REVIEW: Wildest Dreams (Fantasyland, #1)

Wildest Dreams (Fantasyland Series) - Kristen Ashley

This was my first Kristen Ashley book. This may upset some people to say, since I know that she has a big fanbase, but I don't think that KA is that good of a writer. Some of her sentences in this book were worded in such way that it made my brain hurt. I often had to re-read sentences to try to figure out what she was even trying to convey. I also found a lot of typos, and personally, I hate when an author has to consistently use curses to convey strong emotions. But, while KA may not be a strong writer, she is definitely a strong story teller, which makes up for a lot of weaknesses in the prose itself.

Wildest Dreams is a fantasy/adventuremance, centering around Seoafin "Finnie" Wilde (from our world), and Frey Drakkar (from a parallel world with fantasy elements). Finnie trades places with Princess Sjofn, her "twin" (so to speak, even though there's no actual relation) from the parallel world. What Sjofn didn't tell Finnie before the switch, however, was that she was slated to wed The Drakkar, who is a pretty intimidating dude. Once the switch takes place, that becomes Finnie's fate. But, once The Drakker (Frey) figures out that Finnie isn't Sjofn (whom he really dislikes), he warms up to her pretty quickly, and adventuremance ensues.

While I really enjoyed the story, I had a few issues with this set up. For one, I find Frey's reason for hating Sjofn so intensely (prior to finding out about the switch) a bit unfair. While I understand the situation (basically being that Sjofn is a lesbian) would cause a lot of frustration and maybe even a bit of anger, the outright hatred he seems to have toward her (or Finnie, thinking that Finnie is Sjofn) seems unfair and unwarranted. If anything, I think a bit of sympathy might be warranted toward Sjofn, and I really hated that Frey was such a dick about it. It was kind of hard for me to reconcile the jerk that he was in the beginning versus the amazingly sweet guy he was with Finnie throughout the book, making his behavior the beginning seem more like a plot ploy than anything else.

As for Finnie, I really enjoyed her. It did get a little grating how everyone just couldn't help but love her (ugh), except of course for the most evil characters, and that this was often shoved down our throats. But, for the most part, she was a fun protagonist that's worth rooting for.

While the strength of the story and world-building made this book good, the writing and pacing kept it from being great. Some parts of the book made me impatient to find out what happened next in Finnie's adventures, while some parts seemed to just drag. Furthermore, there were constant time jumps in the book (two weeks later... one day later... one month later... etc.) that I found really jolting and distracting.

As for the romance, it was mostly sweet and enjoyable, with a lot of hot smut as well... but overall, there was nothing all too memorable about it. Frey just seemed to fall in love with Finnie so quickly, and I think it would have been more believable if he took a bit more time trying to discover and understand his feelings.

I think my overall takeaway from this book is that Kristen Ashley is the kind of writer who will deliver a book with a great and engaging story, a sweet romance, and fun adventures. I'm not sure if she can deliver a book with quality writing and layers of depth, though. With that said, sometimes you are just in the mood for these light, fluff reads (as I am now), so I definitely am going to go and check out more of KA's works, even as I finish writing this!