Monday, 26 October 2015

Book Review: Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep

Dark Heart of Magic (Black Blade #2) by Jennifer Estep
Format: eARC from NetGalley
Release Date: October 27th, 2015

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...

 I am a HUGE fan of Jennifer Estep's books. I've managed to read all of her Mythos Academy books (save for her ebooks... I've yet to get to them, so shhhhhh) and I loved them all. When I found out she was starting a new series, I jumped right on it. Right when I got my hands on Cold Burn of Magic, I discovered the second book has been released onto Netgalley so naturally... I requested it and then proceeded to read the first book immediately. I fell in love with the first book. The second one... not as much...

It starts off promising: the Tournament of Blades is about to start. With everything that's going on, it barely registers in Lila's mind until someone in the family brings it up. She becomes excited to be a spectator in this event... until she discovers that the Sinclair family actually chose her as one of the very few to participate in the tournament for her skills. She's surprised, but then slowly accepts the reality of things. After all, with her memories that she held of the competition sight seeing with her mother, it could be fun. She might not win but at least she'd enjoy herself. Right?

From there, though, it starts to go downhill...

One of the things I found quiet annoying was how long Lila spent in the Draconi's mansion. Her plan was to find secrets that she needs, once her and her family discovers that these mysterious 'accidents' couldn't just be so, to prove that it could be them. Alright, you see... I kind of estimate the time spent in one situation by pages (or, in this case, ebook pages) and it just seems like a lot of pages was put in with her exploring the manor, finding hidden doors, hiding, getting caught by someone in her family, discussion on how they shouldn't get caught and yet stay around for another five minutes. It got me incredibly irritated. It almost even overshadowed the event itself. Well, I could be exaggerating a little bit..

The point is - despite knowing just how much danger Lila was in, she doesn't really make much of an effort to leave until she almost finds herself caught by Victor Draconi himself. Even more so even she goes back again (although, in that defense, there was an even better reason for it and she actually had a plan and backup... so it made a bit more sense).

But the worst offense... the worst of it is at the end and I can't even talk about it. It's too spoilery but I just...

The best way I can put it, without ruining anything, was that it felt plain lazy. I know it's an urban fantasy book and stuff but, still, it has it limits and I had a hard time believing it. Even now, after a month of my reading this book, I just... *rams head into desk several times out of irritation*





*looooooong sigh*

The characters are still wonderful, though. They still held the same spark from the first book and they're just as loveable - or, in some cases, not so loveable. The characters still hold up on their own and I actually ended up falling in love with a couple of them. Definitely a character driven book.

The story itself, though... I was fairly disappointed. I might be biased with all the high expectations I normally set for book series I love. I still recommend the book but it's definitely not my favorite part of the series. It's still a necessary read if you want to learn more about Lila and her past but part of me still kind of felt like it was almost like a filler. I don't even recall there being a point to the tournament or why it was even created. I don't know. >: I'd love to know why it exists though.

Overall - I'd still read it. I really hope the third book is much much better though.

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