ARC Review: FABLE OF HAPPINESS Bk 2
It has taken me a couple of days to pull my thoughts together for this review because this book was so gut wrenchingly deep and emotional that I needed to process my thoughts. So here I go. I apologize if there are any spoilers for those who like to wait until all books are out. As we all know Pepper Winters has a way of taking on subjects that are harsh, shocking and completely heart crushing that will first turn you inside out but then she has a way of flipping you upside down and having you cry and pray that the shattered soul is redeemed. This book is exactly that. First I have to warn you that this book is VERY TRIGGERING! So, if you have issues about sexual abuse or assault, please be sure to check your psyche before you delve into this read. With that being said I have to whole heartedly say that Pepper Winters snatched my soul out with this book. Kassem is so beautifully broken and reading(reliving) his horrific tale broke me. A pure soul driven to death and destruction as his only means of survival caught so deeply in a web of painful memories and hallucinations that he doesn’t know the past from the present. Watching him struggle to hold on to his last strands of humanity while he is drowning in memories of past cruelties had me crying on multiple occasions. Kassem appears to be suffering from a massive concussion. We also learn that this is not the first severe head injury he has sustained. For five years he was an amnesiac surviving at Fables after a visit from one of the guests and his henchmen. Gemma’s guilt and determination over Kassem’s injuries have solidified her decision to stay and care for the horrible but injured beast of a man. Throughout her ordeal we see glimpses of Kas's past with his perpetrators along with the plights of the other children being held at Fables. She feels he has been so abused that she cannot hate him for any of his actions towards her. She begins to understand the nature of Kas and the other children which he calls his family and how they survived the atrocities that they were forced to endure. Instead, her heart begins to soften, and she begins to realize unsettling truths within herself as she struggles with understanding Kas. It is only after Kas commits a violent act toward her in one of his hazes, an act that should be unforgivable that Gemma breaks down her walls and fully submits. She gives herself to Kas and makes his pleasure and comfort the most important thing in hopes of healing and reassuring Kas of her feelings and commitment to him. They shared a beautiful night only for the damage of Kas’s concussion to rob him of the memory. They continue this dance of kind Kas and cruel Kas until he breaks and reveals his true feelings and fears to her. It is at that point that he realizes that he needs to free Gemma. He had discovered by reading one of the medical journals that his condition could take years to repair and in the meantime his instability/memory erasures could cause him hurt or even worse kill her. Kas decides to make the ultimate sacrifice for Gemma and he decides to release her. As he says goodbye to her in the only way he knows how, his mind begins to remember the brutal violation of Gemma that he perpetrated. Horrified and sickened by the recollection Kas bolts away and tries to run as far from Gemma as he can. He realizes that there is no other choice he has to make her leave for her safety. As Kas flees from Fable Gemma is determined that she will not let him run away from what they have built. She will not give up or turn her back on him. As she runs after him, she finds herself in a cave she did not recognize. Stumbling blindly through the cave, she realizes to late that she is not alone and the beast that has her now is much worse than Kas because this appears to be a patron of Fables who has been looking for Kas after all this time. I literally yelled at my book because this cliffhanger is worse than the first. My mind is racing with need for the next book. I am again so glad that I was given the opportunity to receive an ARC for this amazing series. Again, this book does contain trigger warnings but if you are looking for a beautifully scarred hero with a need for redemption. A heroine who fights her fears and has an above average heart for empathy and forgiveness then this series is for you. I would give this book 10 stars if I could. See for yourself.