If I had to pick a favourite genre, it probably wouldn’t be fantasy. It’s not that I don’t like them; they just take me a while to read and a lot of the time, I enjoy them less than other genres like YA contemporary. However, debut author Helen Scheuerer got in touch with me recently to tell me about her new YA fantasy novel, Heart of Mist – and I HAD to read it. It sounded far too good to miss!
Not only is the cover absolutely beautiful, but the synopsis sounds great too! If you love the sound of it as much as I did, you can read an exclusive excerpt that I posted a few weeks ago or use the buy links at the end of this post.
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.
Heart of Mist by Helen Sheuerer:
The first thing I noticed about this book was that the protagonist, Bleak, is not your average protagonist. She’s an alcoholic and a ‘gutter rat’, always running from place to place after the death of her parental figure. She really has a complex mind: she’s an orphan with low self-esteem, low standards (she often sleeps on the street after passing out drunk), and to top it all off, she has a magic power: she can read people’s thoughts.
I worried that Bleak’s power would be very typical. Mind reading is done to death in so many fantasy and YA novels and it can get a bit boring. I was pleasantly surprised, though – Bleak’s power was so much more developed than simply hearing other people’s thoughts. As the book progresses and she discovers more about her magic, we learn that there’s so much more to it than that. It was so cool to see Bleak train her mind and learn how to really use her power.
The thing I loved about this book was the vast range of secondary characters! Every single character was different and had their own quirks and they own stories to tell. Each one of them was written with a kind of depth that made them seem so real, even if they were the most minor of characters.
I especially liked the storyline involving a stable boy called Dash and his best friend Olena, a blind princess who in no way lets her disability affect her. I really loved her strength and passion. Their friendship is the most unlikely, but one of my favourites in the whole book! I was rooting for them to stay friends and after a few twists and turns in their friendship, I’m really hoping we see more of them in the second book.
The Story & Structure
One element that gave Heart of Mist depth and kept it intriguing was the number of storylines that slowly started to weave together. At first, each storyline and each collection of characters are separate to each other and seem in no way related, but as the story progresses, they begin to intertwine. I appreciate this a lot in a novel; I sometimes prefer it to a straight, linear story. It kept me hooked and I loved learning about so many new characters and how they would link with the rest of the plot.
If you’ve read any of my reviews before, you’ll know how much I love twisty turns and rollercoaster plotlines. Heart of Mist definitely has this! The plot is so fast-paced and full of energy and there’s not a single dull moment. Each character has their own mission, and the story races to a massive cliffhanger finale. Gahhh, I can’t wait to read the next book and see what happens next!
For someone who says they’re not a massive fan of fantasy novels, I LOVED Heart of Mist. It kept me engaged and hooked from cover to cover with crazy storylines and characters that are full of depth. I genuinely can’t think of a single negative thing to say about it. Just to reiterate how much I liked this book, here are a few handy bullet points of things I loved and why I think you should get a copy right now…
- Great characters. Yes, I know I keep mentioning the characters, but they’re just so great. If you get bored of cookie-cutter stereotypes and boring YA characters, get this book because you’ll be blown away.
- Intriguing plot. Fantasy YA is huuuge at the moment, with the likes of Sarah J. Maas, Maggie Stiefvater and Laini Taylor, just to name a few. There are a ton of different stories out there that it can be hard to create a unique concept. I know I’m not the most well-read when it comes to fantasy, but after a bit of research and reading other people’s reviews, I can safely say that I think the world Helen Scheuerer has created is unique, intriguing and SO well-built!
- No romance! NO ROMANCE!!! I hate too much romance in YA. And not just YA, but any genre. Bleehhh, I’m like 2.5% romantic (I like a nice gift or planning a trip out but that’s where my romantic side ends). So when a YA book is full of romance, I instantly knock off a whole star but unoriginality. Heart of Mist had pretty much NO romance and I LOVED IT. A book doesn’t need romance to be good! For people like me who have literally zero interest in romance, it was so refreshing to read.
Okay, I think I’m going to stop here before this gets stupidly long. If by now you’re wondering if I liked this book, I hope I’ve made it pretty clear. Do you like the sound of Heart of Mist? What’s your general opinion on fantasy novels? Do you hate (or love, that’s fine too) romance in novels and life in general? I’d love to have a discussion in the comments!
Click the links below to buy a copy of Heart of Mist* or read about it on Goodreads. If you want even more, there are some free prequels for you to enjoy too!