The Bride of Death

You must sign in to see if this title is available for request. Sign In or Register Now
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

1
To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add kindle@netgalley.com as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
2
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 01 Mar 2024 | Archive Date 01 Mar 2024

Talking about this book? Use #thebrideofdeath #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


Description

In the vein of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted and Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale—this unforgettable adult debut follows the journey of a young woman who seeks to defeat Death himself and save her village from his torment.

As a young child, Zerryn grew up on tales of the Lord of Death, Erlik Khan, and his penchant for stealing wild girls. In her small village, she keeps to herself and tends to the temple gardens, spending her days with her best friend Çelik. But when Çelik begins to act strangely and removes himself to live on a crumbling estate atop Mount Ida, the rumors of him becoming possessed by a demon begin to swiftly arise. Each month that passes the demon within him grows stronger, his demands of the villagers growing oddly disjointed and nonsensical.

Her chances of saving him become all but impossible once Zerryn learns that it is no lesser demon that has a hold of him but Erlik Khan—a demon of untold power who lords over the dead. It isn’t long before word spreads that he is in search of a bride, and creatures of untold power come before him to rule by his side. Zerryn knows that she cannot take down Erlik without power and she cannot gain power without becoming his bride.

But becoming Erlik’s wife is nothing as simple as an offer for his hand. To become the queen of the Underworld, she must complete three impossible tasks or risk losing everything she holds dear.

In the vein of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted and Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale—this unforgettable adult debut follows the journey of a young woman who seeks to defeat Death himself and save...


Available Editions

EDITION Ebook
ISBN 9781738963140
PRICE

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Send to Kindle (EPUB)
Download (EPUB)

Average rating from 206 members


Featured Reviews

This is exactly what I wanted it to be. It was a well written and I loved how unique it was. And thank you for not glamorizing the Underworld even though I’m a sucker for those types lol this was really good!

Was this review helpful?

Brilliantly written book with the feel of being inside traditional folklore. This story takes place in Asia Minor and uses the mythology of that area to good effect. The characters are vibrant and deep and the plot itself is fraught with challenges as well as decisions that twist the heart as well as emotions. We are presented with a supposedly simple story of a girl who journeys into the underworld to free her betrothed and save her village by marrying it's king. But there is so much more to this story. The woman herself learning to rely on her own power instead of the men around her. The charm of the King of the dead himself. Her personal magic vs the magic of death. What will she choose and are those she's fighting for actually worth the price she is paying. This is a fantastically written book with a complex world based off mythology of the region. The author does some amazing things here and at the end you are torn and tattered but pleased in general. Great book give it a read. Thanks Netgalley and the Publishers for a first look at this book.

Was this review helpful?

If you liked The Bear and the Nightingale, you'll love this one, although it's a little more NSFW, but not terribly so.

Amazing book based on Turkish folklore. I absolutely love these books that blend folkloric tales with increasing Christianity and also try to humanise the traditional 'villians'. In this case it was the Lord of Death. It is a bit tropey, but it doesn't detract from a fantastic read.

There's good pacing, great characters, and a good plot. I would love to read more like this.

Was this review helpful?

"The Bride of Death" by F.M. Aden takes readers on a mystical and gripping journey into a world filled with legends, demons, and untold power. Set in a small village, the story revolves around a young girl named Zerryn, whose life takes a dramatic turn when her best friend, Çelik, becomes possessed by the Lord of Death himself, Erlik Khan. As the rumors of Çelik's possession and the growing influence of the demon spread, Zerryn realizes that she must confront Erlik Khan and save her friend from a fate worse than death. One of the book's strengths lies in its ability to immerse readers in a vividly depicted world. Aden masterfully weaves a tale of mythology and folklore, bringing to life the mystical realm of Erlik Khan and the challenges faced by Zerryn. The descriptions of the village, the crumbling estate atop Mount Ida, and the eerie presence of the demon within Çelik create a palpable sense of tension and suspense that keeps readers eagerly turning the pages. Moreover, the character development in "The Bride of Death" is commendable. Zerryn's transformation from a timid and reserved girl to a strong-willed protagonist is captivating to witness. Her determination to save her friend, coupled with her realization of the sacrifices she must make, adds depth and complexity to her character. The internal struggle she faces when presented with the daunting task of becoming Erlik Khan's bride showcases her resilience, making her a relatable and compelling heroine. Throughout the narrative, Aden skillfully maintains a steady pace, ensuring that readers remain engaged from start to finish. The plot takes unexpected twists and turns, keeping readers on edge and eager to discover the outcome of Zerryn's journey. The three impossible tasks she must complete to become Erlik's bride introduce a fascinating element of challenge, adding layers of suspense and intrigue to the story. "The Bride of Death" delves into themes of sacrifice, friendship, and the fight against darkness. Aden's prose is eloquent, painting vivid images and evoking a range of emotions within the reader. The fusion of fantasy, mythology, and elements of romance creates a unique reading experience that appeals to fans of multiple genres. In conclusion, "The Bride of Death" is a captivating novel that transports readers to a fantastical world where the line between good and evil blurs. F.M. Aden's imaginative storytelling, compelling characters, and skillful pacing make it a must-read for fans of fantasy and mythology. Prepare to be enthralled by Zerryn's journey as she confronts her fears, battles ancient forces, and discovers her inner strength.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you NetGalley for a free e-galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.

