SPOILER REVIEW: DEAD OF WINTER BY KRESLEY COLE

Title: DEAD OF WINTER
Series: THE ARCANA CHRONICLES #3
Author: KRESLEY COLE
Publication Date: JANUARY 6, 2015
Rating: 4/5

SYNOPSIS

Can Evie convince her rival loves to work together?

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?

Battle of the arcana continues, and Evie had to make the hardest decision in her life in this one!

This book doesn’t pick up right where the second book left off, but there was a flashback part from Evie’s POV regarding what happened by the end of the second book. And it will be shocking for some readers, but won’t be for some.

This time around, the story still focusing on the game and the way to save Jack’s life after what happened to him in the previous book. But mainly, the story focus on the love triangle drama. I’m so sorry for the other arcana that had to live through it and witness the chaotic and the messy love life of Evie Greene aka The Empress, who is also the main protagonist of the story. Must’ve been exhausting for them, and as a reader, I’m so over it!

The game has become more deadly this time around, and the author introduced two more new major arcana in this book: Tess aka The World, and Circe aka The Priestess. It was nice to meet some new faces and learn a bit more about them. Also, their powers was quite impressive. I thought Circe was evil at first, but thankfully she wasn’t.

Tess was a nice person and a kind arcana, but sadly her character doesn’t make much appearance, and the fact that the author decided to offed her character permanently from the series while she was just being introduced was sickening. I really wanted to know more about her and having her around would’ve been great, but I understood why the author decided to go for the killing route. After all, this whole arcana game is dangerous, and there will be consequences for the characters’ actions.

I really liked seeing the major arcana—who aren’t part of Death (Aric) squad—worked together to save Jack’s life—a mortal’s life. It shows how much they respected Jack as their leader, even though he wasn’t a supernatural being like them. The arcana are still wary of each other and wasn’t even sure if they can trust one another, but they put that feelings aside in order to save a life of a mortal who inspired them to do more good than bad.

It really warms my heart seeing them put up a dangerous plan just to save Jack. They are willing to do anything to get him back, even though the chances of his survival was slim, they didn’t give up. This made Jack more special compared to the other two biggest characters in this whole series: Evie and Aric. Sorry not sorry, I’m Team Jack all the way.

This book shows a lot more of the bond between the arcana and a mortal, and how their friendship grow stronger day by day. They do need one another in this deadly game. And I loved how some of them are cracking up jokes to lighten the mood, especially Finn as the main jokester. Gabriel and Joules was also funny sometimes, especially whatever came out of Joules’ mouth. Selena as usual being a fierce warrior and is basically Jack’s assistant. When Jack wasn’t around, she was there to take his place, temporarily.

Matthew as normal as he can be, I still think he is hiding something. After all, he is The Fool, the one who knows everything about everyone and the game. The one who can see the future and has all the memories of the previous games. I still wasn’t sure whether to trust him or not. He has made a few cryptic comments regarding the fate of some characters and the game. No one understand the meaning behind his words, and it really hurts my head trying to understand what he meant at all. Although I suspect whatever he said was a warning. He really needs to talk more clearly. And I wonder what can he do aside from giving out cryptic messages and showing visions of the past, the present, and the future. KC needs to show Matthew’s abilities more.

Evie in this one has become more selfish and more irritating. How can one author managed to ruin the main protagonist of her series, I don’t know! I really disliked Evie in this one. Not only the decision she made was selfish, but it also cost the life of another. And she had the nerve to feel bad while she was the reason behind the death of a kind-hearted arcana who just started to see her as a friend? Evie was something else entirely. She rushed things and basically ruined the original plan to save Jack. If only she listen to what the others had to say and stick to their original plan, things will go just fine. She wasn’t even there to witness the horrors that the arcana had to face out in the ash. She was in Aric’s castle living in luxury and got all the nicest things she can while being held captive by Aric as his prisoner, and yet she was given a better treatment there, while the others had to fight for survival everyday.

Having to witness her recklessness and watching her made all the bad decisions that could’ve gotten the others and Jack killed made me want to scold her for haven’t learn her lesson. When will she realize she will only doomed the others when she take charge? When will she ever learn from the multiple mistakes she made? This is why she can’t be the leader of the arcana, she wasn’t even mature yet, and she can’t even make the right decision. She has zero leadership skills and she get distracted a lot by all the memories of her being intimate with Jack and Aric.

