THE DARK CALLING
by KRESLEY COLE
“Yes, my husband wanted me dead and had decapitated me twice, but all relationships had issues, right?”
“Since I’d first met Jack, he’d not only become a man; he’d become a great one.”
The latest addition to The Arcana Chronicles is a doozy. It starts off right where the last book left off, and there has been a considerable gap between the releases so it might help to reread before if you don’t remember the shocker that Cole left us with at the last book. If you haven’t read the series yet, this review will be full of spoilers, so I wouldn’t go any further. Stop reading this review and grab Poison Princess — you’ll thank me later. This is by far one of my favorite current YA series.
Whether you are Team Death or Team Jack you’ll be ripped to shreds by THE DARK CALLING. Cole has this unique ability to shake things up, and throw them back together in completely unexpected ways. I was reading and gasping, and going “OH MY GOD” through most of the book. Which was kind of awkward since I was reading on a plane. I tried to explain it to my seatmate, but then things got even more awkward when I started saying… “Well, Death did this…”
My overall take on this addition to the series – it’s fabulously painful. I was thinking about it for days, even dreamed about it. I’m used to being disappointed by authors as a series progresses, as they grow tired of the worlds, or as their publisher forces them into paths because of trends. But, not The Arcana Chronicles. The books get better and better as you get more invested in the characters. THE DARK CALLING by Kresley Cole might break your heart…but you’ll like every moment of it.
Ready to discuss? This area is going to be full of spoilers, so you are warned. There is no way I can go over this book without giving a few key facts away. No, really stop here if you don’t want to be spoiled.
The book begins with Evie in Death’s castle, in sort of mourning/transition period. There is friendship because of Lark, Finn, and Death getting along so well, but Evie is messed up over the news of her pregnancy, Jack’s supposed death — even though she’s pretty sure he’s alive because of The Fool, and the death of her grandmother.
Because of these emotions, Evie is basically powerless as all the other Arcana get stronger and stronger. The people around her begin to think she is unhinged, especially when she starts to get paranoid, eventually leading to the reveal of the final card The Hanged Man, which turns the game upside down and not in a good way.
The Hanged Man has the ability to reverse cards and mind manipulation, and he is inherently evil. I thought for sure, Jack would reveal himself as alive and be the final card. Nope, Cole threw a curveball with this one, and I didn’t even suspect it. Not until the very moment it happened.
The final card’s revealed changed everything, turning a lot of Evie’s allies against her, and leaving her to fend for herself with some unlikely Arcana allies, out of the castle, without any food, or warmth, or shelter…and still pregnant.
I was pretty much on the edge of my seat by this part, but Cole doesn’t let go, there is non-stop anxiety from page to page after that moment. We go from one horrendous scene to the next, Cole invoking real-life situations within a deep fantasy world, which makes you question what you would do in that position. There is this one scene, where they are starving, eating nothing but cat food, and they come across a van of baddies that they subdue for their food. There is soup in the van, that smells delicious, but when they stir it up a finger floats to the top. Insane scene.
Then Jack shows up — alive. He rides a motorcycle right up to Evie, which yes— it was a bit coincidental, considering the great big world. But, I’m pretty sure Jack has a role in the game so he was probably supposed to find Evie. Once he shows up, crazily I’m Team Jack again. Because well, Death turned into a douche, and Jack saves the day.
You would think it would end there, but it doesn’t…more and more keeps happening to this group. Evie now has The Hanged Man to deal with, he’s turned her friends against her, killed an ally, (that one surprisingly didn’t affect me that much, even though it’s rather sad) and is holding Death’s castle like a prize. Then there is also the Emperor, who wants to get his hands on “his Empress” quite badly. And if that isn’t enough…Cole reveals even more players in the game, the Minors, which are the Minor Arcana, cups (I wish that badass scene, when The Red Witch kills them was explored more – would like to have gotten a peek into that craziness), pentacles, wands, and swords. Each suit usually doesn’t come in contact with the Majors, but this game is different.
The scene where Aric breaks free of The Hanged Man’s hold. Heart-breaking…I ached for him, but wanted to punch him in the face for not believing Evie to begin with.
“Dear gods, what have I done?” – Death
I’m still mulling over that ending. And now I’m hoping – and maybe this is because I’ve been reading a few reverse harem books, that Evie shacks up with both the boys. I think it has a good basis too, a few times it’s mentioned that Jack can only love one person, and Death can only touch one person. And he might not even be able to touch his own child, so we’ll need Daddy Jack around. Won’t that be cute?
“And a girl couldn’t be committed to two guys. Right?” – Evie
I’m also thinking the child might usher into the ending of the game. But, it’ll also turn a lot of the players against Evie, because they’ll fear that if the game doesn’t end, the Earth will never be returned to its stable environment. I also think, maybe a god or two will come into play in the last book. Which could be a good thing or a bad thing. My predictions never come true, so don’t put any hopes on that – but I love mulling it over. I’m sure Cole is going to surprise me in the next one— but I can only hope that Evie will get her HEA in the end.
The Dark Calling (The Arcana Chronicles, #5) by Kresley ColeSeries: The Arcana Chronicles #5
Published by Valkyrie Presss on February 13th 2018
Also in this series: Poison Princess, Endless Knight, Poison Princess
New intrigues, adventures, and stunning revelations fill the penultimate installment of #1 New York Times best-selling author Kresley Cole’s electrifying Arcana Chronicles.
In a world teetering on the edge . . .When Evie receives life-changing—and possibly game-changing—news, she has trouble believing it. Why doesn’t she feel any different? Is it possible someone she trusts might be lying?
With enemies at every turn . . .Tensions seethe inside the castle of lost time as Evie starts to doubt her own sanity. Answers can be found outside their stronghold, but will Death help her find them—or prevent her from learning the truth about her future and Jack’s possible survival?
Darkness beckons. A mysterious, sinister power begins to affect the Arcana in its path. Forced out into the wasteland alone, Evie must depend on unexpected allies. But as a battle with Richter looms, can her new alliance defeat the Dark Calling before hell reigns on earth?
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