Friday, September 2, 2016

Fantastical & Broken Dove (Fantasyland #3 & #4) by Kristen Ashley ~ Double Review

Fantastical (Fantasyland, #3)Source: Purchased.

Fantastical (Fantasyland #3) by Kristen Ashley

Cora Goode has woken up in a fairytale world where she can understand what birds are saying to her, men ride horses and have fluffy feathers in their hats and furniture zigs, zags and whirls in miracles of construction.

The problem is, she thinks she’s in a dream but she’s actually taken the place of the parallel universe Cora and without realizing it, our Cora does something that starts a centuries old curse that will sweep the land if she gets captured by the evil Minerva.

At this point, her dream world becomes a nightmare.

Luckily, hot guy, fantasyland Noctorno is there to save her from the clutches of the grotesque vickrants sent by Minerva to capture her. Unfortunately, hot guy, fantasyland Noctorno doesn’t like the Cora of his world all that much (to say the least) and he thinks our Cora is her. And no matter what our Cora says or does to try to convince him, he won’t be convinced.

But Cora needs Tor to keep her safe and guide her through this fantastical world as she hopes one day to wake up in her not-so-great apartment in her not-so-great life in her world. The problem is, the more time she spends with the gorgeous warrior Tor, the faster she falls in love with him.


With The Golden Dynasty as my favorite book in the Fantasyland series, Fantastical comes in as a close second. Not close where I'm uncertain which is my favorite, but close enough that they're both VERY darn good and I adore them.

Fantastical is the story of Tor and Cora. Tor's a guy in love who's been Cora's other world twin. And Cora's a woman who has woken up in a strange and beautiful world...but it shifts and becomes dangerous fast. The plot kicked off pretty quick with this one, and I liked that. There was of course still the customary KA descriptions of everything to paint the world in all its wonder, but it was mixed in well with, you know, and evil witch messing stuff up.

The tension between Tor and Cora is off the charts for the first chunk of the novel. Tor's wary, thanks to Cora's twin in the fantasy world, and Cora's wary because of Tor's attitude. But they're so clearly meant for each other, so they inch their way through it and to each other. Honestly, their transition between being barely kind of civil to one another in the beginning to being one of the best couples ever was lovely. I enjoyed them together immensely. And once they got together, they had still had other crap to deal with---but they did it together and it was cute and have I mentioned that I adore the romance in this book? Because I really, really do.

Though this isn't a short book, it was so easy to fly through and written so well. From the romance to the characters to the world and the plot, KA was on point throughout this entire novel.

Overall, Fantastical is a romantic and magical third installment to the Fantasyland series. Definitely worth rushing into once you finish The Golden Dynasty!

5 stars - A fantastically romantic third installment in the Fantasyland series!


Broken Dove (Fantasyland, #4)Source: Purchased.

Broken Dove (Fantasyland #4) by Kristen Ashley

Far too young, Apollo Ulfr lost Ilsa, his wife, the love of his life and the mother of his two children. The grief of her loss does not settle in his soul, it solders to it. But when he discovers there is a parallel universe where his wife may have a twin, he feels there's hope and sets about bringing her to his world so he can have her back.

But Ilsa Ulfr of our world is married to the parallel universe's twin, Pol, who is not a good man. Not in any way. She's on the run from him and the last thing she wants is to be transported to a fantastical world and be forced to take his side as his wife, even if he is not Pol. And Apollo finds the broken, bitter Ilsa nothing like his beloved and he further wants nothing to do with her.

But darkness is looming and evil is amassing. Apollo must protect his land and keep his family safe, including the new Ilsa.


I try and I try to put this series in order from my most favorite to my least, and this book is usually where I become uncertain. I know Wildest Dreams was my least favorite. I also know that The Golden Dynasty will always be my number one. And Midnight Soul has a solid place in fourth. But this book and Fantastical create a muddy middle that I flip-flop on constantly. At this point in time, though, I think I'll put Broken Dove in the third spot. That said, this entire series is solidly fantastic so it's not like there's a significant range of how good these books are---a good portion of my rankings kind of fall into personal preference (though I do think The Golden Dynasty is the strongest novel of the bunch).

But enough of that. I should be focusing on Broken Dove. The fun thing about this one is that instead of magical happenstance bringing the woman into the fantasy world and she has no idea what's going on, Apollo specifically had a witch looking for Ilsa (who ends up being called Maddie in the book, so I'm going to call her that for the rest of the review). When she was found, he crossed worlds to help her and then brought her back with him.

Another interesting thing about Broken Dove is how it explores the parallel worlds concept a little more in depth. Maddie replacing a dead wife---or that was the intent at first, but then she makes her own place in Apollo's world. Apollo's two children, who had existed in the real world with Maddie but had sadly found different fates. I am so glad KA incorporated these elements, as they hadn't been touched on all that much in the other books.

Yet ANOTHER great thing about this novel was that there was a fun inclusion of past characters. This story is Apollo and Maddie's, but Finnie and Cora and Circe and their men have roles too, and I loved seeing them. They band together for a big reason, and watching them work together was absolutely badass.

As for Maddie and Apollo's romance, that's where my opinion of this book can get rocky. Without a doubt, I always wanted them to be together, and I was always happy for them when they were and enjoyed seeing it. But there were certain little things that nagged at me sometimes. Remember, Maddie was originally brought over because Apollo's first wife, the Ilsa of his world, died. While things are in order and happy and I love them by the end of the story (heck, for MOST of the story), there were some points where that fact poked at me in a way that was a wee bit bothersome. That said, Apollo and Maddie were totally endgame. Everything obviously worked out the way it was meant to, and I am happy about that. At the end of the day, I adore this couple so much.

Overall, Broken Dove is a complex and emotional addition to Kristen Ashley's Fantasyland series. The plot and premise were intriguing, the romance was worth falling head over heels over, and the characters were perfect to root for---I genuinely love this story!

4.5 stars - A complex and emotional romance!


  1. I don't know why I've held off. But I've been dying to read this series.

  2. I'll have to go back and read the beginning of this series.