ARC Review: River by India R. Adams
Book: River (A Stranger in the Woods #2)
Author: India R. Adams
Publisher: India's Productions
Published: February 9, 2018
Number of Pages: 460
Source: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This in no way changes my rating or review.
Rating: 4 Stars
Tags: Fantasy, Received for Review, NA, Romance
Synopsis: I had wondered if I would be strong enough to love Ryder, my stranger from the woods. I learned that I was—still am. But now Ryder, Gunner and I have a young together, Rain, the Princess go the Guardian Warriors. And a very powerful being, King of the Shadow Clones, wants her dead. The only time I ever saw King was in the dream where forced a kiss on me, sending me into labor. Yes, I learned I was strong enough to love Ryder, but with a new stranger in the woods, will he be strong enough to love me?
I have a confession. I was actually really scared going into this one. I'm not even sure exactly why; maybe it was just the fear I have when starting almost every book that is second in a series. Will it compare to the first book? Will the characters stay true to who they are? Will the book just overall be sloppier? These are all thoughts I face every time I pick up the second book in a series, and these were still the thoughts I faced when I picked up this one (which was written by one of my favorite authors, keep in mind). So, were my worries well deserved? Did River succumb to the "second book syndrome?" I'm happy to report that it did not.
It took me a while to articulate what I wanted to talk about in my review because, not many people know this, but I actually start writing my reviews in my head as I'm reading. From the very first word I'm planning, thinking, ranting, articulating what I want to say-what I want to describe- about a book. Now, being honest, I wrote at least three different reviews as I read this one. I though I had a good one, then Adams would throw something into the story and I would have to start all over. So, Adams, I applaud you for your magnificent story telling. There were so many twists and turns that at the end of the book I (I'm not exaggerating) threw my kindle onto the bed, muttered "no author should be this brilliant" and proceeded to fall off my bed head first. What? It was a really good twist! So, the adventurer part of my brain loved this one, the reviewer part did not, lol.
Adams's writing has always been a sort of comfort for me. Maybe it is because I read my first book by her, Serenity, at a time that I really needed it. But the best simile that I can come up with is that reading Adams's work is like reading out of a story book when you were little. All of the images pop into your head. The feeling of awe, of wonder, of safety, all encompassed into the pages of a book. It's a pretty amazing experience, and Adams's writing will always have to be one of my favorite parts of her books.
But, the reality is, I didn't give this five stars. Why, Anna? Why? Well, there are two main reasons. The first being that I thought that the beginning of the book was a little too slow for me personally. I understand you have to reintroduce concepts and all the fantasy vocabulary, but it just felt, slow to me. Maybe it's because I had already actually read the beginning part, maybe it's just me.
I think that the saddest part of this one for me though was the character development. Don't get me wrong, there was character development, it's how certain characters developed throughout this book that disappointed me. I found that certain characters were making decisions that really disappointed me. I ended up losing my trust in characters that I loved in book one, which, really saddened me. My disappointment ended up sort of changing how I viewed the rest of the book, which was disappointing.
While I ended up losing my connection to certain characters, I ended up really liking others. I found it odd that my favorite character of the book was King, but I knew that I was lost as soon as he started talking about the mix of good and bad.
"W-Why are you so cruel?'
'Am I? Or am I simply the balance so beautiful wonderful bliss can exist?'"
Is it fate that King was talking about the exact subject I was debating myself about just that morning? Nope. But that odd little coincidence did make me immediately like King. I mean, how could I not? He was one of the smartest, well thought out villains I have ever had the pleasure of reading. He wasn't good, and he wasn't bad. I loved how Adams was able to show these amazing life lessons, through this flawed character that was more human to me through his actions than almost any other character in the book. He was a messed up creature, but at the end of the day he only longed for what we all want, to feel loved. Only a perfect blend of good and evil could create such a villain, and I'm grateful that I got to see his true colors shine through in this story.
So overall this was a wonderful continuation to the A Stranger in the Woods series. Adams was able to keep her charming voice while continuing the story line to where it needed to go. While I was a little disappointing in some characters (one in particular actually), and it started off a tad bit slow, this story was filled to the brim with twists and revelations. I'm extremely interested and eager to see where Adams propels the story next.