"The Bride of Death" by F.M. Aden is an entrancing adult debut that masterfully blends elements of historical fiction, fantasy, and romance. Drawing inspiration from the likes of Naomi Novik’s "Uprooted" and Katherine Arden’s "The Bear and the Nightingale," this novel transports readers into a richly imagined world where myth and reality intertwine. The story follows Zerryn, a young woman from a small village, as she embarks on a perilous journey to save her best friend Çelik and her village from the torment of the formidable Lord of Death, Erlik Khan.

Aden’s writing is evocative and lush, immersing the reader in a world steeped in folklore and magic. The character of Zerryn is beautifully crafted, embodying strength, determination, and vulnerability. Her evolution from a quiet girl tending to temple gardens to a brave woman facing the Lord of Death is compelling and inspires admiration.

The novel’s portrayal of Erlik Khan as a powerful and enigmatic figure adds a layer of intrigue and depth to the story. The dynamic between Zerryn and Erlik is complex and fascinating, evolving as Zerryn undertakes the three impossible tasks required to become the queen of the Underworld. This element of the narrative is particularly captivating, blending elements of traditional fairy tales with a fresh, unique perspective.

The setting, rich in mythological references and atmospheric details, is a standout aspect of the novel. Aden's skillful world-building transports the reader to a place where folklore and reality merge seamlessly, creating an immersive reading experience.

However, readers should note that the blend of genres and the novel’s intricate plot may not appeal to everyone. Those seeking a straightforward historical or fantasy narrative might find the complexity and depth of the mythological elements challenging.

Content warnings for themes of death, mythology, and the supernatural are appropriate. This novel will appeal most to readers who enjoy a mix of historical fiction, fantasy, and romance, particularly those who appreciate stories rooted in mythology and folklore.

In conclusion, "The Bride of Death" by F.M. Aden is a captivating and beautifully written novel that offers a unique blend of genres. Its rich storytelling, memorable characters, and enchanting world make it a standout debut, sure to enthrall fans of historical fantasy and mythological tales.

Was this review helpful?

Absolutely brilliant, I loved everything about this book! It is steeped in history and folklore from Asia Minor, and the mythology is so well utilized in it. The characters are very well developed and the plot itself is fascinating! The characters face so many obstacles and decisions, and this truly kept me on my toes. If you enjoyed The Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden, you will love this! It was so unique and just fantastic to read I wanted more.

Was this review helpful?

In The Bride of Death, our young heroine, Zerryn, grew up on tales of magic knowing that she carried within her. Of the Lord of Death, Erlik Khan, with a penchant for stealing young women and feasting upon their torn-apart bodies. So, she keeps her head down and tends to the temple gardens in the company of her closest friend, Çelik. Until one day, Çelik begins acting differently and departs to the castle upon the mountain. Zerryn offers to go, defeat the Lord of Death, and return with her friend, but the Lord of Death has three tasks she must undertake before she can leave.

I am going out here to say I loved this book. This book had been haunting me ever since I had come across it on Netgalley. I mulled on the requesting it but the premise of the novel sounded promising and I could not shake the hold it had on me. So, I inquired, not quite sure I would get it, but happy I did. The characters. The world-building. The storyline. All are uniquely crafted. The characters in this book are so well-developed and complex. Each one has a distinct personality and motivation, and I found myself becoming emotionally invested in their journeys. The author did a fantastic job of making them feel real and relatable. I know we should never like the villain but I could not help it. To be honest, I was rooting for him the moment he arrived on the scene.

Honestly, I did not care at all for Çelik. There was something about him that rubbed me the wrong way and his character at the end just cemented my dislike for him. And let's not forget that aunt. I wanted to tear her hair out. Sorry, not sorry.

I love it when the world-building is a fascinating aspect of the story. When uniquely done, it creates a world that can draw the reader in with the beauty and wonder built around the characters. Magic. Lore. Mythology. All of these were weaved into a single part of the world and I was there for it. This was a world where Christianity was starting to spread its spinny fingers across the continent removing old gods from those who still clung to the old way.

With that being said, I enjoyed this story. I loved the characters. The world-building. The storyline. I loved that I devoured this book quickly and it made me still think about the storyline and characters. Still made me dislike characters that I don't think the author intended for me to do so. LOL. Otherwise, I recommend this book when it has its release in March.


