White Stag – Book Review

It’s been a while since I’ve dived into a fantasy world, maybe I was drained to death after reading too many in a row. White Stag was my not so valiant return to the fantasy genre.

Title: White Stag
Author: Kara Barbieri
Genre: Fantasy
Age of Protagonist: Teenage, technically give or take 100 years?
Rating: 3.5/5 —–> 2.5/5


As the last child in a family of daughters, seventeen-year-old Janneke was raised to be the male heir. While her sisters were becoming wives and mothers, she was taught to hunt, track, and fight. On the day her village was burned to the ground, Janneke—as the only survivor—was taken captive by the malicious Lydian and eventually sent to work for his nephew Soren.

Janneke’s survival in the court of merciless monsters has come at the cost of her connection to the human world. And when the Goblin King’s death ignites an ancient hunt for the next king, Soren senses an opportunity for her to finally fully accept the ways of the brutal Permafrost. But every action he takes to bring her deeper into his world only shows him that a little humanity isn’t bad—especially when it comes to those you care about.

White Stag ARC review


White Stag is a complete mystery to me, I flew through it but looking back on it there are so many elements I wasn’t a fan of.

Past Lili Star:

10% into it I wasn’t sold but 20% in I just lost myself in the book without coming up for air! I still have no idea what happened to me in that 10% but I needed the story.

I loved reading White Stag, is it the perfect book? No, but it will suck you in like a vortex. There are so many elements of the world I enjoyed, from the forest setting to the weird creatures the world is littered with.

One thing I will say is there is definitely a trigger warning for rape as Janneke’s past experience with rape is brought up many times in many different forms, from implied to flashbacks and nightmares. It is not one to read if this is a trigger for you!

Present Lili Star:

I’m not the greatest fan of Janneke herself, she’s over 100 but technically 17. I felt this is a book were the heroine could have been in her twenties or even 19 (119!) but alas it was not to be. Her killing instinct feels too on point for a human but this can be explained away with the 100 years to practice.

I enjoyed Soren as his own individual character, he had to make choices for the people and his attempt to use sarcasm was hilarious. Is he the perfect person? Not on your nelly, this is a dark fantasy full of murder and vile deaths. If you met a baby goblin in the woods it would straight up shank you!

I could have maybe enjoyed the relationship between Soren and Janneke, except for the small fact that he owns her! That’s right the girl is his property or thrall if you will. At least release the girl before you put the moves on her!

I started this review younger, full of hope but I’m older now, not quite Jenneke’s 117 but older. In this last half hour I have changed my rating to 2.5/5. I meant to convince you to read it and instead I convinced myself I didn’t like it! Typical!

I do think plenty of people would like this book as much as past me, but present me does not.

*ARC received from publishers via netgalley for an honest review*

7 thoughts on “White Stag – Book Review

  1. Sophia (Bookwyrming Thoughts) says:

    Oof, I liked this one for the world building as well and I agree, it does suck you in like a vortex. I felt weird about Soren’s relationship with Janneke, probably for the fact that he owns her… but at the time I just felt odd and had no clue. Who wants to fall in love with someone that owns you? 🤔 (Wow, I just made it sound like some sort of 50 Shades of Goblin shit.)


  2. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious says:

    I really like the way that you kind of approached this review from a “last and present” standpoint, very creative! I honestly have had this happen to me before where I was more ‘meh’ about a book and go into writing my review with a 3 star rating, but by the end of the review I am like YEA NOPE THIS WASN’T GOOD FAM.


  3. lovemonicarose says:

    Oh boy, I’ll put this into my Maybe pile. I like some of the aspects (besides the fact that this is fantasy) but the whole rape+owning part doesn’t sit well with me. Well, plus the fact that she’s 17-ish. Thanks for adding the whole timeline of your thoughts though!


  4. Olivia-Savannah says:

    I don’t think I am going to be reading this one either. I remember a lot of people were hyped about it, but I wasn’t really DD: However, reviews don’t seem to be amazingly positive? I hope you will like your next read more ^.^

    Liked by 1 person

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