NetGalley Devours: Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian

Today I’m excited to review a fantasy title from one of our independent publishers. Did you catch Cobweb Bride in our recent NetGalley Roundup? If you’ve already read and reviewed this book, be sure to share your review via the Feedback section in NetGalley, or on Facebook and Twitter! (#NGdevours)

Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian
Norilana Books; Pub Date July 15, 2013
Cobweb Bride


COBWEB BRIDE (Cobweb Bride Trilogy, Book One) is a history-flavored fantasy novel with romantic elements of the Persephone myth, about Death’s ultimatum to the world.

In an alternate Renaissance world, somewhere in an imaginary “pocket” of Europe called the Kingdom of Lethe, Death comes, in the form of a grim Spaniard, to claim his Bride. Until she is found, in a single time-stopping moment, all dying stops. There is no relief for the mortally wounded and the terminally ill.

While kings and emperors send expeditions to search for a suitable Bride for Death, armies of the undead wage an endless war… A black knight roams the forest at the command of his undead father… Spies and political treacheries abound at the imperial Silver Court…. Murdered lovers find themselves locked in the realm of the living…

And one small village girl, Percy—an unwanted, ungainly middle daughter—is faced with the responsibility of granting her dying grandmother the desperate release she needs.

As a result, Percy joins the crowds of other young women of the land in a desperate quest to Death’s own mysterious holding in the deepest forests of the North…

And everyone is trying to stop her. [From the Publisher]


Fantasy is one of my favorite genres—I love getting lost in new worlds with new rules. And as far as getting lost goes, Cobweb Bride did not disappoint! Nazarian has woven a skillful web—the themes of loss and being lost are found throughout the various story lines that converge within this story.

As the book begins the reader is immediately drawn into the suspense of an impending death, and the surprise when Death shows up but does not do his duty. We are led to various scenes throughout this realm as the ability to die is suspended, though the physicality of death is not—never-ending last breaths, soldiers rising from the battlefield, shambling, self-aware bodies suffering the act of dying without moving on. Nazarian gives the reader ample time to settle into the horror of the new rules of this world and shows how at a loss the characters are for how to deal with this.

We soon discover that Death himself, an iconic and romantic Spaniard, is also at a loss—he is missing a piece of himself, his Cobweb Bride. And until she is brought before him, he will not collect the souls of those who should be dead. His request is mysterious and not fully formed, he’s unable to describe who, exactly, should be delivered to his Keep and, so, the young women of the realm must also become lost.

As the women—ladies and peasants alike—leave their homes, they make their way slowly into the Northern Forest, unsure of where they are headed but determined to present themselves to Death in the hopes of becoming his bride and allowing those they love to pass on from this life.

I loved the macabre imagery that Nazarian presents, a lovely balance of the grotesque and romantic. Her characters grow and change throughout the story, making this a quick and satisfying read. I was especially pleased to see Percy find her confidence. In fact, she seems to be the only character NOT lost as she embarks on the journey to become a Cobweb Bride.

This is the first book in the Cobweb Bride Trilogy, and I look forward to getting lost again in the mysteries surrounding all of these characters, especially Percy, the Infanta, and Death.

This is a Read Now title in the NetGalley catalog! I read it on my Kindle app for iPad.

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– Review written by Kristina Radke, Publisher Liaison and Communications Manager


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