Tuesday, May 23, 2023

REVIEW: Salt in the Wound by Sierra Simone



OHMYGOD. Ughhhhh. I hate it when I do this. 

I knew going in that the minute I finished reading this novel, I'd be dying for the next installment and SURE ENOUGH I NEED IT NOW. Just a while ago I finished Salt in the Wound and I feel salty at the idea of having to wait until September to get my hands on the Isolde, Mark, and Tristan. (and I have zero doubt that I'll be feeling the exact same way at the end of each of the books in this trilogy...I also suspect that I'll get to the end of the trilogy and feel like I want more and more and more) 

I'm writing this review more for myself than anyone else (all two of you who read these reviews), to help me remember all the things I'm thinking, feeling right now and because of that there may be spoilery things so just do with that what you will. 

First plot things: Isolde is put into an arranged marriage with Mark because her dad wants the family bank's legacy to continue and Mark had leverage on people to continue the bank's tradition. Mark gets street cred (I guess....I'm not really sure what he gets from this other than Isolde) for his powerful, kink club Lyonesse that he's the owner of. Isolde initially feels completely sold out (as she should) by everyone because she wants to take vows to be a nun once she goes to college (solely to make her dad happy) as a major in art and finance/business. Her cardinal uncle convinces her that agreeing to the arrangement will put her in the room with powerful people who have secrets that she can leverage for the church and when the time is right, he'll help her annul her marriage and she can become a nun. ALLLLLLL of this is so fishy and all of the men in her life are so sketch. They treat her like a chess piece that they can just move around as they see fit. And bad ass that she is with her classes in karate (?-is that what it is?) and her powers of observation, I hope that all of these idiots have underestimated her. 


At the end of this prequel, Isolde has just finished college, has a job with her uncle, and hasn't seen her soon to be husband since he acted like a cowardly bastard (so practically two years ago). It's on this very last page that we meet Tristan (read the myth if you want the back story to these three). This last page is dripping with all sorts of foreshadowing between these two and god, I can't wait for this disaster to happen.

Feelings: these men are garbage. All of them. Her dad-gross. Her uncle-manipulative. Her fiancé-coward. I know we're not supposed to like them very much so A+ 100 on that one Sierra Simone. Mission Accomplished. I'll be very curious about how you go about deepening these feelings or eliminating them--which means I'll have to be all twisted up inside as I'm reading and I'd be lying if I didn't say I love to hate that feeling. 

Isolde-I appreciate that she's observant and a badass fighter and yet she's also unwilling to use her powers of observation on herself...or maybe it's more fair to say she's just young and unable to feel the feelings and use them to empower her, instead she suppresses them and tries to hide from them (and when does hiding from our own feelings and fears and curiosity ever really work?!). By the end she tries to make her hurt into armor to shield her from her feelings about her soon to be husband (and I'm assuming her father and whatever is going on with what happened in Rome and her uncle) but I think we all know that at some point there will be a crack in that armor. All that to say that I'm looking forward to her toughness and seeing her power moves....and also to see how Tristan plays into all of this. 

What happened to Isolde in Rome?
How long will it take us to see behind Mark's facade (we all know he really meant all the things he said that night in her father's home)?
How/why did Mark even come to want Isolde? 
What does he gain from being with her, other than power? (and eventually, love)?
How much does Mark know about Isolde and her uncle's plans?
Will her father play into much of this or will he fade into the background and why did he turn into such a dick?
Is her uncle as manipulative as he seems or is he salvageable?
How will this work with Tristan and how do they not all get hurt?
Who will try to bring them down? And how?
How long will she be able to be mad and resist Mark and how long will Mark try to ice her out?
How many times do we get to see her be a badass (hopefully a lot)?
How long will it take for her to fully renounce her wish to be a nun--will she use it as her constant plan B?
What is she doing with all the information she's gathering, besides giving it to her uncle...surely we can make her more of a baddy than that.

I can't wait to see where all of this goes next....



The first time I meet the devil, he knows my name.

The second time I meet him, the truth becomes clear: Mark Trevena is to be my husband.

No matter that we don't know each other. No matter that he's older than me; shameless and sinful; the owner of a secret club where the powerful come to play. My father has spoken, and I'll be the devil's bride the minute I graduate from college.

Except my future husband has one condition for this arranged marriage: we have to pretend it’s real.

He’ll teach me, he says. How to pretend to be his in pain and pleasure both. How to pretend to arch and writhe under his touch. But his lessons are teaching me something else entirely…

…that Mark Trevena wants me in a way that's not pretend at all.

And no matter how I might fight it, the devil will have his due.

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