Cover Image: Queen of Rot and Pain

Queen of Rot and Pain

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*received for free from netgalley for honest review* ah yes. i get myself again! not reading the genre lmao would not have read this myself but will recommend to people who did lol
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Well dang. After the last book ended on a huge cliffhanger, I was seriously excited to read this book and it did not disappoint. It had the constant suspense of Grey's Anatomy in a Game of Thrones type of world. That said, anyone who reads it should be aware that it's no doubt a dark book and everything needs to be taken with a grain of salt. But if you're looking for a dark and steamy fantasy romance, this book is no doubt for you.
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Queen on Rot and Pain is the sequel to King of Flesh and Bone. If you have not read the first you will be lost. The sequel does have a recap but it doesn’t explain everything. The book pick up with Ada being stabbed. Enosh comes to her rescue but binds her to her body. Enosh is angry with her since he believes she lied and was not going to return to him. He takes punishing her too far. Can they get on the same page?
There are several twists in this book. There are several gory situations and infertility, possible baby death, and torture.
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Ada and Enosh are at odds at the beginning of this novel. She is dead and grieving. He is furious and vengeful. The entire first half of the novel, they are waring. He spends it trying torturing and punishing her for what he believes is her betrayal. She spends it trying to clear her name, so they can get back to love. It’s infuriating. I’m empathetic towards Ada. I’m also still a bit disgusted by the gore. Queen of Rot and Pain is just as triggering as King of Flesh and Bone. It is not a dark romance It is more of a macabre fantasy romance. The entire read, I was intrigued by the romance and a bit disgusted by the bodies. 

By the second half, the couple have resolved their differences. He knows her truth, and she knows his pain. They are on the same page. They both want her alive. Unfortunately, they have to go to extreme measures to get his brother to give her the breath of life. You may not believe what happens when he finally does, or what both Ada and Enosh have to give up to attain it. From that point on, the couple come into their own, both changed. 

Overall, I enjoyed the novel. It is definitely a fresh take on the sort of monster or paranormal romance I enjoy. It is, admittedly, a bit much, all of the blood and bodies used to build his kingdom, but it is right there in the title. Be forewarned, this series is triggering if you’re sensitive to gore. It is also poetic and engaging and rife with dark imagery. Liv Zander is a talented writer with an unusually grim imagination. I expect great things from her in the future.
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This as an audiobook is FANTASTIC! I really loved the way the narrators got into it and I could see myself in their shoes. This is a must read!
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For as much as book one straddled my thrills/chills line, THIS BOOK.  I could NOT stop listening to this book.  The previous book ended on one hell of a cliffhanger, and I was so pleased to be able to dive right in to book.  And dive right in we do.

In Liv Zander’s Queen of Rot and Pain, FMC Ada truly comes into her own.  This is where she develops her crown and becomes queen.  I listened to the audiobook, and the narrators performed Liv Zander’s words with heart, sensuality, determination, and terror in equal measure.  As well, this book allowed me to further appreciate this incredible world that Liv had created.  Her worldbuilding is so intricately woven through the plot that it isn’t exhausting (as it can be in other fantasy books) and not overly complicated.  As we follow Ada’s journey, we learn how much of her world was forgotten and altered by the corrupted rulers as she does.  And boy does Liv know how to paint a picture with words.  Rot and Pain indeed.

The plot moves swiftly, but not overwhelmingly so.  Enough that I found it sincerely hard to put down.   This led me to listen (thank you headphones) to steamy hot, or terrifyingly exciting moments in completely inappropriate places, like the grocery store check out, or walking my kids to the bus.  

Two characters that I NEED to mention in this review are Enosh’s brothers.  Because they are fantastic.  First of all, Yarin, the smooth-talking, dreadfully cavalier, God of thought.  I found myself waiting for him to appear, because he added such levity and complexity to the story.  

The second is Orlaigh.  As I listened, I found myself just as eager as Ada is to uncover her story and the truth.  

As I said with book one, if you are in the market for a Dark Fantasy Romance, this is definitely the book for you, and thanks to Auri Alden and Gregory Salinas, the audiobook is truly captivating.
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Enosh's struggle with treachery and Ada's sincere efforts to sway his opinion are both fascinating. They reconnected in a very artistic and well-paced way. With the exception of more knowledge about the other brothers, this book contains all the answers we need. 

