Friday, January 6, 2017

Review: Mosaic by Sarah Fine


Mosaic by Sarah Fine
Book Three of the Reliquary series
Publisher: 47North
Publication Date: November 15, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***

Summary (from Goodreads):

Mattie Carver never thought she’d give up her small-town life to become one half of the best magic-smuggling duo in the business. Until recently, she didn’t even know such a business existed. But as an unusually strong reliquary—able to carry vast quantities of magic in her body, undetected—she’s been pulled into an underworld of organized crime and addictive enchantments. And although she’s determined to keep things professional, her partner, Asa Ward, is a temptation she finds increasingly hard to resist.

Even as their relationship reaches a tipping point, Mattie is wary; Asa already told her he hates cages—literal or otherwise. But when an international black-market magic exchange goes awry, Asa falls into the hands of his enemies. Now, with the man who refuses to be controlled under the command of a ruthless captor, Mattie must decide how far she’s willing to go to rescue him—assuming there’s anything left to save.

What I Liked:

Most of you who follow my blog already know much I adore Sarah Fine's books. This is the fourteenth book I've read by her (out of fourteen, if I've counted correctly). None of her books have gotten below three stars. I've definitely struggled with this series more than her other series (see my reviews of Reliquary and Splinter), but I can confidently say that this is probably the best book of the series. 

Mattie and Asa have been working together, doing freelance jobs in transporting magic, earning their way and keeping their freedom. But one transaction goes terribly wrong, and Asa is captured by dangerous men. But Mattie is going to have to work with an even more dangerous man, and an elusive woman, to get Asa back. She'll quickly find out just how much she wants to get him back, and how much she'll risk to do so.

Full disclosure: I knew a lot about this book before reading it. Meaning, I knew the ending (and it's cruel). I also knew that the author planned this series with a fourth book in mind. I know that she always intended to publish a fourth book in the series, and did not want to leave readers with the ending of this book (again, it's cruel). With all of that in mind, I think my opinion and rating of the book is extremely fair. I liked this book a lot, up until the last few pages, when the ending hit me in the face. I already knew about the ending, but I also knew that it wasn't supposed to stick (because there was supposed to be a fourth book). 

Mattie reaches her full potential as a strong, capable young woman. In the previous books in this series, I accused her of being weak and indecisive, and I didn't enjoy those traits of hers. But in this book, she is much more willful and determined. She is completely driven by her devotion to Asa, and will stop at nothing to get him back. Mattie evolves into a hardened yet passionate and confident person, even without Asa by her side.

I think one of the other reasons why I liked this book so much (besides Mattie's character growth) was the complete lack of Ben in this book. He's gone, and so is Mattie "former" life. There is not a single mention of Ben or Mattie's family, and I was fine with this. None of that was necessary in this book; Mattie had more pressing matters to attend.

I love the new characters that we get to know in this book! Mattie travels a lot, including heading to Russia, where she teams up with that super dangerous guy I mentioned. Spoiler alert - it's Volodya! And he is every bit as deadly, creepy, and certifiably insane as you are led to believe. He is also someone you might not expect. But he proves to be extremely useful in this story, and I felt for him. There is an equally dangerous and important character in this story - a woman - whom I also really liked and felt for. She helps Mattie a lot, and works with Mattie and Volodya. This was an interesting dynamic. I adored Volodya's "nephew", Daniil. Daniil is not related to Volodya at all, but he is highly trusted by Volodya. He's a Strikon but he's a decent guy.

Asa isn't as present with Mattie as he is in the other books, and yet, he consumes all of the pages. While they are separated a quarter of the way into book (when he is captured), he is still very present, in Mattie's thoughts and emotions. It is clear that he suffers a great deal in this book, but he loses none of his cunning and his wit and his ability to get out of sticky situations. The man always has a plan upon a plan.

The romance in this book was perfect. Yes, Mattie and Asa are separated for at least 50% of the book. But the first 25% of the book got really intense, between the two of them. The last 25% was a roller coaster, when they reunite (it's not quite easy at first). The last few scenes are sweet and steamy and really powerful. I liked the romance - it's unconventional in this book, because it exists so powerfully even though the characters are separated. The chemistry between Asa and Mattie is evident in the first 25% of the book, and throughout the rest of their interactions. 

