Today is my stop on the blog tour for Once Stolen by D.N. Bryn, and I am excited to be sharing my review with you all.
A massive thank you to @DN_Bryn for allowing me to be a part of the tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book, in exchange for an honest review.
No one with half a brain would rob the jungle’s most notorious energy cartel. The vibrations of their power-producing stones are the only thing that calms the mer-snake Cacao’s agonizing sensory condition though—and after being banished from his homeland swamps for similar thefts, he’s desperate.
When his attempt fails stunningly, a chaotic escape leaves him chained to a cartel prisoner: a self-proclaimed hero with a hidden stash of ignits so large, Cacao would never need to steal again. He’s determined to get his hands on it, even if it means guiding her home straight through the mist-laden and monster-filled swamp that exhaled him, with scheming poachers and a desperate cartel leader on their tail.
But the selfish and the self-righteous can only flee together for so long before something snaps…
Return to Our Bloody Pearl’s steampunk-inspired world of merfolk in this fun, fast-paced adventure with a hate-to-love romance, a boat-load of sass, and even more heart.
Cultural ableism, adolescent abandonment, two instances of animal injury and death, accidental house fire, kidnapping, secondary character drinking alcohol including non-violent drunkenness.
I read Our Bloody Pearl (book 1 of the These Treacherous Tides series) in 2020, and it was one of my favourite books of the year. I have been extremely excited for the release of Once Stolen since then, and when D.N. Bryn contacted me about a review copy, of course I jumped at the chance! I could not wait to read this book, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
The story begins with an exciting opening scene. Cacao is desperate to get his hands on the cartel’s ignits, no matter the cost, but things don’t go to plan, and now he’s stuck being chained to their prisoner without the precious stones he was after. This scene sets you up perfectly for the rest of the book. I was instantly intrigued by the storyline, and the characters, and couldn’t wait to see how the story unfolds. I have always loved a good merfolk story, and the world that the author has created with the These Treacherous Tides series is like no other that I’ve come across before.
The book is filled with a mix of different characters, and that’s something I really love about this book. Every character is completely unique, and in other books, I sometimes I feel like character’s personalities get lost in the mix if they are all different, but with D.N. Bryn’s writing, every personality shines through, has its own place, and makes its own mark on the story. Personal favourites of mine were Xera and Fern, because they both went to extreme lengths (and danger) to help those in need and their friends. The relationship they have with each other is also so lovely to read (and that’s coming from someone who isn’t a huge fan of romance!!!). I really enjoyed watching the different relationships grow throughout the story, especially Cacao and Thais’. I loved watching their relationship change and develop, from hate to love.
There are so many elements to this story, and it is so well written that you can imagine every little detail in your head. There were twists and turns that I never expected, and I loved every second of it. This is one of those books that sucks you in, and makes you forget the world around you, because while you’re reading Once Stolen (and Our Bloody Pearl), you are completely submerged in to the world that has been so perfectly created.
Once Stolen is full of great rep (autistic, non-binary, own voice, and much more), jam packed full of action and excitement, and keeps you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. It is easily one of my favourite books of 2021 so far, and I am so excited to see what D.N. Bryn has in store for us in the future!
I give Once Stolen a 5 star rating!
About The Author:
Danny Bryn is a queer, disabled, non-binary speculative fiction author of the liberal Jesus-freak variety. When not writing, they conduct infectious disease surveillance in their hometown of San Diego, where they enjoy basking in the Santa Ana winds, hiking the brush-heavy slopes, and eating too many tacos.
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