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Audiobook Review: Dead of Winter by Kresley Cole

Audiobook Review: Dead of Winter by Kresley Cole
Dead of Winter by Kresley Cole
Narrator: Emma Galvin
Series: The Arcana Chronicles #3
Published by Simon and Schuster
Published on: January 6, 2015
Genres: Young Adult
Length: 9 hrs & 58 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
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Can Evie convince her rival loves to work together? Their survival depends on it in this third book of #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole’s Arcana Chronicles, a nonstop action tale of rescue, redemption, and a revenge most wicked.

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 comforts…and stolen glances from a former love.

Uncertain victory
Despite leaving a part of her heart behind with Death, Evie sets out into a frozen and perilous post-apocalyptic wasteland to meet up with her allies and launch an attack on The Lovers and the vast army they command. Such formidable enemies require a battle plan, and the only way to kill them once and for all 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?


This audiobook was #4 on my most anticipated reads of 2015 list, so it’s with a heavy heart that I give it 3-stars. The dystopian universe created by Kresley Cole in THE ARCANA CHRONICLES that I’ve come to adore was dwarfed by this series’ love triangle, and the plot whittled down to Evie’s boy toy choice. Now, perhaps I’m slightly bitter because she didn’t go with the team that I was rooting for, but in the end that really didn’t seem to matter because the author threw another cliffhanger at us making the heroine’s decision moot.

My primary fascination with these novels stemmed from the world-building’s link to Tarot, and so far we’ve met new cards in every installment, until DEAD OF WINTER. Ok, that’s not entirely accurate because The High Priestess and The Emperor threw their lot in with the rest, and we also learned more about The Lovers and The World’s abilities, however these elements were so microscopic in comparison to the drama between Evie / Jack / Aric that I barely took note of them. I did enjoy the flashbacks to what happened to Death and the Cajun post ENDLESS KNIGHT, but again, I needed more.

This story was all about the love triangle which just plain sucked because the trio wound up working together for the better part of this book, and that in turn lead to angst, angst, and more angst. Subsequently, all of the originality was siphoned out of this series in favour of the biggest Young Adult trope of them all. In the past, I’ve liked the apocalyptic flavour of THE ARCANA CHRONICLES, yet this latest installment was no longer about surviving Baggers, cannibals, and the game, but rather what boy Evie Greene’s heart belonged to. Yes, that quagmire was solved, except no, not really.

Emma Galvin’s narration was like a lighthouse in a storm because without her delivery to keep me listening, I most likely would have finished this audiobook in a week instead of two days. I enjoyed the intensity with which she performed this tale, and the slower pace at which she reads this series definitely draws you in. Jack piles on the French in this novel, and that was unfortunate because Galvin’s mastery of that language really leaves something to be desired, but she tried her best, and this particular shortcoming is only noticeable to francophones, so I let it slide.

DEAD OF WINTER could have been a grand conclusion to THE ARCANA CHRONICLES; instead there will be a book 4.

The Arcana Chronicles

My Review

My Review

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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    One of my bookish friends highly recommended this series to me after book 1 & 2, and I was ready to start it and binge read it once this one came out, but now I refuse to until the last book comes out!

    Thank you for the review/warning Carmel!
    Pili recently posted…Friday Reads: Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock!!

    • I LOVED the first two installments which is why I was probably overly harsh in my rating of DOW. It was just such a HUGE disappointment in comparison. Bloody triangles!! *shakes fist*

  2. I thought this was a trilogy, I guess because that is the formula for YA books these days. I was surprised to see that this was a cliffhanger. I’m also not a huge fan of the love triangle aspect. I loved book one and still need to listen to book two. Thanks for the warning on the cliffhanger.
    Melanie recently posted…Question: What Was Your First Read / Listen of 2015?

    • I’ve feeling kinda bad about recommending this series to you now. Had I known that book 3 was going to go in this direction, I might have reconsidered. Might be best to listen to 3 & 4 back-to-back.

      • Don’t feel bad about it. I did love the first book. I will probably wait on book three until we are closer to book four. Then I can see about getting a review copy, since I’ll be caught up. 🙂
        Melanie recently posted…Review: Unbound by Sara Humphreys

      • Sounds like a plan!

  3. Eek! I have this series on my TBR, looks like I’ll probably hold off until the next book is released though. Cliffhangers aggravate me. Love triangles *shakes head* when it goes the way I’m not hoping I’m like whyyyyyyy?!?! Hope the next one is 5* for you 🙂

    • Cole’s YA was a serious contender for my top reads list, and then DOW happened. Urgh! My frustration is still sky high even though it’s been a couple of days since I finished this. Bleh.

  4. i stop at the angst rant. I KNEW it was too good to be true! WHY are people still writing love triangles question mark we are so tired of that! It’s the end of the world I’d like to think that romance would be the last of their priorities.