I enjoyed the story as I was reading. I wasn't bored, and I wasn't too tense about things. There was no love triangle to be worried about, especially with the magnitude of Asa and Mattie's feelings for each other. I knew that somehow, Mattie would succeed and somehow, she and Asa would find a way. I enjoyed reading the book, and was completely hooked. It's like this book had a different feel to it, compared to the others? It was more adventurous and "fun", even though the stakes were ridiculously high and I should have been biting my nails.

The ending is my only complaint, and I'll talk about that in the next section.

What I Did Not Like:

To be fair, I went on a rampage when I read the ending. I heard about it before I read the entire book, and then I read the ending before I read the entire book. I was furious and heartbroken. But in the long run, I'm glad I knew about the ending beforehand. It's cruel and so unfair to readers, but at least I knew ahead of time (I personally prefer to know).

I didn't like the ending but I take comfort in knowing that the author wanted to publish four books in this series, and that there was going to be a book to follow this one that would finish Mattie and Asa's story and satisfy readers (according to the author). However, the fourth book isn't happening, and we're stuck with this cruel ending and our imaginations. I'm still upset and heartbroken over the lack of fourth book, more than I am about the ending. Because I know (from the author) that this isn't the ending the author wanted. This is why I'm not sinking my rating of this book too much - because the intentions are there. Yes, we're not going to get that fourth book. But at least I know that it wasn't intended to end this way.

Would I Recommend It:

This is actually a tough call. Given that this is the official last book in the series now, and it ends cruelly, I do not recommend the series. I do recommend the book if you've started the series - see the series through. But I don't think I'd recommend the series overall, because it's a difficult series to read (the first two books are), and it doesn't end well at all. Sadly, it wasn't supposed to end this way, but that's the ending we're stuck with. 

Rating:

4 stars. Like I've said, I liked this book a lot. I enjoyed it and had a lot of fun reading it... until the ending, which I knew of beforehand. The ending didn't surprise me because I already knew about it, but it will shock and hurt you, the first time you read/hear about it. I totally trust that Sarah Fine would have written a wonderful conclusion novel with a fantastic HEA, had she been given the chance. 


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

28 comments:

  1. I probably won't start this series because I know the ending would kill me... I need endings with closure and a hopefully somewhat happy outcome! Thanks for the warning! I do love Sarah Fine though. I need to pick up her other series and books. Great review!!

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    1. The ending is really, really sad, Emily. :/ But this book was so good, before the ending. Which leaves me with somewhat mixed feelings. I love Fine's books too! I'm looking forward to her new romance series, coming soon.

      Thank you, Emily!

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  2. Wow, that sucks that the ending was not to your liking and the author planned on rectifying that only to find out the 4th book was basically canceled. If I were an author I think I'd try to do a 4th book anyhow, maybe self-publish, if the publisher foiled plans of the 4th book. Especially with the crappy/cruel ending readers are left with. Wonderful review, Alyssa! :)

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    1. I think the publisher dropped the last one, which is awful. :/ I spoke with the author privately and she wasn't happy about there not being a fourth book as well. I wish she'd self-publish it, but maybe it's not in her power to do so. :(

      Thank you, Rachel!

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  3. I'm glad to see that you finally reviewed this book! We had chatted about it before. But I didn't know that there was going to be a fourth book! I really hope Sarah Fine will get the inspiration to write it someday. :)

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    1. Finally, hehe! I talked with the author privately and she confirmed that there was *supposed* to be a fourth book, but you know publishing. :/ She was really sad about it not happening. I wish she'd self-publish the last one, but it's possible that it wasn't written before it got canned.

      Ooo, I wish you the best in your future writing career, Alexandra! <3

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  4. Uh oh... endings that make you angry and sad... and knowing there won't be any more in the series would put me off, Alyssa! And I haven't started this series, so now, I don't think I will... Do you know why there won't be a fourth book? I always wonder what kind of politics behind the scenes makes that happen :(
    Great review!
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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    1. It's very off-putting! I don't recommend reading the series if you hadn't already started it. I think the publisher pulled the plug on the fourth one. I know for sure that the author wanted to have a fourth book published. :/ She was pretty upset about it not happening. Sales of the first/second book? I'm not sure. :(

      Thank you, Lexxie!

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  5. I haven't read this series so I don't think this would be one that I would start. I am glad you knew the cruel ending before that might have helped the shock a little bit, but still hard when you invested so much time in reading the series. I will need to check out Sarah Fine though! Great review!