In this novel, they are more prominently featured, although I was hoping for more background information on each of them. Compared to the King of Flesh and Bone, I preferred book 2. Ada's character endured a ton and was treated abhorrently throughout the novel, yet she eventually rose to become a formidable Queen of Rot and Pain. Fortunately, Enosh changed his mindset and evolved into a wonderful husband. I adored the way the Pale Court duet ended.
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Gotta say I'm not a fan of happy endings when it comes to dark books like this one. It's dark, gritty, gruesome, and horrifying throught the whole thing but you end it with a rainbow? Nah.
Otherwise this book wasn't much different from the first one + you get the miscommunication trope which is really annoying.
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I was in the minority for this one: I preferred the first book. This one clearly has the falling-in-love arc, but it all happens so jerkily.

The book's first half proceeds at a good pace and has a nice setup. Then, Enosh does a complete 180. It's not gradual. Neither is Ada's acceptance of this change of heart. 

The second half of the book comprises Ada's baby obsession (which I get but feels overdone) and her morality pains. Then we get to the end of the book, and it's another 180 with everything all buttoned up. I found it unsatisfying. 

I listened to the audio version of this book, and I enjoyed the narrators: Auri Alden and Gregory Salinas.

Thank you to NetGalley and Dreamscape Media for an advance audio ARC.
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3.5 
Not a bad book. Parts felt dark for darks sake. Which isn’t a bad thing just a warning for those to check the trigger warnings. 

The pacing is rough, felt like it should have been the last quarter of the first book. In my opinion if the first and second books were cut for pacing and put together it would be a five star read. The universe is interesting the magic system was so good. The plot and the character arc dragged a bit but I loved the HEA ending.

The audiobook quality and voices is great!!!
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2.25 stars, rounded down (See my review of Book 1 for more context)

The second in a dark fantasy romance duology. Please mind the extensive trigger warnings, listed below.

Ada finds herself in a bit of predicament, separated from the King of Flesh and Bone. Their already complicated relationship has just become even more complicated and only continues to get more complicated throughout this book. 

There is a lot more angst in this book, as well as gore, murder, and destruction. We see more of the Kings brothers, without much more information on how the magic system works. Ada's character develops into a darker version of herself. Ada and The King both endure quite a bit of hardship. 

This book is rife with the miscommunication trope. The King becomes "certain" that Ada has betrayed him, without any amount of communication or benefit of the doubt. This leads to significant abuse within the relationship. This miscommunication really drags out this book in an unbearable way. Also, one of the brothers can supposedly read thoughts, but he somehow doesn't know why Ada acted in the manner she did or why she believes what she does. How is that possible?  He can read her thoughts!? It is infuriating! Make it make sense.

Anyways, after you get past this miscommunication (and if you can overlook the confusing magical system) and they finally manage to get on the same page, which isn't until like the 75% mark, the seeing Ada fall into a darker role is entertaining. The twist at the end was wonderful, I love when FMCs gain an upper hand and embrace some darkness.

The writing in the second book is not only nothing outstanding with no plot, but is overly lazy.

While I did enjoy the first book some, the second book ruined this for me. Overall, I would have recommended this series, but the second book in the series was enough for me to say that I will not. However, if lazy writing with confusing magical systems don't bother you, you are looking for a really dark romance that is quick to read, and are okay with the listed TWs, then this series might still be for you. 

