Title: Heart of Mist
Author: Helen Scheuerer
Genre: Young adult fantasy
Publication Date: August 31st
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars
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 received this e-arc from Helen herself in exchange for an honest review. Please note that all thoughts are my own and have not been influenced in any way. Also, thank you to Helen for giving me the opportunity to read this amazing novel.
I’m going to be honest, when I started reading this, I had no idea what it was going to be about because I had forgotten the synopsis after picking it a month after Helen contacted me. I was also weary of the fantasy genre because I had recently been disappointed by my last fantasy read. HOWEVER, I was pleasantly surprised by first few chapters and I hoped it wouldn’t turn out too bad because it had so much potential. Spoiler: IT TURNED OUT TO BE AMAZING!!
The prologue and first chapter were mysterious and intriguing, which hooks the reader immediately. The first chapter sets up a good foundation for the world-building and characters.
From the moment Bleak, our 19-year old protagonist, appeared, I immediately took a liking to her. There was something about Bleak that made me feel connected to her. Her voice, and essentially Helen’s writing, is smooth and easy to read. Bleak is also independent and strong, in her own way, but she lacks the skills to form good relationships. As I read, I kept thinking that if she was more honest with Bren, a boy she’d grown up with, their relationship might be stronger and more stable than it currently is. But that’s not to say I didn’t love both of them, because I loved them (poor Bren!! If you read it, you’ll know why). Despite Bleak’s selfish and sometimes hurtful tendencies, she truly has a good heart and a strong sense of wrong and right. I also liked how Bleak didn’t have control of her power and we see her train hard to try to control and maintain it, unlike in many other books and movies, the protagonist gets a power and is able to control it almost immediately.
There were many character introduced into this world and I grew to love most of them. Let’s start with the King’s soldiers. Commander Swinton shows a cold exterior and could possibly be seen as merciless but I think he has a good heart. But he brainlessly follows the King’s orders, never questioning why even if it’s against his morals. BUT we get a glimpse into his head and he does have a heart. Just not a prominent one. Fiore is the other solder I wanted to talk about. He is hilarious and sweet and sympathetic. I ABSOLUTELY ADORED HIM! Throughout the novel, I just kept thinking “There better be no harm coming his way because he is too precious.” Fiore and Commander Swinton have a brothers/best friends relationship and it is amusing to see Fiore trying to irk Commander Swinton and their playful (most of the time) banters are entertaining. The other soldiers don’t get much scene time, so no connection to them were formed.
The Valia Kindred were a different bunch of people, their ways of life are very different and their warrior leader, Henri, is hard-hearted. I actually did like Henri, she may seem a little cold, but she had a strong sense of duty and care for her people AND she does have her kind moments. Athene, who was Henri’s second in command, appeared to be a motherly figure-type person, but I don’t know how I feel about her now. I also loved Luca and her relationship with Bleak. YOU JUST NEED TO READ THIS OKAY?!
Dash and Princess Olena are the last to be introduced to us, but I loved their friendship. Dash is adorable and fierce and I hated how he was restricted to do the things he desired because he was the son of a stable-master. Both their fates has my heart wrenching in pain – they deserve so much more. I guess all I can do is hope for the best for them.
The world building was fantastic, and the history (more like legend) behind the world is mysterious and intriguing. I hope we can find out more about the Helen’s fictional world. The concept of the poisonous mist is also unique and an interesting idea. A world that was once rich in magic, robbed by this mysterious mist? YES PLEASE!! I LOVED Helen’s writing, I found it to be easy to read and natural which is amazing considering this is her debut novel. Her writing is descriptive but not to the point of boredom, just enough descriptiveness to create visuals in one’s head. Honestly, every chapter was thrilling and suspenseful and made me want to keep reading.
THE ENDING CRUSHED ME! There were so many twists and turns leading up to the ending and my gosh, I wasn’t expecting any of them. I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT! I NEED TO DEVOUR MORE OF HELEN’S AMAZING WRITING! I don’t know when the sequel will be released, but I do know it shall be a torturous wait. YOU WILL UNDERSTAND WHEN YOU READ IT!! I definitely recommend this to you guys!! Also: I’m sorry this review ended being long, I had so many thoughts about it.