*Disclaimer: Thank you to the author, her publishers, and Netgalley for allowing me to read and review this book. The opinions of this review are mine and mine alone

Was this review helpful?

This was an absolutely great read! It was captivating from start to end and if you're a fan of fantasy and mythology, I highly recommend this book. The story follows Zerryn, a young girl who grew up hearing tales of the Lord of Death, Erlik Khan. When her best friend Çelik is possessed by Erlik, Zerryn must find a way to save him before it's too late.

The author does an excellent job of building the world of the story, with vivid descriptions of the village, the temple gardens, and the crumbling estate atop Mount Ida. The atmosphere is dark and eerie, perfectly setting the mood for this tale of demons and the Underworld.

Zerryn is a strong and determined protagonist, and readers will root for her as she faces impossible tasks and dangerous creatures in order to save her friend. Her growth throughout the novel is well-developed and believable, making her a relatable and likable character.

The plot is fast-paced and full of twists and turns, keeping readers engaged and guessing until the very end. Aden's writing is eloquent and descriptive, bringing the story to life and making it easy to visualize each scene. The inclusion of Turkish mythology adds a unique and interesting aspect to the story, making it stand out from other fantasy novels.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the novel is the character of Erlik Khan. He is a complex and fascinating villain, with a dark and mysterious past that is slowly revealed throughout the story. Zerryn's interactions with him are filled with tension and intrigue, making for some of the most gripping scenes in the book.

Was this review helpful?

This book was so messed up and creepy, and I loved it! The beginning starts almost like a fairy tale, starting when Zerryn is very young, which I always really enjoy in fantasy. My one complaint is that I would've liked just one chapter dealing with when Celik first started exhibiting signs of possession, just to give some background knowledge. It felt like the story jumped abruptly from Zerryn and Celik getting together, to him having been possessed for awhile. Other than that, though, this book was spectacular. I loved Zerryn and Erlik (especially their banter), as well as all of the side characters. The three trials were so interesting, and Aden clearly writes quest-type plotlines really well. I'll definitely read anything Aden writes from now on; The Bride of Death really holds its own next to all of the recent popular romantasies.

Was this review helpful?

"The Bride of Death" is an exquisite tale that combines elements of fantasy, romance, and historical fiction. The beginning of the story strongly resembles "The Bear and the Nightingale" by Katherine Arden, setting a captivating and atmospheric tone. The characters in the book experience profound grief, adding depth and emotional intensity to the narrative.

The story feels like a blend of "The Bear and the Nightingale" and "Kingdom of the Wicked," creating a unique and compelling world for readers to explore. The protagonist, Zerryn, finds herself torn between two captivating characters, Çelik and Erlik, and their complex dynamics keep the reader engaged and invested.

The romantic relationship between Zerryn and Erlik is particularly captivating, and the reader eagerly hopes for a happy ending for them. The heavy focus on Zerryn's journey to save herself adds a powerful feminist element to the story. It highlights the strength and resilience of women, who often have to rely on themselves in a world that undermines their abilities.

Overall, "The Bride of Death" is a fantastical and romantic read, with dark and heartbreaking moments that are balanced by charm and beauty. It is a book that will leave a lasting impression on readers, immersing them in a world of magic and love.

Was this review helpful?

SImply stunning.

The Bride of Death follows a young girl, Zerryn, from childhood to adulthood, centring around her encounter with The Lord of Death at a very young age and how this affects her as she grows up.

She’s heard tales of The Lord (Erlik) and the dark creatures at his mercy, but when her closest friend is in danger at his hands, she has no choice but to face death head on. Entering the underworld to take Erlik down, she discovers something about herself that she absolutely was not expecting.

In all honesty, I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into with this book having never read any books within this genre before. I usually read rom-com type books so this was a step into the unknown.

Had I known what was in for, I’d have hurtled into the unknown a lot sooner!

This book was beautiful. Dark, but beautiful. Aden’s written descriptions of the underworld are visually captivating and the emotional connections you’re able to make with the characters as a result of her writing style are incredible.

I was so torn because I couldn’t put this book down as I needed to keep reading, but I also didn’t want it to end so had to make myself slow down! Exactly the reaction a great book should generate.

I would (and already have) recommend this book without hesitation.

Thank you for the read.

Was this review helpful?

This was a book that I knew nothing about. The title was intriguing and the short blurb I read about it seemed interesting, so I thought I would give it a shot. I'm SO glad I did!

The novels feels like a retelling of a folktale, with the princess at the center rather than the prince. It felt warmly familiar in many ways, though it more often than not surprised me.

There were many things that I loved about the novel: it's unique vision, it's delightful characters and friendships, the sense of adventure even in the darkest times, the description of the underworld and its denizens, and especially the relationships between the main characters.