TWs: <spoiler>sexual content, sexual violence, repeated on page rape between the main characters, repeated on page sexual assault between the main characters, confinement, violence, gore, fire/injury, blood, body horror, death, murder, animal death, physical abuse, emotional abuse, gaslighting, pregnancy and pregnancy complications, discussions of infertility, grief, terminal illness, toxic relationship.</spoiler>
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Queen of Rot and Pain is the second book in the Pale Court duet and begins where book 1 left off. Like the first book this story was very dark yet fantastic. It was well written with excellent world building and the character growth was astounding. There were twists and turns I did not see coming and the plot had me at the edge of my seat throughout. 
Enosh was the dark and arrogant God who was so much worse at the start of this story. Thinking he was wronged he became so cold and cruel towards Ada and some of his actions led to him having to do some serious groveling when the truth was revealed. 
I loved that Ada realized how things would have looked from his POV and went all out to prove him wrong and when the truth came out I enjoyed seeing the change in their relationship. 
The story was angsty, and filled with tension, action, suspense and scorching hott steamy scenes. Enosh was the perfect definition of possessive, obsessive alpha and Ava was strength personified. Together these two were perfect for each other and I loved seeing how they both evolved as the story progressed. I enjoyed going on this journey with these two who took me on an intense roller coaster ride. This was an entertaining and highly satisfying conclusion to this duet. I loved it and would highly recommend it to lovers of dark fantasy romance. 
I listened to the audiobook version of this story. The narrators were again perfect for the role and really brought the story to life. Their voices were clear and understandable and it was a pleasure listening to them narrate this novel.
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Did go an read book 1 before starting this part, also did get the ebook copy from kindle unlimited of book 2. Enjoyed the recap that was provided prior to start of book 2. The narrators for the audiobook were fantastic, the audio made the old English words and dialogue less jarring in comparison to the text. I was concerned about how Enosh was going to be redeemed in this book, but he did get his redemption. Also enjoyed Ada coming into her own power and the twist of her becoming immortal. Downside to the forgiveness and the change of heart for Ada was it did happen rather suddenly. Do want to know what happens with Eliam and his relationship with his brothers and Ada, do they find a truce or is he plotting. Did Ada ever find her father? 
Some of the themes were not a personal favorite of mine, but overall the story was captivating and very well written. I would recommend the audiobook.
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This sequel was even better than book 1! I really enjoyed seeing the way the relationship progressed and the FMC growing into her new position and power. It’s hard to review without spoilers but I loved the development of both characters. It was less spicy than book 1 though and the faith of one character, although believable, left me unsatisfied, but that epilogue gave me life! Love love seeing the queen of rot and pain being a queen!
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I’m glad I read this book!! 

Again, there’s a lot of sexy time but it’s a bit more consensual & less punish-y as they’re married. 

Warning: I feel this is a niche genre. Make sure you read the publisher’s summary. 

I loved it. The author pulled off the second half of this story beautifully. The spin was good. 

Our gorgeous brooding mistrustful vindictive immortal is furious with his queen who he feels was trying to run away when she really was thrown from the horse she was sent back to the Pale Court on, got lost & ended up with her dad. 

The mystery unfolds nicely! 

A small fraction of a star reduction due to a female MC who can’t find her tongue when she started out a whip sharp snark. Forgiven but still there. 

I plan to buy both books …. I wish ARCANE would pick this up in their special bi-monthly book box.
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I immediately had to read this one. 

It's just as I said for the first yes there's some spice but it doesn't over shadow the story and I absolutely loved this especially Yarin's title change. 

I simply love Yarin. Point blank I need a story with him now please!! 

This one very much had some scenes that might be gruesome to some.... But if you came this far I think you'll be okay 😅😅

If you enjoy seeing just how far a parent will go for their child I think you'll like this one.
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Same problems with this one as I did with the King of Flesh and Bone. I also HATED when the female narrator did Enoch's (sp?) voice. I found it extremely annoying.
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I suggest readers read the first book before reading this one as it begins where the first book ends. This book was just as fantastic as the first. Old-age secrets are revealed, lies are told, betrayal is revealed, and sacrifices are made. I love Enosh and Ada as much as I did in the first book, but I'm also intrigued by Enosh brothers. I wouldn't mind if they get their own story. I would definitely love to read how Yarin falls in love and find his queen. This story was an erotic one, but I expected nothing less after reding the first book. We get to see different sides of both Enosh and Ada. The roles have definitely reversed a little. The ending of this story was sweet, but I was still left with unanswered questions about Ada's father. I wasn't sure if what she was told was true or if it was lied. I wanted her to prove or find out the truth on what really happened because I thought maybe what was told was lies. Overall, this was a fantastic duet unlike any other I have ever listened to before. I will definitely be listening to and reading other books from this author. I also have to mention that the narrators did a fantastic job with the characters.
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This one was a DNF for me. I made it 40% through the audiobook but gave up. It couldn't keep my interest. I'm not sure if it was because of the plot moving slowly or if it was the breathy whispering of the narrators. I just kept wanting them to enunciate more and felt like it was dragging.
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Zander continues her dark sensuous retelling with this instalment but adds in darker elements that drive her story forward. Now Enosh and Ada have to fight their misgivings and perceived betrayals to save their fraught relationship. Ada is given the stage here to mature and come into her own power and it is fantastic to experience. 

Our narrators again did a great job of embodying these characters and their personalities. They gave themselves over to the reading and it was evocative.
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