Heart of Mist. Helen Scheurer. Young adult/Fantasy. 2017. 3 stars.
“What’s your name?”
“What’s your real name?”
Henri studied the girl. “With a name like that, no wonder you feel sorry for yourself.”
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
In a realm where toxic mist sweeps the lands and magic is forbidden, all Bleak wants is a cure for her power.
Still grieving the death of her guardian and dangerously self-medicating with alcohol, Bleak is snatched from her home by the Commander of the King’s Army, and summoned to the capital.
But the king isn’t the only one interested in Bleak’s powers.
The leader of an infamous society of warriors, the Valia Kindred, lays claim to her as well, and Bleak finds herself in the middle of a much bigger battle than she anticipated.
Heart of Mist is the gripping first book in The Oremere Chronicles, a fantasy series of epic proportions
I’m gonna start this review by saying that it’s not the book, it’s me. I think I’ve read too many fantasy books one after another that my expectations are set very high—a little too high, in fact.
Heart of Mist had an interesting premise. The reading experience is hard to explain because while the descriptions in the book were beautiful, I found the plot going much faster than I anticipated. The world building was intertwined with its fast-paced plot and I had trouble keeping up.
Some things I want to point out about the book:
- The plot took off too fast. No warm ups, no jogs. We sprinted at full speed in the first chapter with little to no character background or at least a more concrete idea of the setting.
- The pacing was inconsistent. There are parts where it goes too fast and other parts that were too slow and dragging.
- Info dumping. Too much at one go. I understand that we’re reading from the perspective of Bleak, who is just as clueless as any reader, but it felt like having to swallow my an entire meal in one bite.
- The premise of magic was very confusing to me. It’s a common trope but in this universe, the concept of magic wasn’t explained very well so I had to fill in some gaps.
- The Valian kindred. Man, I hated them. Other than the condescending-high-horse-I’m-better-and-stronger-than-you attitude, I couldn’t care for them. Henri was too uptight and started to turn off Bleak—and me. And Athene’s function as a counterbalance to Henri was too obvious.
- The dialogue. It tried too hard and didn’t feel natural at all.
- Annoying main character. Bleak was stubborn, arrogant, and annoying. She whined most of the time and kept pushing everyone’s buttons. I’m not surprised that nobody liked her.
Why the 3-star rating, then? Fiore, Swinton, and Olena. They were the saving grace of this book. If Fiore had his own book, I would read it in a heartbeat. The amazing ending also made up for the shortcomings of this book.
Heart of Mist caters to a specific kind of fantasy reader and I don’t think it was 100% me, but I still enjoyed it.