The characters are beautifully written and I keep wanting to know what will happen next. I was strangely invested in not only Zerryn and Erlik, who are the two main characters, but I was particularly fond of the secondary characters of Yuxa, Minay, and Beyza as well.

In fact, I found myself so invested in them that I often found myself turning each page with a small sense of dread, expecting something horrible to happen to one of them. I found myself wishing for certain things to happen and for the story to go a certain way. It's not often that I find myself wishing for more predictability in a book!

There was very little that I disliked about the book. I admit that I had trouble with some of the non-English words in the first couple of chapters, describing the various spirits that haunt the forest near the heroine's home, but luckily the book includes a glossary at the back.

There were also a couple of times when starting a new chapter (particularity the first few chapters), I had the feeling that I'd missed something. The author used early chapter breaks to skip ahead in time, focusing on what we next needed to know, rather than a whole drawn out telling of a life lived.

At first I wasn't thrilled with it, but once we got into the thick of things I more fully understood the author's creative choice; these “missing parts” weren't necessary and would have slowed down the narrative. Although it was a bit jarring at first, I'm really glad I just “went with it” and kept going.

The story, without giving too much away, revolves around Zerryn, a common village girl in Asia Minor who has an affinity for taking care of the plants and animals around her, a gift of sorts. Çelik is the childhood friend that she loves who becomes possessed by the devin in the form of the lord of the dead and of the underworld, Erlik Khan.

To save Çelik and rid her village from the misery and famine that Erlik Khan has brought them, Zerryn must go on a quest into the land of the dead! She descends into the underworld and must withstand three trials in order to claim the right to marry Erlik Khan, and become the queen of the underworld, whereby she would then have the power to destroy him and free Çelik and her village. At least... that was the plan.

Needless to say it all goes horribly pear shaped and many truths are revealed along the way. By the end of the novel you're not entirely sure who you should be cheering for, but you will undoubtedly have your favourites.

It's a wonderful, wild ride! This novel was worth every minute that I devoted to it and my only regret is that it ended too soon.

This is not a Young Adult novel. I believe it was written with an adult audience in mind. That said, there are very few sexual situations (nothing graphic), and there is no swearing or explicit violence. I believe the story is suitable for mature readers even if they are teens. It makes the reader ask themselves a lot of “big” questions, and there are some interesting philosophical dilemmas that add an extra layer to the storytelling. It is a novel that will stay with you.

Was this review helpful?

This book was so good!

The writing was great. It was the perfect mix of lyrical and dark and it fit the overall tone of the book very well. I also enjoyed the folklore elements that were present throughout the story.

I was immediately hooked by the premise of a mortal girl competing in trials to become the bride of Death in order to save the people she loves. The trials were well described and I liked how they were utilized to progress not only the plot but the character relationships as well.

I really liked our main character, Zerryn. She was strong but flawed and I enjoyed seeing her character arc throughout the story. As for the main relationship, there was the perfect amount of tension, banter, and barriers to where I truly did not know where it would end up. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and look forward to whatever F.M. Aden writes in the future!

Was this review helpful?

This was a dark and sensual standalone tale steeped in Turkic mythology. It's not mythology I'm overly familiar with, so it felt like a very fresh and unique tale, and I had a lot of fun researching the myths. While Erlik is the main focus of the story, we also get appearances from: Karaoğlanlar and Karakızlar, Susulu, Basty, Ubir, Korbolko, Yuxa, Irshi, Uylak, with many more cameos from folklore! Not to mention the incorporation of the Turkish language.

SUMMARY:
When Zerryn's best friend Çelik becomes possessed by Erlik Khan, the lord of the underworld, Zerryn sets out to do the impossible: defeat Death himself. She journeys to the underworld and enters a competition to become Erlik's bride, and in order to win she must win in three impossible trials. For the only way to take down Erlik is with the power he grants.

THOUGHTS:
I enjoyed this book far more than I thought I would. The first part of the story seemed a little hastily written. It spanned the early years of Zerryn's life in order to establish the relationship with Çelik and get her to the underworld. It felt more like an outline of a plot at this point, and I was worried the rest of the book would read the same way. But once we get to part 2, we get a lot more substance to the story. From here on out I really loved the story.

My only other complaint is the lack of spicy scenes. There were so many delicious scenes of them just kissing, and they were wonderful. But it culminated to nothing more. We get hints of them doing the deed but no explicit detail. I felt a little cockblocked honestly. But I get it if the author didn't want to venture into full smut territory.

I love a slow-burn, enemies to lovers romance, and I love an intimate relationship with Death. This was a perfect rendition of that. I loved that Zerryn loved that he had four arms because who wouldn't love a sexy eldritch man with four arms. I loved how their relationship developed, with Zerryn starting out as a symbol for good and then devolving into darkness, and Erlik showing the opposite. They were truly suited for each other.

