Dark Fae (Ruthless Boys of the Zodiac Book 1) by Stephanie Peckham and Caroline Valenti

Emoji review by Rebecca Dixon

By the stars✨! I did it 🙌🏻! FINALLY👏🏻! I just finished reading ‘Dark Fae,’ Book 1 of Ruthless Boys of the Zodiac (RB) by Caroline Peckham & Susanne Valentini! 🥳🥳🥳 (There are NO SPOILERS and I am NOT affiliated with the author… reading is JUST a hobby!)

Ok so here’s the deal! I REALLY took my time reading the first 6 books of Zodiac Academy (cause even though they are AMAZING 🤩 they are hefty in length & on the heart!) … and ZA is the original series set in the same world as RB (even though RB is a prequel!) And there’s allllll kinds of opinions out there on the correct reading order 😜… but after talking to my BFF (AKA, my personal ZA and RB expert who msg’d me daily for months asking when I was going to start RB because she was DYING 😩 for me to start her FAVORITE series 😅)… that’s the order I settled on! And oh WOW 🤩! These two series are very different from one another …but also, extremely similar in several fantastic ways 👏🏻! So if you have been hearing about these series (seriously they are super HOT right now & have some MAJOR hard-core fans… like we are talking SJM level on fans 😲😲😲!) … and you’re wondering how they relate to one another & if one (or both) is for you… stay tuned 📺 ! I’ll hit that in a minute (spoiler free, of course!) 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

Alright! So MOST important item of note is… this is a RH 🔥🔥🔥! What’s an RH you say?! It’s a Reverse Harem… you know what a harem is! Yeah, so back in the day with kings and stuff (I know, I’m so eloquent 😂!) … a powerful man would have a harem of women (concubines 💋) to tend to his every carnal 🍆 need! So a REVERSE harem is the opposite of that… it’s a female getting a harem of men to love ❤️ on her 🔥! There are LOTS of different kinds of RH’s out there across genres and they can range from super fast-burn with lots & lots of smut 🌶 to super slow-burn with light smut & emphasis on more non-romance plotlines! So honestly, just trying one isn’t really representative or what’s out there 😁! I tend to prefer a RH that is super slow- burn, where multiple partners make sense to the story and aren’t just thrown in for the heck of it 🤪! I also prefer for the non-romantic plotline to keep going strong 💪🏻, but with the occasional smut 🔥! I pretty much want to be soooooo HOOKED🪝 on the idea of the multiple dudes.. that way when the time finally comes, I’m like PRAISE 🙏🏻 the BOOK gods that the FMC is like “why not all?! 🤷🏻‍♀️😉😁😁😁! So here’s what I think is the GREAT 🤩 news! Book 1 of RB is definitely a SLOW BURN 🔥 RH!! And to be honest, Book 1 really didn’t feel like a RH at all 😲! If I didn’t already know it was a RH, I’d probably think that our lilac 💜 haired FMC would end up with just one guy after lots of competition! But thanks goodness 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻! This is not the case 😜!

So let’s dive 🏊‍♂️ right into the story! OK 👏🏻! So it is actually pretty GREAT 🤩. I DID NOT expect a MYSTERY 🔎! After reading ZA, which has been known to TEAR your heart 💔 out in the BEST 🏆 of ways 😂… I’m not sure what I expected 🤷🏻‍♀️! But this story takes off with a struggling FMC who grew up in a family trying to make-ends-meet and who’s momma (WHO SERIOUSLY TICKED ME OFF 😡!) makes an oopsie 😵 and the FMC’s brother 🦄 has to try to pick up the financial 💰 pieces! We find out pretty quickly that things did not go well for this guy (who I’m sort of falling in love 💜 with during each of his POVs 😩😩😩!) and so our bada$s🤺, takes no crap 💩 (omg I was going to do the 👊🏻 emoji but then 💩 popped up and I just can’t not 😂😂😂)… anyhoo so our girl heads off to the Academy to try to figure out what REALLY went down with her big bro, yo! Throw in 4 super HOT 🥵🥵🥵🥵 guys who, unlike ZA, aren’t trying to BULLY 😈 the heck out of the FMCs but instead WOO 💕 this FMC… all while she doesn’t know if any of them were truly involved with her BRO’s misfortune 😲… and this book kept my interest super peaked 🙌🏻! I actually didn’t even take a beat to write this like I normally do after I finish a book… I went straight into Book 2 and I can tell you, Book 2 is pretty fantastic so far 👏🏻🙌🏻👏🏻! I’m already DYING laughing 🤣 in Book 2 (🦁, wow, yeah 🦁 …😅😅😅!)

