Dead Of Winter by Kresley Cole


Dead Of Winter
The Arcana Chronicles: Book Three
Written by Kresley Cole
Dystopian, Paranormal
Published January 1st 2015
336 Pages
Thanks to Simon & Schuster Australia
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Heartbreaking decisions. Evie was almost seduced by the life of comfort that Death offered her, until Jack was threatened by two of the most horrific Arcana, the Lovers. She will do anything to save him, even escape Death’s uncanny prison, full of beautiful objects, material comfort... And stolen glances from a former love.

Uncertain victory. Despite leaving a part of her heart behind with Death, Evie sets out into a perilous post-apocalyptic wasteland to meet up with her allies and launch an attack on the Lovers. Such formidable enemies require a battle plan, and the only way to kill them may mean Evie, Jack, and Death allying. Evie doesn’t know what will prove more impossible. Surviving slavers, plague, Bagmen and other Arcana, or convincing Jack and Death to work together.

Two heroes returned. There’s a thin line between love and hate, and Evie just doesn’t know where she stands with either Jack or Death. Will this unlikely trio be able to defeat The Lovers without killing one another first?
The game continues. It begun with twenty two teens that each represent a card in the deck of the Arcana, a deadly fight to the death until only one is left standing. After the Flash that wiped out billions of lives and left the world in decimated ruins, Evie is returning to camp after freeing herself from the Reaper. Aric didn't want the upper hand, but to seduce Evie into becoming his wife. Finding herself having fallen for her captor, Evie returns to her first love Jack, the fiery Cajun mortal that accepts Evie's fate as the Empress card while she struggles to rein in her instilled cruelty. Jack has been taken and tortured, branded with The Lovers cult symbol and may never recover from the brutality of his captors. With the largest alliance of players, Evie is determined to take out the brother and sister who believe to love is to torture, and live their lives doing exactly that.

But it seems The Lovers have captured another one of their own. As Aric comes to claim Evie as his wife Matthew's riddled warnings bring both Jack and Aric together for the sake of their mission, determined to keep Evie safe. Tensions arise and both will each make a play for Evie's affections, putting all their lives at risk.


I had assumed that Dead of Winter was the final book in the The Arcana Chronicles, but it wasn't until I reached the cliffhanger that I'd realised there's yet another book to come. Most readers have a guilty pleasure read, a series that featured the typically beautiful girl who had it all, the strong and slightly dimwitted love interest and the dashing and handsome third party that was determined to steal her away. Normally I'd keep my distance, but the premise of having a group of seemingly normal teens, all representing a card in an ancient tarot deck was just too tempting. The previous two books in the series I'd loved, where in Dead of Winter I felt the romance almost completely engulfed the storyline. I still found it entertaining, but Evie's indecisiveness left me wanting to slap her in the face with a phone book.

Even being the focal point of the storyline, she was by far the weakest link. Demanding answers while divulging none of her own, how many times can you leave your lack of explanation to it being too complicated or simply, I can't do this right now. It became her mantra in the end. Even though both love interests are at opposites ends of the scale, and he may have imprisoned her against her will, the Reaper Aric is a far more complex love interest. Although he only seems to have two emotions, angry and frisky. Still, that's one more than Jack, who is a serious drunk hell bent on protecting Evie. Aric would rather leave her to her own devices and to fight her own battles, not allowing the girl who can poison a population on the wind, by playing the victim.

But as entertained as I was, I felt this book hasn't added anything of significance to the series, apart from seeing the murderous banter between Jack and Aric. The romance was repetitive and cliche, and having enjoyed the first two in the series, I hope that this doesn't set the precedent for what I will now assume will be the final book. Fingers crossed it's not drawn out and deservedly wraps up on a high.

The bright spark of Dead of Winter is Selena, the Huntress with the quick wit and sharp tongue. I would love to see her with her own point of view.

35 comments

  1. I might be a little behind the times--but I LOVE your new blog design. <3 <3 It's wonderful.

    So this isn't the last book in the series!? I had been under the impression it was, too, and I'm a little bit irked to find out that it's not. Eh. I think I'll continue to read them, anyway, just because I like to finish series. But I can't say I'm overly fussed on this series, you know? I mean the first couple were enjoyable--so I know I'll probably enjoy this, at the very least. Wonderful review. :)

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    1. Thanks Kara. I actually only changed it this week. In a bit of a slump, and it's picked me right up again.

      No, it isn't. I assumed it was too and was a tad peeved that it wasn't. In the grade scheme of the series, this one probably wasn't needed. It was still entertaining, but was more about who Evie was going to choose. And she DID choose, which should be applauded. Often authors string the romance along and hesitate to make the hard decisions.

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  2. HEY YOU HAVE A PRETTY NEW DESIGN! Me like :D

    I have the first book of this series buried in my TBR pile. Like you I was drawn to it because of the whole tarot aspect. I'm not entirely surprised to see that there's an irritating sounding love triangle involved. Hopefully it isn't too unbearable and ruins these books for me.

    I hope the next book is a better installment!

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    1. Thanks poppet. I wasn't sure it was going to work, but really happy with it. It's the same design, just darker and with a new header.

      I hope so too. It was entertaining, but more so a filler for character development and it basically danced around who she would choose from her two suitors. Hopefully the next installment will be the final book in the series, as it's becoming a little too drawn out.

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  3. Oh man this Arcana Chronicles, the first book annoyed me to no end I tell you. Evie really drove me up the wall and that 'love interest' was way too abusive.

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    1. Which one Jeann? The original love interest, or the one who abducted her? I actually really love the premise of the series, the tarot deck and chosen teens with abilities in a post apocalyptic world. It's one of the most unique ones I've read. It's the romance that let's it down sadly. I hope now that Evie has made her decision, that the next installment will focus more on the storyline, rather than the romance.

