Cover Image: The Bride of Death

The Bride of Death

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Member Reviews

Save me enemies to lovers save me

I DEVOURED this.

The Bride of Death follows Zerryn, who grew up hearing the tales of the Lord of Death, Erlik Kahn. She soon discovers how real these tales are when her best friend, Çelik begins to act strange. Rumours of his possession spread around the small village like wildfire and it’s not long until it’s revealed it’s the very Lord of Death who has taken control of Çelik’s body.

The Lord of Death is searching for a Bride and Zerryn believes she can’t defeat Erlik without gaining the power she will get becoming his bride. To her, it’s the only way to save Çelik’s life. The only way to do this? She must complete three impossible tasks against creatures of untold power.

There was truly so much to love about this and I found myself wanting to savour the book and not finish too quickly. The world-building and the atmosphere of this book were so fantastic and immediately drew me in.

What I loved the most was how wonderful the characters were. I often say characters are unique whenever I read great books but in this context, they truly are. There was not one character that was two-dimensional. They all held such beautiful and powerful depth to them and I found myself so intently focused on each character we came across, even the ones considered antagonists.

I found myself falling in love with Zerryn and Erlik. They are such beautifully written characters with so many layers to them and I will be thinking about them often.

I am so excited to eventually get my hands on a physical copy because I will definitely be revisiting this in the future.

What a fantastic standalone!

Thank you to NetGalley and Northern Light Press for providing me with this ARC. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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I wasn't tired of it at the time but I feel like all these "Death romances/romantasy" stories are way too many. So many that its made me put off even reading Foxglove by Adalyn Grace. I will say that the Katherine Arden x Naomi Novik comparison is interesting which might draw me back in at a later point.

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The Bride of Death is a fantasy romance retelling of the Hades & Persephone myth and Beauty and the Beast inspired by Turkish mythology with a sprinkle of monster romance. To save her village and her childhood sweetheart, Zerryn needs to compete in a tournament to win the hand of the king of the Underworld.

If you are a fan of Hades/Persephone dynamics and the Death and the Maiden trope, you will love this. What drew me in mostly were the colourful characters - Zerryn, our willful MC; Erlik, the king of the Underworld; and the other competitors for Erlik's hand, Beyza and Yuxa. I loved that this didn't pit the women in the story against each other and instead had Zerryn become friends with one of them. Moreover, there's also something for the monster romance fans, since Erlik basically looks like a biblically accurate angel - multiple arms, eyes and all.

The tension between Zerryn and the love interest was well-written and there wasn't any insta-love at all. There was the barest hint of a love triangle but not enough to bother me. F. M. Aden writes some gorgeous prose and the whimsical, fairytale-esque writing did remind me quite a bit of Katherine Arden's The Bear and the Nightingale as well as Catherynne Valente's Deathless, both of which I love. This wasn't quite as action-packed as Aden's other book, The Court of the Dead, but I still really enjoyed it! All in all, I gave it 4/4 stars and recommend it to fans of fairytale/folklore inspired fantasy fans.

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I genuinely loved this book. The romance, the story, the characters, the creatures, are all delightfully dark and twisted versions of love and mistrust. I was not familiar with the tales of Ehrlik Khan as an adjacent figure of Hades so I didn't immediately grasp the mythos buried in the tale.
I loved the banter between the characters. I was surprised by the darker ending but it was delightful to see an alternative to such a famous love story.
I will happily share this book recommendation with my customers and friends/family.

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I hate love triangle trope but when I requested this book I never know that this book has that kind of trope. When I read this and suddenly I realize there's love triangle in this book I want to drop this book immediately. But before I do that I try to read it first to the point I can't read it anymore.

Fortunately the love triangle is not that bad because Zerryn and Celik love is not really visible, there's a huge timeskip on their friendship so I can not see their relationship at all, well even trough out the book I can't feel the love between Celik and Zerryn. It feels like Zerryn is just meant to be with Erlik from the beginning, no competition at all but there's a moment where Zerryn trying so hard to hate Erlik and remember Celik. Not doing so great actually.

The story is good, I love the trials and the unexpected friendship between competitor of Erlik bride and I love Erlik so much! He's cruel yet very sweet only to Zerryn. I love how other people could see his love for Zerryn of course Zerryn couldn't see it. And it's interesting to see Erlik favored Zerryn. How he help her bit by bit. Just love him so much! But not with Zerryn, her wishy washy stressed me out!

Still recommend this book for anyone!

Actual rating 3.5 ⭐️

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3.25 stars
The writing in this book really gives classical vibes.
It's a strange comfort to read in a flow that reminds me of classic literature. However, I've never been the best with classical-style literature, my brain can struggle at times to follow along, and sadly, this happened a bit in this story.

While I don't think it was fully a book for me, I still enjoyed many aspects of this book: the amount of magical exposure, such as creatures, superstition and tradition. I love that the haunting narrative that our main character is haunted by the power of death was both subtle and solid, something that I found they did better than other 'Death Loves Me' books.

I think many people will love this, and I know a few folks who I'll recommend this to.

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I was solded by the slogan "In the vein of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted" which I really loved.
The folklore and lore was really interesting and it's a well-writen book.
Sadly, I didn't root for any of the characters but that being said, I know some people will love this book! (I'm just not the best target for it)

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4 stars!
thank you netgalley and f.m. aden for the e-arc!

this was really good! i didn't have much expectations going into this book mainly because i dont know much about the folklore that it's based on but as a book on it's own, it was really well written in many aspects. the characters were diverse enough to feel like actual people and the plot was super interesting and i was really intrigued to see how the story would unfold and eventually wrap up.

if you're looking for a fun eerie, dark romantasy book, i would highly recommend this one.

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For a retelling based on Turkish folklore, this is a weird smörgåsbord of vaguely Turkish, Greek, and Christian lore that I'm not sure mixes quite well. So sadly, this book disappointed for the most part, but this does not mean that it cannot be the perfect gothic book for you. Definitely check out the book description and decide for yourself if you want to give this one a try

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This book was exactly what I was hoping it would be - a great blend of fantasy and mythology! It's a dark book, but beautiful nonetheless.

At the heart of the story is Zerryn, a young woman whose quiet life in a village is disrupted when her best friend Çelik falls under the influence of Erlik Khan, the Lord of Death himself. As rumors swirl and Çelik's behavior becomes increasingly erratic, Zerryn embarks on a perilous journey to save him and her village from the clutches of darkness.

The protagonist, Zerryn, is a likeable main character that I could really get behind and root for! She faces some seemingly-impossible trials (ahh!), and her growth throughout the novel was well-developed and very relatable.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the visual descriptions of the underworld, as it really took me there as a reader and it was a captivating read from start to finish.

I will definitely recommend this book in the future!

** Thank you to the author, publishers and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review this book! The opinions of this review are mine alone.

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I LOVED this book! Such a unique twist on the romantic fantasy genre and backed by a protagonist you can't help but root for.

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*I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks for the free book!*

I really wanted to like "The Bride of Death", it was compared to "The Bear and the Nightingale" or "Uprooted", so feminism meets a specific fairy tale tradition. In the case of this book, the god of death Erlik Khan from Turkic mythology was chosen, haunting Zerryn as his bride and taking her to the underworld. I enjoyed the Anatolian setting and the change of mythology for starters but that was about it.

The rest of the novel was quite unconvincing. The world building made little sense, the characters lacked chemistry (in case of Zerryn & her boyfriend as well as Erik), all the other characters were just stock figures, Zerryn too was depicted as a bland, frigid country girl with hidden powers who then turns all horny for the evil dude (tons of red flags here). The enemies to lovers was unconvincing and by the end, the novel read like badly crafted and embarrassing smut fan fiction.

I was immensely disappointed by this one and also felt that the way the setting, cultural background and mythology were treated lacked depth and respect. It felt like reading the clandestine dream to have sex with the devil (a lot) after being mistreated and put through trials. Well...

2 stars max but rather 1.5

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When Zerryn's village is targeted by Erlik Khan, the Lord of Death, she will do anything to keep the people she loves safe. But will she lose herself in the process?

I really enjoyed this book! The blend of mythology and fantasy was great, and I love a morally grey male main character. The world-building was pretty well fleshed out and the side characters were interesting (I love Beyza!) I also really liked Erlik, and loced the glimpses of his vulnerability and softness every now and again; I felt this really helped to make him a dynamic, interesting, likeable character.

The author's prose is well-written, and the motivations/intentions of the characters are presented well. I do think the pacing could do with some work, as at times scenes were long and in-depth, whilst others (that were just as important for character/story development) were glossed over in a couple of paragraphs.

The story was fairly predictable, and there weren't any times where I was shocked or surprised at plot developments or character decisions. In the same vein, Zerryn was quite annoying. I understand her innocence and sweetness were a bit part of her character, but at times her naivety was irritating and off-putting. Whilst she did grow throughout the novel, I wanted to see more of her power struggle with Erlik in terms of their individual magics. I would also have liked to have seen more of a redemption arc for Zerryn at the end, instead of Erlik just welcoming her back.

Overall, it was a fun, easy read, and I would definitely recommend to anyone who likes enemies-to-lovers, mythology retellings, and dark, Gothic fantasy! Well worth the read!!

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In 'Bride of Death,' Zerryn embarks on a harrowing journey to save her possessed friend, Çelik, from the clutches of the Lord of Death, Erlik Khan. As rumors swirl and dark forces gather, Zerryn faces impossible choices and a desperate quest for power. With haunting prose and compelling characters, this tale of sacrifice and survival will keep readers enthralled until the last page. A must-read for fans of dark fantasy and mythological retellings of Persephone and Hades

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I am a fan of fariyas work and think she is becoming one of my favorite authors . Fans of one dark window will love this one .
Thank you for the eArc.

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So, this was...ok

This set out to achieve a story I could have set my teeth deep into and devoured, but it felt confused, I felt like the author didn't really know who the characters were, and so, for me, they felt out of reach.

There are several places where the central character, Zerryn, who I liked at first, had a strong core sense of morality and purpose, had her own magic, and was drawn to life and the sun, so I settled down to a Hades and Persephone inspired story, mixed in with Turkish inspirations and folklore. But this kept fading as she was put through the obligatory trials to win the hand of a man/god that she despised in order to save her village, and vanishes altogether towards the end, and here I need to add spoilers:

<spoiler>
Zerryn, at the end is filled with death's magic, her own obliterated, much like her village which sees no pity once the people see her changed appearance, claws, black eyes etc, and show her fear rather than mercy. So she takes her vengeance on them, all of her life magic and morals and original purpose gone, because of her desire for Erlik. So she just gives up on herself? The Persephone connection is lost, as was my hope for the story, I was looking forward to seeing how her life magic and Erlik's death magic could be combined, or their partnership formed, but no, she gave up, and she herself talked about Erlik as being fearsome, she knew the villagers would be afraid of her with her new appearance, but still she punished them for it, and she lost herself and me, as a reader, at the same time.

There was nothing in the romance for me to root for, besides Zerryn getting the upper hand or forcing Erlik to love her as she was, and he just didn't, he had to punish her and take her over, and I felt like the whole promise of the story up til then, which had still jumped around a lot, was left ruined. Likewise the man she went into death for, his change to being extremely paternalistic, misogynistic and domineering, happened right at the end, and it seemed forced, just to justify his fate, and Zerryn's final choice, really, I felt like that should have been done through Zerryn and Erlik's relationship, not just by force-feeding the reader into seeing Celik as an overbearing monster in a few sentences. </spoiler>

Anyway, I read the whole book in the hopes it was taking me on a Hades and Persephone journey, I was left with a mixed story of what felt to me like submission disguised as agency, and I didn't love it.

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This was an addicting gothic romance with deadly trials and rich folklore. The Hades & Persephone vibes had me hooked. Zerryn’s character growth from wanting to please those around her to reigning down vengeance was satisfying. The romance between her the cruel Lord of Death was filled with hate to love and yearning. Erlik is unapologetic in his cruelty but soft only for her. Overall, an entice read!

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This was definitely a really interesting book. The start was a bit slow and I possibly wouldn’t have persevered without a friend (who had already finished) encouraging me to. Once the pace increased I really enjoyed the story and the characters. I found my mind changing as the story went on. I thoroughly enjoyed all the mythic and lore in the world building. I would definitely read more from this author.

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SCREAMING. CRYING. THROWING UP! how is something so dark and spooky also so beautiful and telling! I am not usually a dark fiction person but the lore around this world is too good not to share.

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Thank you to NetGalley and publisher for the opportunity to read this novel. I really appreciated this novel from the perspective of someone who enjoys "obscure" (from a Western standpoint) folklore. Asia Minor is a deeply underrepresented region in both the fantasy and historical fiction genres in the English speaking world, and I'm always thrilled when I have the opportunity to read this type of setting. The author treated the region and its folklore with care, and that is something I care about.

Aside from this, the plot, pacing, and characters were well done. I was invested in the main character's story, and curious about her romantic interest. The author captures the atmosphere of folklore in her prose and choices. I think the comparisons between "Uprooted" and "The Bear and the Nightingale" are apt. I hope that this book manages to achieve a wider audience and bring interest to the history and folklore of Asia Minor!

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