    Sorry it did not work out for you, I still would want to read this but I don’t think I will hurry because I don’t like angst especially if it’s stemming from indecisive Heroines.

    • Aaww, you should have kept going because it was one of my better rants. 😉 This is the first time I pre-ordered one of this author’s books. I won’t be doing THAT again for a while…

  5. I haven’t read anything from this author but I don’t think I want to try this series. What would you recommend from this author?
    Stormi recently posted…#Fitreader: Weekly Check-In

    • The first two installments are excellent, and I’m currently working my way through her Immortals After Dark series which I’m diggin’ too.

  6. Dammit Carmel! I’m so bummed that this book focuses so much more on the love triangle and less on the world and the tarot. Boo. The romance was my least favorite part of Poison Princess (which is really saying something because I live for romance), so the fact that this one is even more angst-ridden is really disappointing. And now there’s a book 4 so we get a cliffhanger too? NOOOOOOOOO. 🙂

    • I was unsure about this series when I dived into PP because of the beginning, but then the world morphed into something spectacular. And, now we’re right back where we started except one of the boys has changed. *sigh*

  7. I knew it! I just new your rating would be about this…LOL, I think I might have enjoyed this one just a bit more than you did, I’m going to put at 3.5 stars. I wanted more story and less drama. I feel as this wasn’t written for anyone over 17, yet I’d would have trouble giving it to someone under 15. I don’t mind triangles, they don’t drive me crazy like they do some peeps, but they can’t not be the center of the story. And the ending ! I wanted to scream!
    Lupdilup recently posted…Screwdrivered Audiobook by Alice Clayton (review)

    • At least your rating makes more sense than Jennifer’s (4 stars! WTH). My problem with love triangles was for sure the main reason why I struggled with DOW. This served as a reminder as to why I generally avoid YA.

  8. Is there anything worse than being excited about a book and then seriously let down after you read it?
    I am so sorry this wasn’t better. Hopefully your next book blows you away!

    Happy Friday!
    kindlemom1 recently posted…Review: The Bargaining by Carly Anne West

    • No, I don’t think there is. I’m sure I’ll get over it, but it just might take a couple of days, and perhaps a bottle of wine.

  9. I can’t believe there’s a book four snuck in now?!! I know how excited you’ve been for this to build to an awesome climax and wrap up some loose ends. I can take a lot of angst, but I’m sad that the amazing worldbuilding suffered. I started this series in book form, hmmm I’m not sure how I will proceed, with caution I guess. Let’s hope book four rocks, Carmel 🙂
    kim { Book Swoon } recently posted…Young Adult Book Review: Invisible by Dawn Metcalf

    • You hit the nail on the head. I went into book 3 expecting an epic showdown, and a stunning finale, but instead I got lots of angst, a love triangle, and no resolution. *heads desk*

  10. Thanks for the review! I’ve heard there’s a frustrating love triangle to this series that’s why I never picked it up. Although there have been a couple people who recommend it. Now hearing from you that there’s so much angst, I’m leaning towards a no….

    I love your graphics! Infuriating is the best haha~
    EIleen recently posted…Feature & Follow #26: Non-Book Collections!

    • Up until this point I was really enjoying the story. Yes, the love triangle has always been present, but not to this extend, so it was tolerable. The next installment will be the deciding factor for me.

  11. Well I am back to not continuing this series. I read the first book and had some big issues with it, but then your brilliant review for book two had me reconsidering, but now that this book is all about the love triangle, I am bowing out. I can’t stand the love triangle and the first book had too much immature high school drama for me. Hopefully you will enjoy book four more.
    Heidi recently posted…Friday Forecast January 11th-17th

    • On the plus side, at least I did most of the legwork for you, so you don’t have to waste your time with it, especially if you hate triangles.

  12. That’s quite disappointing. I knew there was a reason I was staying away. le sigh.
    Joy // Joyousreads recently posted…[477]: The Blonde by Anna Godbersen

    • It took a while for it to rear it’s ugly head, but there you have it.

  13. Sorry to hear that this one didn’t work for you. I’ve read some of her other books and liked them but haven’t read this one yet.
    Mary Kirkland recently posted…How I Get Free Stuff and Make Money Online

    • I have no complaints about her IAD series, and this was my first bad experience with her YA, so overall Cole is still a good author. One offs happen.

  14. Sorry this one was only a three star read since you were so excited. I haven’t read any of these. I know a friend of mine really likes this author though.
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…A Look Back at Blog World

    • It really sucks when your high expectations come back to kick you in the teeth.

  15. Ugh, not what I wanted to hear… I’ve been really disappointed with love triangles in YA lately. I’ll still listen (I think) because I want to know what happens.
    Nereyda recently posted…Audiobook Review: This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner!

