Black Blade #2
Paranormal Young Adult
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...
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.
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.