Author: TJ Tristan
Pages: 346 (roughly depending on actual publication and editing)
Plot and Themes: 5/5
Cheers Factor: 4/5
Pairing: Grey Area
Okay this cocktail is one I didn’t anticipate making, but I knew I had to make this one special for my dear friend TJ. This is a gin cocktail and I normally don’t drink gin except on rare occasions when Empress 1908 is used and that’s what I used here. I love that the cocktail when layered and originally presented has the beautiful balance of colors and looks to be perfectly vibrant and in alignment, however when you stir it the drink turns a light grey color that reminds of the grey stuff from beauty and the beast. I think this is very telling of Quinn’s journey and the shake up she feels during the course of the book and the grey area she begins to live in of court politics as she is removed from her homeland.
“Perhaps that’s the greatest thing about mountains-they move for no one. No one except for me.”
2oz Empress Gin (Don’t substitute because of the presentation if you do it won’t look like I’m describing)
1oz orange juice
½ oz orange juice
½ oz simple syrup
Ice (I use a large square ice mold but any large ice format will work)
-Combine orange juice, lime juice and simple syrup in shaker and shake.
-Strain over ice in glass of choice (I used a coupe glass).
-Gently layer gin on top
You can find this title on Wattpad under the following link https://www.wattpad.com/875423856-lovely-dark-and-deep-before-you-begin
Please keep in mind this is a relatively unedited version. The author is continually working on this piece and even my own thoughts and edits have yet to be republished in this space, however even with that all considered I absolutely love this title. For a very early edition it’s amazing and I love it. The author has also shared with me her own art for the characters which I will include a few of my favorites in the character portion of this review.
“Aside from the fact that the beautiful garden was actually just a gilded cage.”
Arastya is a very interesting place, but I loved learning about the realms and where all the Druids come from. It truly was a great setting to start a fantasy series.
Quinn is a STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER! I love that so is Rhea and Ingrid. There is a lot of diversity amongst our cast of characters that feels very natural based off of where the characters come from and I appreciate that. The relationship Quinn has with Salem has a lot of unspoken tension that I loved reading.
Plot and Themes
I’m a sucker for anything fantasy and I love the idea of Druids. There’s so may stories that focus on the fae storylines within high fantasy so it was cool to see a fantasy series that felt like a fae fantasy novel, but wasn’t. I also like the concept of a selection style competition for the hands of the current king.
I am so excited to have gotten to read an initial version of this title and cannot wait to see what will happen in the coming months and year with this bad boy. As of right now the author is still in the process of editing and refining, but for a pretty early version I was blown away.
Warning Spoilers and my thoughts on edits ahead. If you don't want to be spoiled don't click read more!
“Darkness can help you to see things you’ve never seen before.”
In this section I’m going to share a little about some notes I shared with the author seeing as this is a bit of a different format.
“Rheas was in an immeasurable amount of pain, so much so I had to fight to keep from drowning in it.”
A lot of what I talked about with TJ was the fact that I wanted more of the other ladies. I wanted more interactions with them. I think getting more face time with them would help make the competition feel real and really bring out the reality that Salem has taken a true liking to Quinn. I also think some snarky comments would make it so interesting as Quinn starts to realize Salem is truly courting her and not just using her abilities.
Another aspect that I feel could be strengthened is the concluding fight. It’s already strong, but I think that it feels like it was won too easily. I think keeping a retreating faction would be powerful that then will end up going back to Aria’s family and potentially harboring Aria en route back to her home.
Besides that I really liked it and would be curious to see what future installments will include! Definitely check it out if you’re looking to get in on something before it becomes the real deal.
“I was not expecting you to be among those that bowed, Salem.”
Each book here at Cheers&Chapters is rated based off of certain categories that are genre specific, however every book will get a Cheers Factor. The Cheers Factor is how much we wanted to raise our glass while reading it. So get your glasses ready and cheers!