    • You read WAY more YA than I do, so I’ll be curious to hear your thoughts on DOW. Get on it! 😛

  16. This is a series I want to do all on audio. I don’t like the sound of the plot twist and then cliffie which makes it moot. Hm… I think when I start these I will make sure that book 4 is available and in my hot little hands (or my library!). 🙂
    Melissa (Books and Things) recently posted…Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison

    • Every installment to date has had a pretty brutal cliffhanger, so if you don’t want to lose quite a bit of hair, I’d advice waiting. LOL!

  17. Aw, that stinks that one of your most anticipated wasn’t as good as you expected. That’s always a major bummer. Maybe the 4th book will redeem it.
    Christy recently posted…Falling Away by Penelope Douglas

    • Ah well, at least that particular band-aid has been ripped off, so now I can move on to bigger, and better reads.

  18. Oh dear, I think I’m losing interest in continuing this series. Angst? Love triangle? NO!!!! I loved the first book and have been thinking the second and third would be my next reads but now I’m not so sure. I think maybe I’ll continue with the 2nd book but then we’ll see if I pick up the third right away. That’s very disappointing news.
    Candace recently posted…Book & Movie Giveaway: Gone Girl

    • I REALLY enjoyed the Endless Knight, so don’t change your game plan on account of my review. You might want to reconsider, or at the very least postpone DOW though if you struggle with angst and love triangles though.

  19. Oh no, so sorry to hear that the author seems to have fallen into the love-triangle trap, that’s truly disappointing. 🙁 I hate it when they seem to drag on their series when it’s just not necessary. The tarot cards sound so interesting, but I’m not so sure I’d want to suffer through another love-triangle just for it. Hmmm…maybe one day.
    Joy recently posted…Discussion Post: What’s your favourite book to ‘push’?

    • I knew that the love triangle was going to have to play out eventually, I just wish that it’d been a side thread instead of the main one. 70%+ is too much!

  20. What a bummer and I added these to my audiobook wishlist. Triangles are huge in YA and often get in the way of what I love about these dystopian type worlds. So sorry Carmel. Hmm, I might hold off.
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…The Importance of Being Alice by Katie MacAlister

    • Book 1 & 2 were phenomenal listens which is probably why I might have been a little overly harsh in my review. I just had to vent my frustration!

  21. *sniff* This makes me sad, Carmel. I know you were really enjoying this series and your reviews were making me excited to read it! That Cole gave up world building/plot in favor of the romance seems like a cop out. (yes, I did just say that and you know I love my romance 😉 Do you think she can make it up to you in book 4? Or are you done? I am glad to hear you’re enjoying her IAD series.
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…**Cover Reveal ~ Cameron’s Control ~ Vanessa Fewings**

    • I’ll definitely give the next installment a whirl. 2/3 isn’t a horrible track record IMO, and every author deserves one mulligan. However, if book 4 is more of the same then I’m out.

  22. Yeah, apparantly, there’s a huge – well, intense – love-triangle in this series? I cannot wait to start it and see for what team I’ll be rooting for 😀 And I love the fact that it’s dystopian but does seem to include fantasy elements. Sorry it wasn’t better, Carmel! Interesting review!
    Lola recently posted…Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

    • Someone is a sucker for punishment. LOL! You’d better pick the better team of else. *shakes fist* Or wait a minute, actually if you go with the other guy that’d be ok too cuz well, more for me!

  23. Oh, darn!! I’ve really been looking forward to this one and it makes me sad that it wasn’t great. I actually finished book two really worried about the romance aspect of the book, and I hate that it’s getting dragged out for another book. Ugh!
    Nicole recently posted…ARC Review – When by Victoria Laurie

    • I wish I was the bearer of better news; sadly that’s not the case. Here’s hoping that you’ll fair better and I!

  24. I’ve been meaning to start this series for a while now. The world sounds so interesting but love triangle? Ugh. And it seems this is starting to drag on longer than it had to :/
    Bec recently posted…Review: Of Scars and Stardust – Andrea Hannah

    • My complaints have been pretty minor up until this point, as my two previous 5-star reviews will attest, but it’s looking like this series is going the way of most YA. Love triangle + cliffhangers = suckage.

  25. :O A FOURTH book??? Who said anything about a FOURTH book? Why wasn’t I INFORMED??? I absolutely LOVE this series to the core! I haven’t picked up Dead of Winter yet, but Endless Knight is my next book TBR. I HATE this love triangle thing Cole put up just like that. I WANT JACK. I am HAPPY with JACK. <3 Jack!

    I dread reading this now. 🙁 Carmel why did she do this??? A fourth book. Bah.
    Madiha recently posted…Loony Blurbs: January, 2015

    • Team Jack supporters might enjoy this installment more than the opposition. Or maybe not, cuz it all goes to hell in a hand basket. Endless Knight might make you reconsider your stance on the Cajun though.

