“The Kiss That Saved Me”- Kristy Nicolle

Growing up in the 80’s was (and still is) essentially living in duality. 80’s kids witnessed video games and technology (somewhat) from the ground up- so everything they came out with, with the exception of some gaming systems, was bigger and better than the last. In regards to technology, it has been a continuous upward trend.

Not so true with Disney movies. Growing up Disney, girls especially, lived under falsified pretenses of what being a girl/princess was. Let’s be honest, at some point in our female lives we’ve been called princess, so if the shoe fits (and remember, it did for Cinderella!). So imagine my dismay as I became older my inability to summon woodland creatures with my (not so) melodious voice. My hair did not stay in perfect straight locks while underwater. Prince Charming rarely makes an appearance. We were spoiled. We grew up thinking that girls are damsels in distress; that we need rescuing. On the flip side of that coin boys were failed. Where/when was chivalry taught or even shown?

Let me segue into my point before I lose all my readers. Being 2017 and we’ve evolved just a bit, and games, movies and books have caught on- and it’s bloody brilliant.

Strong female leads. To me, I just started scratching the surface of this concept with the books A Court of Thorns and Roses  and Throne of Glass both by the talented Sarah J Maas.  Let me introduce you to the newest author that has earned my utmost respect by not allowing females in her novels to be mere damsels in distress. Kristy Nicolle.

So I’m warning you right now- if you HAVEN’T read the first book in this series “The Kiss That Killed Me” you need to stop reading this blog post immediately. I’m not one for spoilers, I refuse to spoil a book in the middle of a series. So you’ve been warned!

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We have, for the most part, the exact same cast of characters we did in book one. Which is absolutely brilliant because the author does some major character development with each, making this my favorite (so far) read of the trilogy.

Orion is back. Need a reminder of my mind’s eye view of him? Happy to oblige:

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Your’e welcome.

So Orion is back- he’s still reeling from his father’s death. The mer people just lost their leader, and naturally are looking to fill that position immediately. Not out of disrespect, but for structure. Who better to fill Atlas’ shoes than his only son. Only problem is Orion was reluctant to move into the “castle” when his dad was alive. Now he’s expected/wanted to to assume responsibility by his people, and Orion feels less than superior for the job. Nicolle is brilliant making you feel absolute grief from the death of a parent; the uncertainty of living up to expectations to fill gigantic shoes, regret over things we shoulda/coulda/woulda learned from parents, but thought that we had plenty of time left. And we all know men- OK I’ll give the guys a break here; we all know CERTAIN kinds of men, that don’t really show their emotions. . .well. . .emotionally. They decide to channel grief in their own unique, annoying, sometimes unhealthy way.

If Callie can survive death, AND up choosing to live life as a mermaid instead of a Goddess, of course she’s going to be back in this book.  It is in this character’s development alone that this book get’s a high rating. Callie goes from a humdrum teenager, go getting stabbed in the back by a psiren, and starting her life as a mermaid and Orion’s soulmate. When your life does a complete 180 degree, you should be allotted to ask as many questions as you want; which is exactly what Callie does. Although, it seems to annoy her soulmate. I’m sure the day I turn into a mermaid, I’m gonna ask a billion questions, so if my soulmate isn’t ready for that, it’s single lady time. It also seems that with Callie’s death at the end of book one it further annoys Orion that she made a decision this monumental without asking him. Ick just writing that sentence makes my skin crawl. So with Orion taking the place of his father, he need a Queen by his side. Seems ridiculous that it should be anyone BUT Callie, so Callie seamlessly fills that role.

Saturnus is still advising; completely butt hurt because he wasn’t chosen by the mer people to be king. Sorry sweet heart, go stare at your golden reflection a bit longer, maybe the Goddess will show an ounce of pity on you. Orion and Saturnus seem to butt heads, mainly because Orion is now in charge. Saturnus though is a major nosy Nancy. JUST because two mer people are soul mates does NOT mean you need to push a King to propose to your unsure other half that’s still trying to figure things out. But hey, Saturnus has been around for AGES! He’s gotta know what he’s talking about right? And such a ladies man, cause he knows how women work . . .pffft.

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Azure and Starlet are here too. I don’t think I ever mentioned this in the previous post, but I love Azure’s character. Sure she stabbed Callie in the back. But brunette’s let’s be honest with ourselves. There’s been AT LEAST one time we’ve wanted to stab a blonde in the back . . . am I right? No? Just me? . . .moving on then.

 

Azure and Starlet are at this point trying to bridge the gap in their soulmate relationship. Azure is still fighting the dark, but slowly coming back to her old self. There’s no one like her now, and she’s completely alone as far as what she experienced. I’d be short tempered and snarky with the lot of them too.

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So let’s get back to Callie. She hasn’t been right since she died. In the first book she was questioning everything, and curious, and in awe of everything, shy etc. As this book progresses, it’s as if Callie and Azure have completely switched. Callie is short-tempered to the point where she’s feeling angry. We’ve got Orion not dealing with his grief but instead of dealing with it in a healthy, adult, centuries old kinda way, he channels it to Callie in sexual escapades. Nothing wrong with that (to a point), but when she’s literally asking/begging him to talk to her, and he’s slobbering up her mouth; dude enough already. And let’s not forget Saturnus’ sage advice to propose to Callie. So how does our gallant King decide to go about this? Oh, only to catch her off guard in front of EVERYONE.

Right here- right freaking here is where I fell in love with the book. Callie ran away (again). But it’s at this point in the book that we start to see Callie experience this suppressed side of her that is drawing on the anger (there’s a bigger reason, but I’m not going to ruin that for you). So Callie, being Callie, does what’s logical in her mind. In book one she’s looking for her father, and what better place to start than where the Psirens are?

So here is this blonde mermaid, with aqua marine scales and the aqua marine face mask, and slowly throughout the course of the book these scales and hair fade to black. Cue in Vexus (Sexy Vexy) a villain (but is he really a villain?) anyone could fall for, and the perfect balance in Callie’s life right now.

Callie is absolutely struggling with the dichotomy of good and evil in this book- all very human, and easy to relate to. She’s thrown into a world she’s expected to assimilate to. She’s thrown into being a soulmate without question. Thrown into queenship. Tried being thrown into a marriage. Trying to live up to all these expectations is tiresome, and would make any sane person question whether or not all that work is worth it. With the Psirens, Callie is able to explore being the fighter she wanted to be with the mer. She experiments with being edgy, and throwing caution to the wind, and trying to wear leather and corsets.

It’s through dancing with the dark that Callie finally understands the person she is meant to be in this new world. And the prophecy still has not come to pass. So did Callie die for naught? What secrets has she learned from the Psirens, and is a psiren life for her or is it just a skin she’s trying on?

There was quite a bit of growth just going from book one to book two. They connect seamlessly, and continue right where the last stopped. I do think the story line for this one was brilliantly thought out. It was just perfect. Everything that happened in here was perfection. Plot twists, story line, character development, more fricken plot twists. Ugh. Too brilliant. I cannot believe I’m already to the last book- and I’m kinda bummed!

 

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