I really liked how Zerryn befriended the other women participating in the trials, and mostly every other creature of myth she encountered. I love seeing women helping each other instead of tearing each other apart over a man. We love a sapphic relationship with a best vampire friend.

Was this review helpful?

Let 2024 be the year we find men who see our wickedness and love us all the more for it!

“The Bride of Death” breathes life into familiar folktales as a girl caught between the land of the living and the underworld tries to save her love from the clutches of Death himself undergoing a series of trials to win his hand but in doing so she finds that maybe home is within the darkness below.

Ugh I loved every moment of this book!

The characterization was flawless and I adored each and every soul we meet in their own fun and cruel way. The overall arc and character growth amongst the main cast was so much fun to dive into and explore. Zerryn was a misunderstood girl who is trying to do her absolute best and each step she takes brings her closer to unlocking her truest self and becoming a strong woman in her own right and I loved every minute.

The plot is fun with a typical formula of a fantasy like competition backdrop however there were a few moments where I was surprised we didn’t lean into familiar tropes and it was refreshing to see those changes especially amongst the competitors. This book while heavy and fantastic in its romance can also stand tall with how it presents female companionship and I really enjoyed this those interactions played out.

When they mention Novik and Arden they aren’t kidding this book stands up against their familiar and wonderful titles and I look forward to devouring everything this author creates!

**special thanks to the publishers and netgalley for providing an arc in exchange for a fair and honest review**

Was this review helpful?

Wow. Okay. This book was weird but in the best way. Gothic and atmospheric. Full of Turkic mythology and gripping writing and characters that will keep you locked in til the last page. I love the death and maiden trope and three deadly tasks. This is the perfect stand alone fantasy when you need a good fantasy but don't want to commit to a series

Was this review helpful?

When it comes to crafting the intricacies of a relationship between two complex individuals with thought and mastery, Aden is in a class of her own. I’m so looking forward to see what else does the author has in store for us this year.

Was this review helpful?

A young woman ventures to the Underworld to save her friends and family by undertaking three tasks in order to win the hand of the Lord of Death.
An absorbing tale of myth and folklore. Yes this book is in the same vein as some others out there but it very much has its own identity. The story flows and captivates.
The relationship didn’t overpower the storytelling until much later in the book- and I preferred those first parts to be honest.
Yes you could the plot is tropey but it is done so well!

Was this review helpful?

What an absolutely breathtaking novel! I could not put it down! I binged it in a day and a half and I have no regrets! I feel like the author captivated me from the beginning! A must read and a must have physical copy!

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoyed this book. It did remind a bit of The Bear and The Nightingale. I love stories that take the local folklore and make a story that lives in your mind forever with it. I find other cultures mythology or folklore so interesting. This book will be a best seller in my opinion. Look forward to so much more by this brilliant author.

Was this review helpful?

Oh my god this book was incredible. I loved it and I couldn’t put it down. When I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it. You can tell 100% how much love and effort was put into writing this.

The storyline had me very interested and I loved the art work on the front cover too, that also drew me in. But I never thought I would love the characters as much as I did.

Zerryn & Erliks characters were written to perfection. I loved the development that went into their story. I didn’t think I would love Bezya but she won me over easily. For one heart stopping moment I didn’t think I would get the ending I wanted but in the end I did and it easily made this book my favourite that I’ve read so far this year.

I recently read A court of thorns & roses and I have to say I think this was better.

Thank you so much for letting me read this book. I truly loved it. I really really hope there are more to come. I’d love to hear what happens next for my favourite characters.

Was this review helpful?

I was hooked from the cover and thought the book worked with the story being told. I enjoyed how they used Death in the adventure and that it uses the historical elements in a unique way that worked. It had a great fairy tale element to it and I was glad I got to read this. I thought the three tasks worked overall and I was invested in what was going on.

Was this review helpful?

*thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Brilliant!This is probably the greatest and my favourite book of all time!
I devoured this.Infinite stars.

Was this review helpful?

This book is one of the best of Netgalley I read. This book has a lot of legends, myths, and folklore. It was so magical right from the start. a girl living in a small cottage near the first. the village used to call her "beautiful but strange". She is the type of girl who spends most of her time in her head. Her mother died when she was a babe and her nanny Derya brought her up. She died also when Zerryn was a little older and then she was sent to live with her grandmother from her mother's side. Zerryn is just amazing. my heart goes out to her on so many occasions.

MY RATING
Overall: ★★★★★| 5 Stars
Plot: ★★★★★ | 5 Stars
Characters: ★★★★★| 5 Stars
Ending: ★★★★★| 5 Stars 😭
Fun: ★| 1 Star
Spice Level: No 🌶| 0/5
Bookcover:★★★★★| 5 Stars

Was this review helpful?

"Dance, little lamb," they whispered. "The black wolf awaits."

