Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for White Stag by Kara Barbieri, a debut fantasy out today!
This novel is a dark, gritty YA fantasy about a girl thrust into the goblin world of the Permafrost after tragedy befalls her village and her family. It features strong characters, scheming creatures, moral ambiguity, and hints of a romance. I’m currently reading White Stag and while it isn’t what I expected thus far, I think it has a lot of potential!
Not sure if this is a book for you? While reading, I’ve noticed some similarities between this and some YA favorites, and compiled a list. If you like any of these five books, White Stag is likely to be right up your alley!
Although I personally wasn’t a fan of Wintersong, the resemblance is there. Both feature a protagonist navigating a cunning world of goblins. While this novel’s story of love and music differs greatly from the trauma and deadly hunt of White Stag, goblins are found at their cores.
The Cruel Prince is another novel that, though it wasn’t my cup of tea, took the book community by storm. Like Janneke, the protagonist of White Stag, Jude is the only human in a world of vicious creatures, and she has no other choice than to beat them at their own game. It’s a risky game to play, but over time, they find out that she is just as deadly as they are.
The Young Elites is a gritty tale of moral ambiguity, following a scarred survivor looked down upon by those around her. Adelina questions her own goodness and the way she treats others, as does Janneke, at least in what I’ve read so far. Both girls are coping with terrible events in their pasts, and I’m interested to see if, ultimately, Janneke goes down a similar road.
Admittedly, this one might be a bit of a stretch, but I believe The Star-Touched Queen deserves a spot on this list. Although I don’t recall the presence of any goblins, at least none that are prominent, the story does take place in a world where nothing is as it seems. The magic in this book is quite different from the magic of White Stag, but in both books it brings questions and consequences.
I think This Savage Song is the best comparison on this list. It might feature actual monsters rather than goblins, but both novels highlight morality as the stories progress. Humans can be monstrous and monsters can be humane. Who’s a monster, and who isn’t? Sometimes, you can’t tell until it’s almost too late. What makes someone a monster? If you’re entertained by such questions and suspense, White Stag is a good fit for you.
More About the Book
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 is burned to the ground, Janneke—as the only survivor—is taken captive by the malicious goblin 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.
Through every battle they survive, Janneke’s loyalty to Soren deepens even as she tries to fight her growing attraction to him. After dangerous truths are revealed, Janneke must choose between holding on or letting go of her last connections to a world she no longer belongs to. She must make the right choice to save the only thing keeping both worlds from crumbling.
Originally posted on Wattpad, White Stag was revised, expanded, and traditionally published on January 8. (Today!)
You can purchase a copy here.
More About the Author
Kara Barbieri is a writer living in the tiny town of Hayward, Wisconsin. An avid fantasy fan, she began writing White Stag at eighteen and posting it to Wattpad soon after under the name of ‘Pandean’. When she’s not writing, you can find her marathoning Buffy the Vampire Slayer, reviving gothic fashion, and jamming to synthpop. You can follow her on Twitter here.
Is White Stag on your TBR? What about the other books I’ve mentioned? I’d love to know!
Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a fabulous day/night!
Until next time…