  26. Yeah, no on the love triangle. Plus, I rarely read YA.
    angela carr recently posted…ARC Review: Caught on Camera by Kim Law

    • There’s actually sex in this series which is surprising given the genre.

  27. The library do have book 1 🙂
    blodeuedd recently posted…Troubled Waters – Sharon Shinn and #FitReaders: Weekly Check-In Jan 8 2015

    • That’s good. At least you won’t feel bad if you DNF it.

  28. I haven’t gotten to this series of Cole’s. I kept seeing just okay reviews so it never excited me. But I still kinda want to read it. Ugh, cliffhanger. Not looking forward to that.
    Jennifer Bielman recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #111: Now That You’re Here

    • Ooh, really? That surprises me because most of the reviews I’ve read for 1 & 2 were positive. Guess it all depends where you look, or who you follow.

  29. See, I’m kind of glad I stopped reading this series from the first book. I couldn’t get through it because Evie was a special snowflake and I found the guy in that was a possessive dude that I couldn’t get over. It sounds like by this installment, things didn’t really improve unfortunately. Great review though Carmel!
    Jeann recently posted…Indulgence Insider #17 – Where I Disclose My Instagram Addiction

    • Evie’s character has grown a great deal since PP, but Jack has turned into an even MORE possessive a-hole. I’m surprised peeps don’t see how abusive he is towards the heroine.

  30. I’ve been seeing you and others listening to this series, and it piqued my interested. But then I read this review and now I know it is definitely NOT for me! Thanks!!
    Jen Twimom recently posted…Review: Hungry Like the Wolf by Paige Tyler

    • Jennifer really enjoyed it, so it depends on who you ask.

  31. I’ve been really debating whether or not to read this series as I’ve read most of her Immortals After Dark novels, and the more I read the more I get less… enthused.

    It’s a shame that something you were anticipating so highly — #4 on the list! — was only a 3 star read.

    “The dystopian universe created by Kresley Cole in THE ARCANA CHRONICLES that I’ve come to adore was dwarfed by this series’ love triangle, and the plot whittled down to Evie’s boy toy choice.” — THIS THIS THIS is actually what I hate most about love triangles. I’m not sure why they’re still happening. If they are, I’d rather that they get ignored than swallow the plot and hide the world.

    “Subsequently, all of the originality was siphoned out of this series in favour of the biggest Young Adult trope of them all.” — yep. I blame Twilight and the Hunger Games. Was kind of hoping that Divergent had set an example for others, but I guess the LT trope has not faded.

    Emma Galvin… I’ve heard of her before… where… (I’ve listened to a few audiobooks but I’m far from ever being able to name a narrator to an audiobook vs. author to books). I’m glad it sounds like she’s a good narrator except when it comes to pronouncing French. I’ll keep that in mind if I see her with other audiobooks.

    BOOK 4??? whaaaaaaat. That’s another sucky trope, expanding the series when the readers have been explictly told otherwise (wasn’t it scheduled as a trilogy???).

    Anywho, shame that it didn’t work out. I hope you have better luck with your other reads & anticipated titles!
    Christina recently posted…Review: In a Handful of Dust – Mindy McGinnis

    • Thanks for the lengthy comment! Even though you haven’t read the book, it made me feel better. All of the 5-star reviews on Amazon were beginning to make me feel like I should slink away in shame. LOL!

  32. Finally, I have time to read your review. *sips tea*

    I am super disappointed that this focuses on a love triangle (first Ensnared, now this? WHAT IS HAPPENING). The reason I loved Endless Knight so much was that it explored all of the tarots and how warped they were (hello cannibals). It was exciting and it was original, now it’s sounds like love-sick-teen drivel. Blah.

    Well my book is on hold at the library so I’ll be reading it sooner rather than later, but I am disappointed. Hopefully I’ll be able to get through this one.

    And I could have SWORN that this was going to be a trilogy. A four-book series seems awkward. :/
    Amber Elise recently posted…[Meme]Teaser Tuesday [#54]

    • I actually didn’t mind the love triangle in Ensnared because the author’s end game wasn’t a total surprise, plus it matched Aly’s two halves. My review posts next Friday, and you’ll probably be pissed with me when it does. This one on the other hand was such a huge letdown after the awesomeness that was Endless Knight. And, yeah, AT LEAST 4 books, maybe more…

  33. Ugh, that sucks Carmel! There’s nothing worse than a great series with an interesting romantic subplot…that eventually gets taken over by said subplot. No thank you. Hopefully the final book in the series (it’s a four book series, right?) will get things back on track for you. Sorry you didn’t like this one as much as you were hoping!
    Danya recently posted…DNF Review: The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

    • I’m really hoping that the story will get back on track with the next novel, although once you go full-out love triangle it can be hard to recover. Four, maybe five installments. Only Kresley Cole knows for sure!