"Do not hide from your fear, child," Archura said. "Accept it and then cast it away.
Monsters are drawn to things that bleed."

"You are weak, my little lamb," he said.
"And so painfully naive. It makes me want to shelter you from the harsh world."

This book is so surprisingly good!!! Perfect for fans of Cruel Beauty comes a dark romantic fantasy book with Turks folklore and culture before the Byzantine came to conquer all. Zerryn is a young girl with eyes of different colours and everyone says she has been marked by the Devil himself, the Lord of Death, Erlik. Only when her childhood sweetheart and her entire village is threatened, she will have to go straight to the underworld to try and win the Lord of Death’s hand in marriage and become his wife in order to protect them. In a game of strength and guilt and power and magic and immortality, where the villain turns love interest we have a beautify main character with a power she does not now how to wield and a dark side that only the dark Lord can help her master. This book was amazing and it’s the definition of enemies to lovers and what happens when the immortal, bad villain gets the girl of his dreams, the one he would be ready to burn down the above world for. Such a great story and one that had me hooked from the very first pages. So painfully beautiful. A book where the line between good and evil seems to be blurred. And so beautifully so!!! And the ending … twisted happy ever after worth every single page of attention !!!

“I cannot break you, for I want you, and I cannot want you, for you shall break me."

“His head bent, and her palm lay on his ravaged cheek. Her sinner and supplicant. Her terror and madness. Her beautiful monster.”

"I would see worlds burn for you. I would see empires topple to be here with you for the rest of eternity."

"Look at me, Zerryn, my sweet poison, my wretched beloved. Look at me."

Was this review helpful?

This review was made possible via an ARC through NetGalley

The Bride of Death by F. M. Aden is a historical romantasy based in Turkic folklore, particularly the story of Erlik Khan, the lord of the Underworld.

Zerryn is a young woman living in a village, her eye blessed by Erlik Khan, when her childhood friend is taken by the lord of the Underworld. She volunteers to save not only her friend but also her village and winds up competing with four other women to be Erlik’s wife and queen.

There's a lot of references to the Mediterranean and the folklore of the area, making for rich, but grounded worldbuilding that is both familiar and new if you don't have a lot of experience with Turkic stories. Erlik Khan has four eyes and arms, creating a human with monstrous qualities for the main love interest. The spice level is at a medium, I think, with more focus on tension than on depicting sexual content.

I would recommend this to readers looking for an adult historical fantasy based in the Mediterranean or readers looking for a monstrous love interest.

Was this review helpful?

This book was magical, twisted, and beautiful. The writing is so so good with many phrases that keep going through my head. The romance is an unexpected delight that had me almost in tears multiple times.

I’m a huge Bear and the Nightingale fan, and this author and book gave me really similar feelings. The folklore, the moral dilemmas, the trials. I loved every second.

Was this review helpful?

Absolutely obsessed with this book. The combination of integration of unique folklore with the “death as the love interest trope” was seriously top tier. This author executed this trope flawlessly unlike a lot of other authors in this genre. I predict this will go viral.

Was this review helpful?

I lost my goddamn mind reading this book.

• a village girl makes the god of death obsessed with her just by breathing
• she has to undergo magic trials to win his hand (so she can destroy him, duh)
• torn between good girl shenanigans and dark queen iconique behaviour

This epic, beautiful, dark AF book is a total sweeps-you-into-a-dark-fairytale indulgent read. It's like Pan's Labyrinth meets Phantom of the Opera meets Hades x Persephone. It was filled with lush prose, interesting side characters, and a visually stunning world that's both decaying and explosive with colourful emotions.

Now THIS is how you write enemies to lovers. I want to feel the hatred twisting with desire and refusing to let go even after they fall madly, horribly, sickeningly in love, and obsessed with each other.

Fave bonus loser-in-love Erlik quotes: "Desire is fleeting, and it wanes like the moon," Erlik said. "You are not a moment's thought. You are all my thoughts."

"You are not nothing," he whispered. "It is I who come to you crawling, a rabid dog hungry for your attention. An unworthy peasant grabbing at your hem. It is you who refuses me always. You who remain unswayed by my power and beauty and might. You who insults and soothes me."

"Look at me, Zerryn, my sweet poison, my wretched beloved. Look at me."

AND I'M SUPPOSED TO THINK HE'S THE VILLAIN? Sure. He's my husband too now, please share, Zerryn. Or we can throuple. I love you, dark queen.

Was this review helpful?

This will go viral!! Tik tok will go crazy over this book. So unique. Crafted folklore tale. 5stars

Was this review helpful?

This is for the romance girlies who grew up loving Jerath the Goblin king. I'm talking full dark David Bowie, over the top masquerade ball, the brutal, the fantastical, the villain that you want to love but just can't stand behind. YES.

