Sunday, November 8, 2015

ARC Review: Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep

Dark Heart of Magic
by Jennifer Estep
Book 2 in the Black Blade series

Something Wicked This Way Comes...

As a thief, I stick to the shadows as much as possible. But when the head of the Sinclair Family picks me to compete in the Tournament of Blades, there's no escaping the spotlight—or the danger.

Even though he's my competition, Devon Sinclair thinks I have the best shot at winning what's supposed to be a friendly contest. But when the competitors start having mysterious "accidents," it looks like someone will do anything to win—no matter who they hurt.

As if I didn't have enough to worry about, mobster Victor Draconi is plotting against Devon and the rest of my friends, and someone's going around Cloudburst Falls murdering monsters. One thing's for sure. Sometimes, humans can be more monstrous than anything else...

Something is afoot in Cloudburst Falls that goes beyond the paranormal creatures that live here.  This town is inhabited by a variety of supernatural characters.  There is a tenuous balance between the ruling families but they all come together during the Tournament of Blades. Although she has only been a member of the Sinclair family for a short time, Lila Merriweather has been chosen to represent the family along with the favored son, Devon. 

When I read about the upcoming tournament, I was thrilled.  Tournaments present the perfect opportunity for all kinds of shenanigans and conspiracies.  You have all the major players involved and you never know where the next trapdoor will open.  Delicious!  This is the exciting part of the story as Jennifer Estep expertly choreographs the pitfalls and triumphs of our characters to a satisfying end.  

Over the years, I have read less and less Young Adult books.  I’m not as attracted to the traditional YA themes and have very little tolerance for love triangles.  However, I adore this series, mostly, because it doesn’t read like a YA book to me. For me, I can imagine Lila being a relative of Gin Blanco (the main character in the author’s Elemental Assassin story). It has a similar emotional draw and I really love the vivid characters created by Ms. Estep.  

Imagine if you were a teenager who lived in the periphery all you life and then one day you save the life of the most popular guy in school.  Can you imagine the insecurity you might feel? Even after be reassured of your new place in this new family, you might wait for the school to drop.  

Lila Merriweather is now a member of the Sinclair family.  She guards over the Family Bruiser and favored son, Devon.  Even as she settles in, she is still weary about letting down her guard; even through she feels a thrilling attraction to Devon.  She is in conflict between being independent and not trusting people and feeling a sense of fidelity and loyalty to her new friends.  I like that she is battling her instinct verses her values. Her choices will truly tested in the upcoming book. This story sets the groundwork for an epic battle, one that is so highly anticipated that I’m rubbing my hands with glee.  Oh, I just cannot wait. 

This middle book does its job – Making us care for what happens to our characters and setting us up for an epic next book. 

Thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. 

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