Book Review: Heart of Mist by Helen Scheuerer

by - 4:01:00 AM

Title: Heart of Mist
Author: Helen Scheuerer
Pages: 487
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: 31 August 2017
From Goodreads: "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."
Thank you to Helen Scheuerer for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for review! All opinions are my own.

I had the opportunity to read two short stories that tie into the world of Heart of Mist back in June and absolutely loved them. The world was beautiful, the writing was unlike any I had read, and I fell in love with Bleak. I was blown away by the fact that Helen was able to make me care so much about everything to do with this world and Bleak in such a short amount of time. I was absolutely hooked and reached out about reading the full Heart of Mist book. Helen was so incredibly kind and sent me an e-ARC of the full book and I somehow managed to fall even more in love with what she has created. This was easily one of my favorite fantasy novels I've ever read and I am so excited to see where this series goes!

All Bleak wants is to find a cure for her magic. In a world where magic is forbidden to use by anyone other than a royal, being able to hear the thoughts of others is a constant danger to orphan Bleak. Known as the town drunk, Bleak dangerously self-medicates with alcohol in order to try and suppress the voices in her head. One day, she's snatched from her home and summoned to the capital on suspicion of being an Ashai, or magic wielder. But the king isn't the only one interested in Bleak and what she can do. The legendary Valia Kindred lay claim to Bleak and soon, she's drawn into a much bigger battle than she ever anticipated.

Seriously, this book was fantastic. I cannot say enough good things about how much I enjoyed reading Heart of Mist. There was action, magic, strong female fighters, deception, politics, friendships, and no freaking romance. Okay, that came out wrong, because there is romance, but it's not the main plot point and it doesn't happen with the main character! I can't tell you how tired I am of reading books where the main plot point is the romance between two characters and it completely overshadows the overall story. I was absolutely over the moon when I realized that Bleak was not going to get caught up in a romantic plot! Heart of Mist has so much to offer and even if you like your YA fantasy to have romance in it, you won't even miss it here.

There is so much that happens in this story with several characters (yes, it's a multiple POV book, we'll get to that) and it was so much fun following the different characters and watching their stories unfold. Nothing is thrown at you all at once but rather introduced or touched on and then explained more as the story goes on. Info-dumping is not a problem with Heart of Mist and you definitely learn all of the things that you need to know when you need to know them. This book flows like the ocean; unpredictable during a storm but beautiful when the calm finally comes. You never know what's going to happen next and that's what makes this book so exciting. Heart of Mist is full of so many exciting things and it was an absolute treat to have the opportunity to read this incredible start to the series.

I mentioned above that this is a multiple POV book. If you've been following my reviews for any amount of time you know that I seriously dislike multiple POV's in books, especially if there are more than two. But Heart of Mist pulled off what I never thought a book could accomplish and it made the changing points of view enjoyable to read. I didn't think it would happen, but it did. I loved Bleak, I truly did, but getting to read about everyone else and what was happening to them outside of what was happening to Bleak was so much fun. I never felt like I was missing out on anything but rather that I was learning more as I read the book and got to see what the other characters were experiencing. Of course, I was hesitant at first simply because I dislike multiple POV books, but I quickly learned to love them. They were so much more than I initially thought they would be and I genuinely enjoyed watching their stories unfold. I can't imagine where they'll go from here on out, but I'm eagerly awaiting the continuation of the series so I can find out.

Bleak was an all-around amazing character. She was broken and flawed but she was also incredibly strong. Because I had read the short prequel stories, I already knew that Bleak had a drinking problem, but I didn't realize just how bad it was. My heart broke for her because she was addicted to drinking in order to try and dull her mind reading abilities that, if revealed, would pretty much lead to her death. It was so sad to watch her struggle with her addiction, but by the end, I think she was able to overcome it. Reading about her journey from start to finish was a journey that I never wanted to end. Bleak is just such an amazing character and after that absolutely explosive ending, I am so excited to see where she goes in the next book!

In my review for the two prequel stories, I said that I thought the writing was beautiful and alluring, and the same easily can be said for Heart of Mist. This was undoubtedly my favorite part of the book and I just could not get over the fact that the writing was so fantastic. It really brings you into Bleak's world and you can effortlessly get lost in everything that is going on. It's so descriptive and elegant and draws out feelings of magic, wonder, and mystery. My personal favorite part, and probably the longest part, is when Bleak travels to Valia. It's written so well and I loved picturing the Valian people and their lifestyle. Just like with the prequel stories, Heart of Mist has one of my absolute favorite lines that I've had the pleasure of reading:

"The mist is coming, and with it comes a power so hungry for magic, it threatens the whole realm."

Does that not just draw some seriously eerie imagery in your head? If I read it separate from the story, it would definitely catch my interest and make me wonder just what is so bad about the mist. To me, that's the sign of a great writer. If you can capture my interest with just one line, I'm sold. It didn't take much to get me hooked on Heart of Mist and with it's magical, bewitching, exceptional writing that is truly unlike any you will experience, I'm positive that others will be instantly hooked as well.

Heart of Mist is an unforgettable new YA fantasy with a story that stands out from all the rest. You'll be drawn in to Bleak's world with the magical writing, incredible character development, and a story line that will leave you breathless. If you're tired of the same old predictable YA fantasy plots that are out there, pick up Heart of Mist and prepare for an extraordinary adventure you won't soon forget!

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