I’m honestly annoyed by her attitude, and her personality has worsen as the story goes on. It really made me think why KC chose Evie to be the main protagonist at all. To this day, I still don’t understand. At this point, I should’ve stop hoping for Evie’s character to have a good development that will eventually make her more likable, it seems like the author decided to make Evie the worst character in the series and it worked.

Jack was amazing as usual. This book shows more of his leadership and what he was doing while Evie was away at Aric’s castle. He really is an inspiration to many people, be it arcana or not. He is a great leader and even build an army to help rebuild the world. All the efforts he put to make it happen doesn’t go to waste. I’m glad to have a character like Jack and the other good characters that make this series bearable and worth the read. I loved how he stays strong and doesn’t give up hope even in this deadly world. His plan to rebuild the earth is enough to show that he is a perfect leader.

In this book, Jack had to go through a situation that can be life-threatening, but by now I shouldn’t be surprise that he will make it out alive. He truly is something special, but I feel like he wasn’t a normal mortal, and I doubt he is the inactivated card either. He could’ve been a minor or just a special superhuman like Odysseus. There is more to what he really is, but I think the author decided not to reveal that yet.

As for Aric, he can’t just left everyone alone and he seem the type of person to create more chaos. When will he ever stop making everyone’s life harder? Gladly, he doesn’t make much appearance, that was a relief for me. I can’t handle the level of drama he would bring if he were to make his stay longer in this book. I still hated his character for what he did to Evie at the end of book two. This book shows more detailed scenes when he was sexually coercing Evie. When a girl says “no,” she means NO! But he chose to ignore it and proceed to coerced her while also threatening her. I’m disgusted by his action and I feel bad for Evie that she had to go through that at the age of 16.

Aric is a manipulative person, and it was sickening how he used Evie’s grandmother just so Evie will be on his side. There are so many errors I can see in him, and he doesn’t showed much kindness in this book or in the first two, and I wasn’t even sure if a redemption arc is in for his character.

As I mentioned in my review of the second book, The Lovers was introduced in that book and said to be a threat. In this book, they really pose a greater threat that shaken everyone up, except for Aric—of course. The Lovers is a set of twins and there was a twist regarding the truth about The Lovers. I didn’t see the twist coming at all and was shocked when it was revealed. That was a clever thing the author did. As for the new villain in the next book, I think this time around the villain will be far threatening than the villain from the previous two books and this one. Who is this Emperor guy? And what is his deal? I’m looking forward to see more of him and learn more about him.

The book ended with a cliffhanger, it seems like a pattern for this series. I noticed all the books in this series so far ended with a huge cliffhanger. And there are so many questions I had after the ending. What happened to Jack and Selena? I was about to say that no one can survived The Emperor’s attack at the end there, but I don’t want to lose hope yet.

As for the romance, it gets more unbearable since it is a love triangle and the drama that comes with it has become more and more irritating. When Evie started to develop feelings for Aric, it makes me think of Stockholm syndrome. How she has feelings for her captor while also still have feelings for her first lover Jack, I don’t know. Seeing these two guys fight one another over a girl was laughable. Each of them wanted to have Evie for their own, but she decided to screw both of them and keep on playing this game of back and forth with both of them. If I were to choose, I would pick Jack. He’s a better fit for Evie than Aric. Aric and Evie shared a very toxic and unhealthy dynamic than Jack and Evie.

Jack and Evie’s love is real and honest, but Aric and Evie’s love will never reach that level. It was hard for her to choose which one she want the most. She wanted them both, and when she finally made her decision, Aric decided to use her grandmother just so she can go with him. Evie is definitely living the worst life, and the ending was truly heartbreaking for her. When she was talking with Jack using a walkie-talkie and said she chose him, I cried but The Emperor chose that moment to make his presence known. And I never wanted to throw a book as harshly as I did after finishing this one. My patience nearly ran out.

So many questions left unanswered, and the next book will be so depressing. I can already imagined the state Evie will be in. I wouldn’t want to live her life even if someone pay me millions to do so. The trauma she had to go through at the age of 16 definitely going to make her worsen her mental state. I fear for how she will cope with everything that happened to her in this book and the previous books. Most importantly, how will the other arcana under Jack’s care will feel after that ending. Reading this series basically means I’m torturing myself. As much as I’m still frustrated by the love triangle drama, I’m still going to keep reading just for the sake of the concept and some great and well-written characters, and also for Jack.

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