Disclaimer: I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
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.
A couple of weeks ago, Helen reached out to me for a review of the entire trilogy. At first I was hesitant, because I tend to be quite picky and a trilogy is quite an investment, but Heart of Mist was honestly such a pleasant surprise.
In this novel, it is women who take centre stage. The plot is wonderfully void of awkward love triangles, insta-love, and vomit-inducing dialogue. Instead, Scheuerer focuses on actual character development. We get to watch as Bleak slowly, but convincingly transforms from the town drunkard into a character more worthy of her gifts. We learn about her morals, her motivations, and her past – which was partly typical of YA, but also surprisingly interesting. She’s not wholely likeable, but I think that’s part of her charm. On top of that, we get to see how other characters such as Henri, Dash, and Swinton become more well-rounded and deserving of empathy as we learn more about them. They’re all somewhat unpredictable, but not unfathomable. From the perspective of character development, everything was really well done.
The world-building in Heart of Mist was also quite impressive. I’m especially excited to learn more about the Battalon culture and the set-up of Valian society. I think the comparison between the matriarchal Valians and the rest of the continent was an interesting set up and I liked that Scheuerer didn’t just make the Valians completely perfect.
The only reason Heart of Mist isn’t getting a higher rating is because of the pacing. I felt like the first thirty-something chapters, while interesting and necessary, were mainly scene setting and background development. Meanwhile, the last five chapters moved the plot along SO much. It was too fast-paced for me in that sense. I felt that too much was left until the last minute though a few of the twists were quite fun and surprising (Swinton!).
Either which way, I’m excited to get started on the sequel and I thoroughly enjoyed this first installation. It was a fast-paced read for me.
A really interesting start to a trilogy. I’m honestly surprised about how excited I am to read the second book because I normally dread sequels (I still haven’t read Holly Black’s The Wicked King). I’m kind of shocked that I haven’t seen this on bookstagram more.