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    1. Definitely not! I don't *really* recommend the series if you haven't read any of the books. I'd really only recommend reading this one if a person read Reliquary, or Reliquary and Splinter. Fine is a great writer but the ending of this book (and series) is not a HEA. :/ I recommend her YA books (Guards of the Shadowlands, Of Metal and Wishes, Scan/Burn), or her Servants of Fate series (adult romance)!

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  6. How horrible to see an author forced into an ending that will upset readers because another planned book was cut. I hate it when it happens to series I liked. They destroyed Angel with that rushed 5th season ending on tv. It just sucks when that happens.

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    1. It sucks! It's exactly like a TV show getting axed in between seasons, and you'll never get that new season. And you KNOW how TV shows end with some ridiculous cliffhanger. I wish authors would end each book in their series with a somewhat wrapped-up ending, because you never know what will happen to your contract. :/

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  7. I'm sorry the ending was so hard and no fourth book in store does not help. Thanks for letting me know as I've been eyeballing this series but may hold off now. Thanks, Alyssa :)

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    1. Or avoid all together! The ending is really, really sad. :(

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  8. Too bad about the ending :( I'm planning on picking up this series anyway because I enjoy Fine's writing (I've only read two of her novels so far).

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    1. I hope you like the series! Truly it's not a bad series, but the ending is so, so depressing.

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  9. Oh no! I'm not going to read these bc I know the other 2 books would have been to hard for me! I'm curious why she didn't make this ending solid if she knew this would be the new conclusion. Or why she can't release some sort of short extra ebook or something. Assuming it has to do with book rights. Anyway glad you liked this overall. But ugh for an unfinished series. Frustrating all around - for the author and reader.

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    1. You would have struggled with the first book and stopped there, I know that. That one was the "worst" of the series (though still not terrible). I really wish Fine would self-publish the fourth book! I would pay serious bank for it! So frustrating to be left with this ending. :/

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  10. I'm glad you liked this one better than the others in the series, but the ending definitely seems upsetting. That's good you knew beforehand. I suppose it lessens the blow a bit, but that's a bummer the author isn't getting the fourth book she really wanted/planned.

    -Lauren

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    1. I got spoilers from a friend! Which I did intentionally. I was mentally and emotionally prepared but it did take me a few more weeks than usual to be able to read this book (because I was so upset). I wish the author would make the fourth book available somehow!

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  11. I hate it when things end poorly. I haven't tried Sara Fine yet but I think I will start with another series when I do. Great review!

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    1. Try her Guards of the Shadowlands series (YA) or her Servants of Fate series (adult romance)! Both series are really, really good. :D Thank you!

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  12. I totally agree about knowing about cruel endings before hand. If I invest time into reading a book, I want to be at least satisfied with how it wraps up. I think I may be staying away from this book but I'm curious about her other books, especially since they're done so consistently well with you!

    Great review :)

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    1. Right?! Especially with adult romance - a HEA is always expected (almost always). But I think the author was taken by surprise by the publisher's decision not to publish the fourth book? I'm not sure. I highly recommend any of her books though, adult or YA. Especially her Guards of the Shadowlands or Servants of Fate series!

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  13. How horrible to have loved the first book and the last one was a complete bomb. What happened? Curious to know how you knew that that written ending wasn't the one that was supposed to be? Just wondering.. :) I also love that you don't mind spoilers and that you prefer to know. LOl! I sometimes read the endings first to make sure I would like the book. Ha! Thanks for your heartfelt honest review again!Looks like I won't start this series.

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    1. I actually reached out to the author after a friend "spoiled" the ending for me, months ago (I asked for spoilers). She told me that she had planned for four books but the fourth book wouldn't be published... I think the publisher pulled it, maybe because of sales. It's too bad.

      In terms of spoilers - my friend messaged me and was like, is there supposed to be another book after this one? Because the ending is AWFUL! And I was like, TELL ME! I want to know! That's how that went. :D I'm fine with that. I'd rather know ahead of time!

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  14. Lovely review Alyssa :D Yay for loving this book by this author too. <3 Yay for reading so many of her books too :D You are awesome. But ahhh! Evil ending? :( So sad. But glad you didn't hate the book because of it? lol. Fingers crossed there might be another book someday. <3

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    1. The ending was so cruel! The author wanted to add another book to the series but I'm assuming the publisher wasn't on board. Maybe she'll self-publish one! I'd pay $$$$, not gonna lie.

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