This gave dark and gothic vibes and is perfect for fans of Belladonna. I've heard comparisons being made to The Bear and the Nightingale, and it's got a similar vibe, but this is far more heavily based on the romance between the two main characters. (Which is what I craved while reading The Bear and the Nightingale so I personally approve.)

What I LOVED about this book is the execution of the enemies to lovers trope. It is truly enemies to lovers! As well as the depth of the male main characters dark soul. He is dark, and possibly unredeemable, and this created a delicious tension throughout the whole book. I sort of hated him at times, but still found myself wanting to love him. This is the kind of dark romance I love. I also loved the glimpse into a different mythology with Erlik Khan and Turkish folklore.

I did have some issue with the ending of the book, based on personal preference of how I wanted the story to conclude, and the pacing, but overall I loved it.
4.5 STARS but rounding up based on the fact that I have been craving a book like this for a while.
1.5 SPICE (the vibe is there but nothing super explicit, but it's sort of a monster romance he has a lot of extremities and mouths so...)

Was this review helpful?

Many thanks to the publisher for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review, so here we go 🫶🏻!

Rating: 4.75/5⭐️

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book but I loved it! This is a Hades x Persephone retelling with a twist of fairytale and folklore. We follow Zerryn through her childhood of being death-touched and her growing into a brave young woman whom the fate of her village falls upon her defeating the darkness. There is a lot on the table: her village and all she knows, her goal of saving her childhood friend (and the person she loves), her battling the light and darkness within herself and figuring out what she wants.

I confess I read this in one go, it’s a quick and enjoyable read - specially for fans of dark gothic romance. Zerryn and Elrik relationship is toxic and intense and they are each other strength and doom/weakness. The only reason I could not give it 5⭐️ was due to how Elrik steals from her something without her permission and I can’t understand how she seemed to have easily forgiven him for it. He could have tried harder to explain why that particular thing was not sustainable in the Underworld and not simply remove it by force - I thought it was barbaric. In fact, maybe that would have been an advantage for when she holds his full power in the mortal realm.

There is also this competition storyline that I loved and I think this author really plotted it well - you can meet all relevant characters in dept throughout the trials and they’re clever and cunning and really interesting to follow as part of the big plot-line.

Was this review helpful?

I recently had the pleasure of delving into this book, and I am beyond impressed with the mesmerizing world that the author has crafted. From start to finish, the intricate plot weaves a tapestry of suspense, emotion, and unexpected twists that kept me eagerly turning the pages.

One of the standout features of this book is undoubtedly its characters. Each one is meticulously developed, breathing life into the narrative with their unique personalities, motivations, and flaws. The protagonists are not just names on paper; they are relatable, complex individuals with whom readers can form a genuine connection. The antagonist, too, is not a mere foil but a multi-dimensional force that adds depth to the story. The author's ability to create such well-rounded characters is a testament to their storytelling prowess.

The plot unfolds seamlessly, drawing the reader into a richly layered narrative that expertly balances tension, drama, and moments of poignant reflection. The pacing is impeccable, maintaining a perfect rhythm that keeps the reader engaged without sacrificing the depth of the story. The author skillfully navigates through various plot arcs, interweaving them with finesse to create a cohesive and satisfying whole.

What sets this book apart is its ability to tackle profound themes while maintaining an accessible and engaging narrative. The book seamlessly combines suspense and emotional depth, making it a truly immersive experience. The author's prose is both elegant and evocative, painting vivid imagery that lingers in the reader's mind long after the final page is turned.

As I reached the conclusion, I found myself yearning for more from this talented author. Their ability to craft a gripping plot and bring characters to life is truly commendable. I eagerly anticipate future works and would wholeheartedly recommend this book to any reader who appreciates a masterfully told tale. If you're searching for a book that seamlessly blends captivating characters with a compelling plot, this is a shining example. I can't wait to explore more literary worlds crafted by this exceptional storyteller.

Was this review helpful?

This book was right up my alley and I enjoyed every single second of it. This book wasn’t made for people who love spicy romantasy books. This book was made for those who want a sweet demon to whisper sweet words in their ears in a fantasy world.

The beginning of this book made it a little difficult to grasp the concept until I understood exactly what F.M. Arden was doing. You are guided through glimpses of MFC’s, Zerryn, life before our story begins. The first few chapters of this book gives you just enough context to understand her story and her life before we dive into the main plot.

Speaking of plot, oh my god… the twists and turns, the trials to be won, the fights to be had. The plot is so beautiful and is clearly written for those who enjoy the concept of high fantasy. Yes, if prefer more romance in your story than fantasy, you may not enjoy this book. This book weaves a whimsical tale of a fantasy world and romance together and leaves out the spice. The book doesn’t need it, the plot doesn’t revolve around it, and I believe that makes it a better book.