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  4. I never continued after reading the first book; it was never my thing, and I remember Evie's personality (amongst others) were one of the reasons. I'm sorry to hear it hasn't changed much, but at least you found enough redeeming qualities to continue on!

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    1. Hey Manda, nice to see you again.

      You're not alone there, a lot of readers haven't clicked with this one either. I've really enjoyed it so far, the action does pick up beyond the first book and new characters are introduced, some even outshine the main characters. Might be worth picking up book two, it might really surprise you.

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  5. I liked the first two books, they were okay but I was left with no desire to keep reading the series unfortunately :(

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    1. What was it that turned you off Frannie? The romance is hopefully put to bed, now that Evie has made her choice. I really hope the finale does this series justice. Looking forward to it.

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  6. I really want to read this series!I am quite fascinated with the whole tarot card business,and also the fact that Death is a character in the books.

    P.S-I don't know how late I am,but just saw your new design,and it looks really lovely!

    Mishma @ Chasing Faerytales

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    1. I only changed it this week Mishma and thank you. They say a change is a good as a holiday, and I find it keeps me motivated to keep blogging.

      I really love the unique premise, the tarot deck and the cards represented by teens in an apocalyptic world. The romance is a tad on the steamy side for young adult as well, which I think will appeal to the wider audience.

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  7. I've listened to the first book late last year. I have book two, but haven't listened yet. I've not heard great things about this book, so I think I'm going to wait and do this one and book four back to back.

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    1. That's a really good idea Melanie, I can imagine the storyline will flow more so when they're read back to back. I'm looking forward to seeing what you think of them.

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  8. Sorry you didn't really love this installment. I hate when books are overcome by the relationship, especially when it should be SO much more than that.

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    1. My thoughts exactly Lauren. This one will appeal more to the romance fans of the series, as it doesn't add all that much to the overall plot. Looking forward to the finale though, I really can't wait to see how it all wraps up.

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  9. I never did read the first book but I have always wanted to. Crazy that the third book is already out, where have I been? Anyway, Evie sounds pretty frustrating, and I dislike it when a heroine constantly puts herself down like that and refuses to try. What fun is a character like that? The love interests don't sound all that much better either :/

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    1. She's annoying, without a doubt Alise. The series would have been absolutely brilliant if it had a likable heroine and also toned down the romance. But the unique and novel storyline is worth taking the chance on, it may really surprise you.

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  10. I've never even heard of this series but the tarots plot sounds interesting! Not sure about the characters though, I feel like I have a shorter fuse than you when it comes to annoying characters, so if you wanted to hit them over the head with a phonebook...well then. I would probably throw the book across the room :P

    Loving the new design!!!

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    1. Thanks Joy.

      I think I'm pretty tolerant when it comes to most characters, but in this one the main character really irked me. It was just her lack of explanation and felt that her decision between two love interests just didn't warrant an entire book. This probably would have been better as a novella actually.

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  11. I downloaded the audio for The Poison Princess (can you believe I haven't read it yet?). I'm giving it that one chance to make its case. As you know, I detest love triangles, and this one sounds like it features the most painful kind. Also, guilty pleasures are the best kind of reads...only I don't say that out loud. Lol.

    I love the new look, Kelly! <3

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    1. Completely agree Joy, I've got a few series that I really enjoy that most other readers think are a little on the half baked side. But this one is really unique, not the romance, but the main block of storyline. I'd be really interested to see what you think, so hopefully you can get around to listening to it soon.

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  12. Aw it sucks that this one was disappointing compared to the first two novels :( Indecisive MC's definitely a bit of an annoyance.

    Lovely review, Kels <33

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    1. I just wanted to shake her at one point. But the good news is, that she does finally make a decision, but unfortunately like most young adult romances, it took her the entire book to reach it.

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  13. I have not read this series yet, but was planning to...I guess I still will, because I'm really curious but it's too bad this final book was not great :/

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    1. But that's the thing Lola, it's not actually the finale. I thought it was too, but I think there's one more to come.

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  14. I don't know when you changed your blog design, but it looks great! I love the hanging flowers and all your new fonts. :D

    Anyway, I never really noticed this book until your review! That's so cool that a certain bunch of people would represent the cards on a tarot deck. How do you resist that?

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    1. Only this week actually. Thanks Shannelle, that really means a lot.

      Exactly. I found it really engaging, apart from the romance. It's such a unique concept, teens each representing a card in the tarot deck. It's kill or be killed and only one is supposed to be left standing. I'm really interested to see how this series wraps up.

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  15. Ugh, gorgeous new header!! You do that best designs!

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    1. Thanks Alyssa, just needed a bit of a change.

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  16. Okay I'm beaming THE NEW LOOK IS SO BEAUTIFUL I WANT TO CRY!

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    1. Aww, thanks Mawa, I really appreciate it.

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  17. KELLLLLLLY I love the new flowerssssss. It's so pretty!!! @_@ Gosh girl, I'm so jealous! I wish I had something as pretty as this!

    In any case, I'm already finding myself annoyed with this book already. The lack of explanations and attribution of them to "I can't do this right now" seems to be such a cop-out from the author herself. That's one of the many things that annoy the heck out of me. The first time might be okay, but the second? The third? The fourth? THE REST OF THE BOOK?! I'd be the first one out the window >.<

    Faye at The Social Potato

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    1. Thanks Faye, and you have! Your blog's adorable!

      It does get tedious after a while. But I'm really invested in the series, so had to see it through. It was still entertaining and has set the series up for an epic showdown as well.

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  18. Hmm, I haven't read this series - although, I do like the premise of this novel. It does sound quite interesting, I'm glad you enjoyed it and found it entertaining. Fantastic review! Benish| Feminist Reflections

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