Ok so much to talk about here 👏🏻! First off, Elise! Our FMC. Lilac 💜 hair…VAMPIRE 🩸! Super FAST 🏃🏻‍♀️ and super BALLSY 😒. Just does what she wants and I AM DOWN for it 🙋🏻‍♀️! There’s no one gonna push our girl around 👊🏻! And true to the author’s form, this book is LOADED with different POV’s that really give you insight into each of these characters! So much so, that this is one of the few RH’s where each of the guys have a SUPER distinct personality and by the end of Book 1, I really LOVED 💜 each of them in their own separate way! Not to mention… these guys are 🔥🔥🔥! Like super super super 🥵🥵🥵! And they are freaking hysterical 😂… OMG one of the scenes 😅… involving a certain request to a Spring Formal 👗 … OMG… I can’t even 😆! So WELL written 👏🏻. I was DYING 😅. I started messaging my BFF! So HILARIOUS 🤣. I honestly can’t think of a better way that could have been written! 🙌🏻👏🏻🙌🏻

But back on the plotline! Not only is the mystery 🔎 super interesting and I literally cannot wait to find out all the details 👏🏻… this book is actually LOADED with tons of entertaining interactions between the fellas and our girl 💜. AND OMG 🦁! The Mindy’s! How do the author’s think of this stuff?! 😂😂😂 And I’m not gonna lie .. a certain🐉 is pretty funny too at times! He was the first one that I was messaging my girlfriends about… so Stronzo 😅! Oh WOW 🤩 Gabriel… this guy with his black wings and tattoos… smoldering! But after falling for each guy.. I think my fav is 🐍 ! He’s just such a harda$s and would burn 🔥 the world for our girl! Actually… any of them would 🙌🏻! They really are all SUPER alphas 🥵 and I am totally here for it 👏🏻! AND THE STEAM 🔥! SMOKING 🔥! This is NOT YA, y’all!

Now! I promised you a comparison to ZA 😁… if you have been following this little fun emoji 🤩 hobby of mine, this is HIGHLY irregular of me to compare two different series in one of my emoji reviews 😲! But I think it MUST be done ✅ ! OK! So ZA and RB are both set in an Academy atmosphere (although they really aren’t juvenile in anyway…not what I would think of as an Academy YA series!) Both series have different POV’s and a very unique writing style! You can definitely tell the same authors (who by the way, are sisters and WOW 🤩🙌🏻👏🏻.. how they write together like this so amazingly 🤩 I will never know!) … so yeah, you can definitely tell both series were written by the same authors! They just have their quirky humor stamp all over both series and I LOVE 💗 that about their books! So YES, both series have super similar feels and if you love one, chances are, you will love the other 🙌🏻! RB is actually a prequel to ZA, but even though it’s chronologically set first… ZA was published first. Hence all the different opinions on reading order! Now, there is a pretty distinct difference between the two series and this may also be why one series is for you while the other may not be as much! ZA is a hardcore bully 😈romance… we have 4 guys but they are big time bullies to our girls! Granted… there’s a reason… and it’s totally worth it when you get there! But nevertheless, there is some hardcore bullying 😈 for a few books in the series! Also, ZA is also NOT A RH! RB, on the other hand, has 4 guys… these guys are RUTHLESS Faes, yes, but it’s not super hardcore bullying to our FMC! Whereas the ZA guys are trying to push the girls away with the extreme bullying, the RB guys are trying to land our FMC and make her “mine” (SWOON 😍!) And let me tell you, the male one-ups to get our FMC’s attention is really, REALLY fantastic in RB 🥳! So much so, that I’d say if you ever never tried a RH… I definitely would give this a one a go 🏁! It’s super unique and original! There really isn’t anything out there like it! And it’s SUPER nice to know that when it’s all said and done, since this is a RH… we won’t be in AGONY 😩 like we would over a love triangle 🔺(Team Jacob all the way baby 😆… ok ok Edward for Bella but Jacob for me 🤣!)

So all that being said (I know, this one was a novel, but let’s be honest.. this has been a LONG time coming 😆 & honestly, I thought it may be helpful to give my 2 cents on common questions I see all the time about this series!)…. I’m diving 🏊‍♀️ back into Book 2 after writing this! Yes, it’s nearly 4am and yep… I’m doing it! So if you LOVE 💜 a MYSTERY 🔎 in your plotline, a RH that is SLOW-burn with some GREAT steam 🔥, a FMC that puts up with NO CRAP 🤺, MMCs that are super unique and all SUPER loveable 🥵 in their own way, a REALLY original writing 📕 style, and some pretty dang GREAT 🤩humor 😆… I’d totally give this a shot! It’s free on KU! What do you have to lose? It may just be the RH that is destined in the STARS ✨ for you!