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on 27 December 2013
"Cobweb Bride is a history-flavored fantasy novel with romantic elements of the Persephone myth,
about Death's ultimatum to the world. In an alternate Renaissance world, somewhere in an imaginary "pocket" of Europe called the Kingdom of Lethe, Death comes, in the form of a grim Spaniard, to claim his Bride. Until she is found, in a single time-stopping moment all dying stops. There is no relief for the mortally wounded and the terminally ill."

This book and I got off on a rocky start. The premise sounded intriguing to me so I picked it up. The problem I had with it was the over description of every tiny detail. I got lost in all the words, they were good words, well written poetic words. There was just too much time spent on every detail and my head was swimming with unnecessary words that didn't move the story forward. Three different kingdoms in the Imperial Realm are examined in minute detail.

In Lethe, the old Queen lies on her deathbed unable to die. Death appears and states his plea for his Cobweb Bride to the Prince. The Prince sends out a decree in search of the Cobweb Bride, all families must send a daughter of marriageable age to Death's Keep that stands in the Northern Forest.

On the frozen lake of Merlait to the north there is a battle raging between the forces of Duke Ian Chidair, known as Hoarfrost, and the armies of his neighbor, the Duke Vitalio Goraque. From a single moment on all the causalities become the walking dead, including both Dukes. Hoarfrost is unwilling to give up his status because he is undead and begins a campaign to capture the jail the girls who have been ordered to seek Death's Keep in an attempt to prevent Death from finding his Cobweb bride as a way to keep his dead self undead.

Death's third stop was a poor dwelling in the Dukedom of Goraque where a peasant woman lay dying. Percy's grandmother, whose whole history is given. Persephone is described as a somewhat dull-witted, slow, sickly anemic, plain, unbecoming, and willful. She becomes our heroine as she leads a band of girls to Death's Keep. This small band of girls is where the story finally gets interesting as we follow them on their trek to Death's Keep. They are joined by her Imperial Highness, the Infanta Claere Liguon, the princess and Heir to the Realm, who has been murdered by Marquis Vlau Fiomarre. The Marquis, in a twisted sense of duty, also accompanies Claere in order to protect her. I found this Stockholm type syndrome to be quite disturbing as they are becoming quite fond of each other.

Here is an example of one sentence that shows the author's writing style and the relationship developing between the living Vlau and the dead Claere.

"And now, here he was, and here she was, and it seemed at rather odd moments that the carriage was closing in on him, on her, and they were sharply aware of one another again, relieving that moment of greatest closeness and intensity, the stroke of death, the drawing of life that bound them together."

Hmmm, I seem to have captured a typo here also. I do believe the word "relieving" is meant to be "reliving". There are a small number of proofing errors that didn't detract from the story overall. What was aggravating was the loose story ends that were not addressed. I can only suppose that they will be picked up and explained later in the trilogy, but with as much jumping around as there is in this book why even bring them up at this point at all?

My assessment is that as the author became more comfortable with her story the writing improved. I think much of the set-up could have been handled in flashbacks and improved the flow of the story. Ms. Nazarian also took an interesting aspect of death to the extreme by including crops and livestock in her no-death scheme. As the stores of past harvests were depleted the newest grains became tasteless and the meat from the livestock never died or cooked properly. It was all rather chilling to read.

What will be interesting now is to see how our heroine Percy, who develops a strange connection with Death himself after reaching the Keep goes about finding the true Cobweb Bride. It seems that Death can't see her because she contains a piece of him, however, Percy will be able to. Out of her small group she is the only one who could actually see Death and communicate with him. She is not the incompetent that her family saw her as. She has caught the eye of Beltain, the son of the Duke known as Hoarfrost. The quest for the Cobweb Bride is now on with Percy leading the way and Beltain at her side.

**Originally written for "Awesome Trilogies and Series" book blog. May have received a free review copy.** 12/09/2013
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on 4 February 2015
Set in Renaissance Europe in an insular Kingdom (a country mostly unseen by the rest of the world) the author spins a timeless tale of various parties all affected by Death's desperate attempt to find his Cobweb Bride. Death himself gives an ultimatum that until he's given his bride, there will be no death (in the country). The author weaves beautiful prose, great dialogue, quirky characters to create a beautiful long twisting tale (I kept thinking I knew what was going to happen - and I was wrong - good writing!). This is the literary equivalent of a room full of wall sized tapestries that weave a complicated tale with hidden meanings and symbols. You can read it on the surface as a lovely story, but there's an unspoken story being told in the background...if you look through the mist you might see it!

Even though I felt poorly (and I knew I had to be up early in the morning) I couldn't put it down. I read all night! Thankfully, it turned out I didn't have to go out so I went back to bed. My only negative about the story was I didn't realise this was a first part of a series so I kept thinking, 'How are they going to resolve XYZ in so many pages?' I now have to read the other two books to find out what happens.

Trigger Warnings for people who suffer PTSD:

Blood, Assault, knives, murder, kidnapping, parental rejection
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on 22 May 2016
I really wanted to Like this book. I thought the premis was excellent. However, the writing is dreadful! Basic linguistic/historical mistakes - titles and relationships all wrong - it felt like it had been badly researched by a non-European writing about European society. The writer is trying too hard - it stops the story from flowing. Characters reintroduced a page after the initial introduction - just use their name! Flowery language getting in the way of the plot and not offering any description of value. Really sadly, I gave up early into the book.
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on 21 March 2016
It took me a while to get stuck into the story but it was worth the wait....such a beautiful story about Death looking for his bride, told through the characters who are affected by the absence of Death, the world becomes a torment to live. Because Death does not happen people become the undead and therefore meat cannot be cooked or stay dead. Set during the renaissance period and described in quite a morbid but beautiful way, I really did enjoy the story.
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on 16 December 2014
I did not do this book justice. This book should be read by the fire, on a Winter's evening...not at work on my phone in between customers! But it started to make me look forward to going to work! It is written with an almost erotic sensuality. From the description of the dresses to the relationships that are formed, this is a magical, beautiful fantasy novel. I love it.

Now can't wait for tomorrow at 9.00pm...so I can start book 2!
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on 8 March 2015
A totally unusual fantasy tale with a historical feel and a rich, dark thread of the macabre running through it. From the first few words the tale takes hold of the reader and pulls her along a twisting, glorious path of mystery and wordplay until the unexpected and satisfying end. Of course it's a trilogy so the end is not the end but another beginning. A wonderfully satisfying read.
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on 7 August 2014
I have read all three of the cobweb bride books and found a really different world,with interesting people and unusual stories for each person all interwoven into a larger story that kept me enthralled from the first book to the last word in the last book.A really great read.
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on 8 February 2015
This is a well crafted book. The characters are well drawn and you are pulled into their world of ice and snow. This has been a real page turner and I can't wait to follow Percy' s story in book 2. I'm ready to plunge into this world of suspended death once more
.
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on 8 March 2015
What a fantastic book! Came across it by chance and loved it, read it quite quickly and eagerly bought the other 2 in the series. Fantastic story beautifully written highly recommended
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on 5 February 2015
This is an enchanting fairy tale. All the characters are engaging and well portrayed. The writing is lyrical and strangely emotional and moving. Do not read this on a dark night.
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