Thursday, October 15, 2015

Review: Dark Heart of Magic

DARK HEART OF MAGIC
Black Blade #2
Jennifer Estep
Paranormal Young Adult
368 pages
Kensington Teen
Available October 27th
Source: ARC from author for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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...


MY THOUGHTS
Dark Heart of Magic returns us to the monster-infested town of Cloudburst Falls, a tourist hot spot ruled by magical families on the cusp of all-out war. For many of us voracious readers, second books in a series are often entered into with trepidation, common pitfalls and sequel plot formulas giving us a nervous tic as we crack the spine, but Ms. Estep never fails to deliver no matter the book order. Dark Heart of Magic is action-packed from beginning to end, giving us new insight into main character Lila while delving more deeply into Family politics until the rumbles of unease between the major players is so loud we can practically feel the vibration through the pages.

Lila is rough around the edges in the best possible way, used to being on her own before being conscripted into service by the Sinclairs and therefore loath to take orders from anyone but herself. She’s never obnoxious about it however, pushing boundaries here and there but at the same time adapting to having a group of people who care about where she goes and what she does. She’s always upfront with any information she gathers–somewhat of a rarity in YA heroines who so often keep things frustratingly to themselves–sharing with those in her social group as well as the head of the Family so they can all attack the problem at hand together. Lila ensures her world is delightfully secret-free, sparing us unnecessary stress as we wonder when various truths are going to come to light and wreak havoc on whatever emotional foundation has been built.

The romance between Lila and Devon is present but still very much on the back burner, this installment seeing Lila come to terms with a few things about herself before granting herself permission to take a risk on their relationship. The two of them make a memorable pair despite the action taking center stage, and it will undoubtedly be fun to see how things progress in future books. The only minor quibble with this second book is the villain is easily identifiable early on, but the why of their actions is much more important than the who, and we’re left thoroughly satisfied by the time we reach the last page.

Rating: 4/5

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This book was sent to me by the author  free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

35 comments:

  1. Yay! Glad you liked this as much as I did Jenny. This is turning out to be such a fun series. I'm so sad the last book will be it though, it will be hard to say goodbye to them all!

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    1. Is it only a trilogy? NOOOOOO! I want 5+ books because I'm greedy like that:)

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  2. I'm glad that this one delves more into Family politics because that's something that I wanted more of in the first book. Looking forward to eventually reading this one, Jenny :)

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    1. Yes, I loved that we got to see all the trouble brewing between the Families. Looking forward to that coming to a head in the next book Z!

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  3. I skipped a bit your review because I need to read it but I'm glad to see you had a good time with it. I'm so curious!!!

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    1. I can't wait to see what you think Melliane!

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  4. I only read the synopsis, and I already want to read this book. I skipped some of the review because I want to go into this book with a fresh mind.

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    1. I hope you love it as much as I did Marie!

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  5. Sheesh, I'm still trying to work on the Elemental series. I should just read the first book in this one, maybe I'll eve like it more.

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    1. To be fair, there are a lot of books in the Elemental series, so it takes a while to get caught up:) I hope you get to this series soon though!

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  6. OOoh very nice! I passed on reviewing this one this go around mainly because I was overwhelmed with my current review state. I did really enjoy this series and do plan to read this one eventually as well! And it's almost here now! Yay! Great review!

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    1. I completely understand Jessica! I hope you find some time to read it soon though:)

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  7. Is she stabbing herself?

    Oh you got the same spummer as I have. Annoying

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    1. *snort* I don't think so ;-) Lila's pretty badass with a blade!

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  8. I agree, I remember knowing early on who the villain was, still, I am enjoying this series as I always do with Estep. Looking forward to more.

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    1. Same here Heidi! I always pick up her books as soon as they're in my hands and read them knowing I'm going to have a good time:)

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  9. I haven’t heard about this series before and I’m not sure I’m in the mood for this kind of read right now, especially with your remark about easily identifiable villain. Glad to hear you enjoyed it, it’s so true that the second installments often disappoint readers. Wonderful review, Jenny!

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    1. I love her books because they're all largely self-contained, so there are never ugly cliffhangers or fluff books. There's a complete story in each one plus the development of a larger plot arc for the series:)

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  10. I need to start this series! Great review, Jenny!

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    1. Do it Amanda! I love Jennifer Estep:)

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  11. I reaallyyyy need to get started on this series before a dozen or so installments release and I feel too intimidated to pick this up. Especially because I've been dying to join the Estep band wagon for awhile and simply haven't had the time. Anyhow, gorgeous review as always, Jenny, and I'm so glad to hear that this author never disappoints you! :)

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    1. I hope you get to try her books soon Keertana! The Elemental Assassin series is my favorite but is definitely a little intimidating to start now that it's in the double digits:)

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  12. Yes Jenny, I share my thoughts on Monday, but I loved this one too..I want to visit. I liked the darker aspects and the knowledge we gained

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    1. Yay! So glad to hear you loved it Kim!

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  13. Glad this one actually has a plot and moves forward, Jenny! This series does sound like fun and something I would enjoy. I just need to make time for it. :)

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  14. gah this series looks like a lot of fun, so glad to hear that the romance is a bit on a back burner, I don't mind it slow as long as its not instant.

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  15. I'm glad you enjoyed this one as much as Ali did, Jenny. Lol. I really need to read them!

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  16. So very glad to hear that this one didn't suffer from second book syndrome at all! It makes me want to get into the series much more!
    Great review as usual Jenny!

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