I absolutely adore reading - my love for books has had a huge impact on my life! I'm going to grad school to be a children's/YA librarian.
In Las Vegas, everyone hopes that Lady Luck will be on their side, but for Cat Sharp, luck has been rather elusive. Her soul was won by Eris, the Greek goddess of discord and ever since, Cat has been at her beck and call. She's longed for freedom, and when Cat learns that her soul is at stake in yet another poker game, she decides to take control. Eris tells her that if she can collect the poker chip that belongs to each of the four other gods who are playing the game, she might be able to win her freedom - for good. With the help of a handsome yet insanely irritating satyr, Cat attempts to outsmart the gods and change her fortune for good.
I absolutely loved this book. I've been pleasantly surprised by a lot of the ARCs I've received from Entangled Publishing since I started reviewing for them in October, but this one was by far my favorite. I will definitely be looking for more from Jamie Wyman in the future.
I expected this book to be much more centered around romance, because every single other title I've received from Entangled has been, and I'm not going to lie, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was not the case. Not that I have anything against romance, but I enjoyed that even though this book touched on romantic relationships, the main focus of the book was Cat's attempt to win back her soul. Romance is a side-plot, and not even a very major one, at that.
I loved Wyman's writing style. As I mentioned in my progress update, she was able to overcome my aversion to excessive profanity and actually make vulgarity work. Cat has a very foul mouth, but it suits her salty personality and rather than cheapening the quality of the novel, I felt that it actually helped to develop her character. Much of Wyman's writing goes from perfectly worded descriptions to sarcastic commentary. For example, when we first meet Eris, Wyman describes her appearance:
"The goddess was a study in angles. Her nose sliced through her hawk-like features, and she had sunken cheeks, skeletal fingers, and sharp elbows."
A few sentences later, we get Cat's thoughts on the subject:
"I'd think that a divine being would look a little more attractive - or at least eat a damn cheeseburger - but Eris liked to f*** with people's heads."
The sarcastic commentary mingled with what I feel to be a superior style of writing served to further develop Cat's personality and add a degree of flavor and humor to the description. The entire book is written in such a way and I felt that it made it more enjoyable to read.
Cat was such a great protagonist. Although she has very little control over her life since her soul is owned by a very authoritative goddess, from the very beginning, she comes off as a tough, confident woman, not a victim or weak damsel in distress who relies on men to help her. Although she definitely is not afraid to ask for help from either Marius, a satyr who is one of Eris's servants who Cat begrudgingly befriends, or her best friend Flynn, Cat is also extremely competent in her own right and she's not afraid to face the gods head on to fight to reclaim ownership of her soul.
I also came to love Marius. He's a fascinating character. He's selfish and arrogant, completely driven by objectifying women and at first I was afraid that he would turn into the stereotypical troubled bad boy who the main female character is able to change. This wasn't the case. Although we do learn that there is much more to Marius than meets the eye, the reader constantly questions his motives and if he's really on Cat's side. Cat herself is reluctant to trust him - when she does, he fails her trust, but when she decides to shut him out, he does something to surprise her that earns it back again. This cycle continues throughout the book and it constantly kept me wondering how things would turn out. There is no obvious ending with these two, though I initially thought there would be, and, again, this was a really welcome surprise. I also thought he was really funny, even when he was being a pig.
The plot is full of twists and turns, and I was constantly surprised by where things were going. There were many twists that I did not see coming - another element that I loved. Wyman doesn't info dump. We learn about characters' backgrounds and the world that they live in slowly, in bits and pieces, until finally we can see the whole picture. I found that the book was very difficult to put down and even though I have finals this week, I was constantly pulled away from studying to keep reading... probably not the best situation for me as a student, but, let's face it, I'd much prefer to be reading than studying!
I definitely recommend that you read this. I really hope that Wyman will write a sequel, because, although the story did wrap everything major up, there is definitely room for the story to continue and I'd love to find out what is going to happen to Cat in her new circumstances that she's in by the end of the story. I'll be looking for more by Wyman in the future, because this was definitely a treat to read. I definitely recommend that you go pick up a copy of your own!
Disclaimer: I received an advance review copy of this book from Entangled Publishing, but in no way did this influence my review.