The characters are deep, emotional, and will make you feel everything. The MMC and his words… good god, I could drool over his words alone for days. Zerryn’s character development is perfect for anyone looking for a strong female lead who finds power in herself. Even the side characters introduced along the way had me falling in love with their charm, sass, and cunning whit.

Overall, this book just did it for me. It’s everything I enjoy in a book, the hint of romance with a dash of high fantasy that creates a beautiful story. I will be recommending this book to all my friends who enjoy this style of story just like I do.

Was this review helpful?

The Bride of Death by F.M. Aden is an enchanting adult debut that beautifully blend's fantasy, historical fiction, and romance.
In this captivating read, the author masterfully weaves a narrative that is both engaging and thought-provoking. Through a blend of richly developed characters and a meticulously crafted plot. I loved the characters and the world-building, the storyline was spectacular.
The author's ability to evoke emotion and create a vivid, immersive world is truly remarkable, making this book a must-read for anyone looking for an exceptional literary experience.

Thank You NetGalley and Northern Light Press for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this amazing eARC!

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoyed this book. It had a very interesting premise and followed it through with such depth. The characters and the world they are inhabit are written with such richness. The mythology is richly described, a delight.

Was this review helpful?

I absolutely adored this book. It was so rich in folklore and has such a beautiful old lit vibe. The romance was so deeply felt. The heartache, the longing, the pain… my god I feel like it’s crawled under my skin.

F.M. Aden does a phenomenal job finding a knife edge balance between good and evil, love and hate & beauty and morbidity to spin a truly enrapturing tale.

There is beauty in darkness.

Was this review helpful?

Thankyou NetGalley, Northern Light Press and the Author for this wonderful ARC!!😍 Review to come soon on 22 Feb 2024.

Was this review helpful?

Thanks to NetGalley for my ARC!

I love how the stage was set. The main character is definitely greatly relatable. I’d do anything for my childhood friend if I loved him that way too. Erlik’s character made my heart ache for him, honestly. He felt like he didn’t know what it was to love, but all I could think of the entire book was of how much he loved Zerryn. I love how the entire book unfolded.

After reading this book, I need to find myself an Erlik because damn. I want someone THAT devoted to me.

Was this review helpful?

WOW. I loved this book! I did not have any expectations going in and I will be honest, I was a bit skeptical I would enjoy it. The gothic romance "falling in love with Death" trope usually isn't for me but maybe I just hadn't read the right book?! Although there wasn't much world building, I find myself okay with that because the majority of the book takes place in the Underworld - which, at least for me, doesn't take much to imagine on my own. The rest of the book takes place in small towns and barren places across the world that generally are familiar to readers already.

I loved weird little Zerryn, I loved her weird maid that took care of her as a child, I loved how protective her father was and how accepting her grandmother was in her life. I also really appreciated the way the author wrote Zerryn's perspective of the world. Because she was an odd and different child, she saw the world through a different lens (or should I say "eye" ;P) and was more likely than not accepting and willing to do anything for those around her. In the end, she ends up falling in love with Death (HELLO I ALSO FELL IN LOVE WITH HIM, I GET IT GIRL) and although she literally DIED and went to the underworld to do the bidding of the petty humans above she gets scolded and burned by them all because she returns the Bride of Death and looks different. But boy does she get her revenge!!!!

I felt like my emotions and feelings were right there alongside Zeryyn the entire time and I truly had so much fun reading this book.

Was this review helpful?

5 ⭐

A heartfelt thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for selecting me as an ARC reader, and while I received this copy for review, my thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

I LOVED it (this is the first time I've loved an ARC like this)!

"The Bride of Death" by F.M. Aden reads like a romantically dark fairytale, a beautiful middle ground between Winter and Spring. I couldn't put it down – the pacing and storytelling were spot-on, I finished it in a day. I enjoyed how the story embraced folklore, and its most stunning take on a very popular trope, that I've ever read (I don't want to spoil anything). I also enjoyed that I was so engaged in the characters' inner struggles in the second half of the novel (I was legit STRESSING), which truly speaks to F.M. Aden's ability as a writer to immerse readers so deeply in the narrative

I can't praise it enough, I found this to be such a beautiful work.

Was this review helpful?

Definitely giving this book a solid 5 stars!

There are so many good things to say about this book, but let me highlight a few:

1) THE PLOT! This book's plot is incredibly rich. The romance! The thrill! I got totally immersed in the narration. 🥹

2) The writing style is straightforward and easy to understand. Anyone can enjoy each moment effortlessly and get right into the feels.

3) The world-building is outstanding. The detailed descriptions are impressive.

4) Every character is unique, with interesting aspects that make us wonder what they'll do in each arc!

Minus points?

I forgot long ago what the minus of this book, really

Was this review helpful?

This is a very well written and captivating book. It was absolutely a wonderful read! I can absolutely see what others are saying about it in relation to The Bear and the Nightingale so if you liked that book you will definitely enjoy this one.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: