White Stag, the first book in a brutally stunning series by Kara Barbieri, involves a young girl who finds herself becoming more monster than human and must uncover dangerous truths about who she is and the place that has become her home.
A Wattpad break out star with over a million reads! Now expanded, revised and available in print and eBook.
As the last child in a family of daughters, seventeen-year-old Janneke was raised to be the male heir. While her sisters were becoming wives and mothers, she was taught to hunt, track, and fight. On the day her village was burned to the ground, Janneke—as the only survivor—was taken captive by the malicious Lydian and eventually sent to work for his nephew Soren.
Janneke’s survival in the court of merciless monsters has come at the cost of her connection to the human world. And when the Goblin King’s death ignites an ancient hunt for the next king, Soren senses an opportunity for her to finally fully accept the ways of the brutal Permafrost. But every action he takes to bring her deeper into his world only shows him that a little humanity isn’t bad—especially when it comes to those you care about.
Through every battle they survive, Janneke’s loyalty to Soren deepens. After dangerous truths are revealed, Janneke must choose between holding on or letting go of her last connections to a world she no longer belongs to. She must make the right choice to save the only thing keeping both worlds from crumbling.
by Kara Barbieri
“I won’t lie and say my kind are never monstrous. Just that we’re only as monstrous as your kind are.”
Janneke is human but has lived among goblins, albeit against her will, for 100 years. During this time she’s had to adapt to survive the harsh world she’s found herself in and through that adaptation she’s become something more than just human. This world has definitely been unkind to her as we see with glimpses Barbieri gives us from her past when she was owned by a different goblin than she is now. Now though, Janneke is stronger than ever and quite close with the goblin, Soren, who owns her now.
Soren is powerful among his people and we see just how powerful when he and his uncle get into a heated argument over Janneke at the palace of the Erlking. This is where the stag comes into place. With both goblin’s powers floating around against each other, the stag notices a change in who should be king and ultimately begins the hunt.
This story amazed me and kept me entertained the whole time. When I wasn’t reading it I was thinking about it and the characters that I connected with easily. Janneke is strong willed and a true survivor. Her past still haunts her in many ways, but I feel, through that, we see just how strong she really is. Soren intrigued me. I loved how his personality seemed to be different with Janneke and how he fought his own nature for her, but I wanted to see more of him and how he was with others. I feel like we only get glimpses into his character and we only see him and how he is with Janneke.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I can’t wait to dive into the next installment. I’m giving this review 4-stars instead of my intended 4.5 due to the fact that in the beginning I felt as if I were thrown into the middle of a series instead of the beginning of one. I kept wondering if I had missed something. I feel like these were areas Barbieri could have expanded on a little more. I also think she has a lot of room to work with prequel if she ever wanted to. I’d love to see the exact scene of how Janneke came to be under Soren’s protection, and life before the chaos of the hunt broke out.