I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Raene and the Three Bears by R.S. McCoy
Series: The Alder Tales #2
Also in this series: Blossom and the Beast
on November 29th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Source: ARC from publisher
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*A paranormal romance retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears*
A golden-haired beauty with a tiger totem, Raene Randal is powerless to stop the dissolution of her life. Her uncle and best friend, Kaide, is sending her away for good. While Raene knows his actions are fueled by the sudden and unexplained loss of his bride, Blossom, that doesn’t change the fact that her future is certain. As the niece of a Pyro politician, it’s Raene’s duty to cross the realm and fulfill her marriage arrangements with an Alderwood Bear Clan.
The rest of her life is mapped out, but Raene has one choice left: to choose a husband from the sons of the Bear Clan’s leader—too bad she’s not interested in any of them. She knows her duty, but so far from her home and everyone she knows, Raene finds keeping her promises harder than she ever thought.
On the far side of the realm, Blossom knows nothing of Kaide’s implosion or Raene’s departure. She’s trapped in the Aero city at the whim of Syndicate Mercer. As much as she tries to adapt to her aerial totem and her new role within the Aero branch, Blossom knows it’s only a matter of time before she sees Kaide again, but this time, she’ll be his enemy.
This book was INTENSE. It was unexpectedly difficult to put down. I gave up sleep and food for this book.
There’s a lot to like, and some to dislike. I guess the main issues are the heartbreaking ending, and some of the character’s actions. I mean, Blossom goes missing, and despite the fact that she was about to be happily married, everyone thinks she ran away of her own free will? No one suspects foul play? Kaide said himself that they might try to change her totem, which they did, and he doesn’t even consider that that’s what actually happened? Talk about frustrating! And when he finally sees her, oh yeah definitely be angry at her because she totally betrayed you to become an Aero. Hell, she probably even told them to change her totem. That makes a whole lot of sense. No one seems to be thinking straight. And no one properly communicates about the issue. Raene gets to the clan and the first thing Tasia tells her is that if anything happened to Blossom, don’t tell anyone. Obviously Tasia does not care about Blossom. She only doesn’t want to see a few bears throw a fit. Never mind the fact that they might actually be able to help. But—oh that’s right, there would be nothing to help with because Blossom ran away of her own free will. It wouldn’t be much use to…I don’t know, actually try to figure out what happened to her, whether of her own free will or not. No one seems to want to find her and get a proper explanation, but they are all torn up about her leaving. It just seems pretty selfish on everyone’s part. And even when one of Blossom’s brothers actually finds out that she’s missing, it’s not even about Blossom at all, despite the fact that they all idolize her. Everything is always about Raene. And while I can understand that in the context of the conversation, they don’t ever revisit the Blossom issue. Oh, my sister’s missing? Cool, now that we’ve ruled out these possibilities it must be something else that I can’t help, so better just give up. Oh I can be mad about it, but won’t actually do anything. Won’t try to figure out what that something else is. And then I shall promptly forget about the issue for the entire rest of the book.
And then the ending—truly the perfect ending for a book that has a sequel. I.e. frustrating and inconclusive. One good thing happens—despite the fact that it makes absolutely no logical sense, but is clearly the best option—and then two more awful things happen. Oh, and that good thing has one benefit but many other drawbacks. Suffice it to say that I will be eager for the next book so we can finally get these issues squared away once and for all.
I spent most of the book eagerly devouring Raene’s story, but once that came to a sort of climax I realized that Blossom wasn’t getting the attention she deserved, even though her story wasn’t as fun to read about. It was mostly pretty depressing and not much big happened. But I would have liked it to move along a little faster, maybe. Maybe the problem was that she was away from Kaide for most of the book. Which was the point, I know, but in an entire book maybe it could have gone a little faster—maybe they’d see each other again by halfway, and then some time could be spent trying to communicate properly—oh, communication is clearly difficult in most books, otherwise conflict would be severely diminished—and then once they reassured each other of what was actually going on, maybe they could work to find a solution. They wouldn’t have to reach it by the end of the book, but that’s an awful lot of work that’s going to have to be done in the next one. Very little was done in this one. And oh how much fun it will be when Blossom learns that one of her brothers has married Raene and the other bachelor will probably never forgive him. Never mind what happened to her father. (Never mind what happened to Raene’s father—she still doesn’t know about that. It seems to me that these characters go through much of their lives not knowing incredibly important things, and most of the conflict stems from trying to figure these things out or coping when they finally learn them.) Life is just one nasty surprise after the next.
Wow, what a lot of negativity, all for a book that is actually quite good…I liked Blossom and Raene both, although they were a little hard to tell apart at times. They were definitely not perfect and had some frustrating moments but ultimately they were just who they were. And it was great that we got so many different perspectives. Not too many to be overwhelming, but enough to get the important people’s perspectives which really helped my understanding, even if the communication between the characters themselves was terrible. Parson and Hale (the suitors that Raene must choose between) are both fine, but again frustrate me in different ways. Hale is steady and the perfect husband in most ways but the few problems he has are about things that are central to Raene’s character and that would be a dealbreaker for me. Parson is a chaotic mess who embraces those parts of Raene but almost seems to see her only as her totem. Which gets a little weird. And he can’t communicate at all, haha. But he has passion enough for both of them. I think it’s funny that he transformed and ran off when he first saw her in a fit of emotion, and when she does that only pages later, I thought “they’re perfect for each other.” But isn’t there that saying that opposites attract? Having two such volatile people be married would probably cause a lot of chaos. But hell, if Hale won’t even feed her meat…Anyway, I guess she eventually chose right, even if it felt wrong at the time. I mean, nothing would have felt right, but she did not do a good job explaining her choice. (Big surprise; communication issue.) Anyway, of course it’s going to be messy. Life’s not supposed to be easy.
As for Blossom’s reluctant new life, it was basically as expected. Forced to do terrible things and not even allowed to enjoy her (altered) totem. At least she makes new friends. Although I’m not sure how she’ll get out of it. Eh, it’ll work out.
All in all this was quite a page-turner. Always something big going on. That’s why it was so difficult to find a stopping place. Good story. Wish I had the next one already. I don’t need sleep, I need answers!
And for those curious, I am definitely…
reaction upon finishing
No, I need more!
this book in one word