way to kill them may mean Evie, Jack, and Death allying. Evie doesn’t know what will prove more impossible: surviving slavers, plague, Bagmen and other Arcana—or convincing Jack and Death to work together.

Two heroes returned
There’s a thin line between love and hate, and Evie just doesn’t know where she stands with either Jack or Death. Will this unlikely trio be able to defeat The Lovers without killing one another first...?


Dead of Winter is probably The Arcana Chronicles' strongest and weakest book yet. In my review of Endless Knight I confessed that, “Part of me always new that if there was an author who could make a freaking EPIC love triangle it would be Cole.” Oh, and that still holds true with Dead of Winter! Oh, the tension! All that love triangle tension piled on top of the scheming viciousness of the Arcana games was intense. What could have been creepier than Evie facing The Hierophant a monster who can brainwash anyone into doing his evil cannibalistic cult ways? That's The Lovers. AKA Duke and Duchess Most Perverse.

The Lovers are creepy as hell, and a bit more proof of how evil Evie was as The Empress in past lives. Bringing questions to light of whether the Cards are really evil at heart, but simply influenced and shaped by the chroniclers/family members who raise them for the games. It's an interesting dynamic and I like that Cole went there. It bothers me that Evie still feels like she needs to atone for those sins, even after she says she's done doing so. However, that's part of what makes Evie a great character. Which makes the conflict she has trying to do the right with accepting her powers and knowing when viscous, or cruel actions, are needed.

This book is dark and deals with horrific torture. This series may be Young Adult, but as I've stated before it's only YA in the name of the characters' ages. It's all dark and gruesome fantasy. It always over the top gruesome à la Cole Immortals After Dark style. If you've been reading the series up to this point it's no shocker, but be warned things have definitely taken a step up from the last book. The Twins are sick, and horrible things happen to beloved characters . . .

The overall strategy of Evie and company dealing with The Twins and her ever growing need to end the game is excellent. Talk about high stakes. At this point Cole has made me love the vast cast and I am on the edge of my seat with fear of who might get killed off. There's no word on having couple books or switch offs, so even if some couples get HAE they could still die. Which only adds to the suspense.

Strangely enough what took away some of the suspense was the love triangle suspense. Don't get me wrong I was breathing heavy, fanning myself, and totally freaking out. However, something happened. Cole failed to redeem Aric (AKA Death) and Jack. Aric and Jack have betrayed her in different ways, and they keep betraying her. Aric may have been somewhat justified in his poor treatment of Evie (*snorts* you know how I really feel about that), but then when they're both in love he tries to force her to have sex. Boom! Jack lied to Evie. Lied about his part in her mothers death, which is quickly swept under the rug and solved. Yet to me the biggest betrayal was that Jack targeted Evie because she was a certain someone's' girlfriend. Decided he wanted her from there, and maybe it turned to love. But he kept, and has, so many secrets from her. But he's stolen and weaseled every secret Evie has out of her.

Both boys keep doing things. Aric has all these plans and schemes. Making plans and trying to get things to happen so that Evie's future goes his way. Jack still lies and doesn't include her in on things. And . . . it goes on and on my friends. Sure there are some sweet moments and some redeeming actions happen. However, this is one of those times where Cole has created hot asshole male leads, but hasn't successfully redeemed them yet. Earlier IAD it seemed like she never failed, lately not so much. There's more books to grow this “redemption”. Evie finally told both boys that she didn't have to chose them, she had other options. Which prompted the boys to both have their own version of laughing at her. While I'm glad that Evie said this, and I think she should maybe go with that option. Something snapped when I felt more offended that both Evie and I knew it was a joke.

Yes, I know I'm crazy. But I'm no longer immune to Cole's asshole men, they can't just treat woman like shit and not suffer. Yeah, that's what is missing. The men need to suffer and fear for their HEA. Suffer! Heck I miss the women in Cole’s book bringing that suffering so things are “even”. Evie may no longer feel like she owes Aric to be his wife, and that it might not be Stockholm Syndrome. My big issue is that I like Evie, she's kind and can be mean and kickass when needed. However, I feel she’s confusing being nice with actually being a doormat. Maybe dying at any moment is a good reason to let things go, but it's not a good reason to be a said doormat.

That said a lot goes down in this book. The Arcana game is going to be EPIC! Heck it's already brilliant. With that ending and the setup for The Emperor pure perfection. All of the hints dropped in DoW and then that cliffhanger! Oh, that cliffhanger. Part of my mind is still shocked. It's true nothing is clear about Arcana cliffhanger's until about 50 (or more) pages into the next book. So my mind is stuck between frantic panic attack and sadness, and staying calm until next year! Oh, the torture. Fans get more answers and I truly love how the mythology is building up this world. Despite my romance frustrations I will never stop. It’s part of the fun. When reading these books make sure you have the time or else the pressure will drive you crazy!

Sexual Content: No full on sex scenes, but I firmly can state this is adult content. Oh, and twincest.

4/5- Great! Really enjoyed it.

Previous book(s) in series:
Reviewed on BW: Amazon: Goodreads:
Poison Princess (1)
Endless Knight (2)
Dead of Winter (3)
Poison Princess (1)
Endless Knight (2)
Dead of Winter (3)
Poison Princess (1)
Endless Knight (2)
Dead of Winter (3)

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