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Heart of Mist, by Helen Scheuerer, 2017

Title: Heart of Mist

Author: Helen Scheuerer

Publisher: Talem Press

Genre: Fantasy, YA

Format: Kindle ebook

Language: English

No. of pages: 487

Synopsis:

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.

My review:

I received a digital copy of this via my participation in a blog tour organized by Shealea from ShutUpShealea . Thank you, Helen Scheuerer and Talem Press!

Heart of Mist is the first book in the Oremere Chronicles and I was so glad I picked it up. I read it in less than 6 hours I think, spread over two days. As soon as you pick up this book, I assure you that you will not be able to stop. The book is very fast-paced and thus, it is of no wonder that you are pulled in.  

The author has also brought in various themes such as addiction, alcoholism, human nature (which is so unreliable sometimes), the issue of identity etc. Bringing in such aspects within the lives of the characters has made it very relatable for the readers. Mental health is also another theme that is explored here. Sahara is one such character who suffered a lot (from what I have inferred so far). In one way or another, many other characters have also faced such issues that have affected their mental health in one way or another. Trauma is one such factor that has ssailed Bleak – her past is something she tries to run away from, and yet, she cannot let go completely. Oppression – the dominance over a people (the Ashai in this case) is also shown in the book and this is always a sad instance no matter where we read about these instances. Segregation of the Valians – into the kindred and the rest is also portrayed.

The world building is amazing – we see a lot of the Valian life in this book and their world really gave me James Cameron’s Avatar vibes. I would love to see more of the rest of this world. And I am so very excited to read about Oremere.

Bleak as a person is very complex. I love how by the end of this book she is strong enough to resist her temptations and her addiction. Her character arc has been slow and consistent and I hope to see more of her growth throughout the series. Bren is so supportive – I love how he is always there for Bleak and when the time comes, she is willing to do everything possible to save him as well. I would love to see more of Bren throughout the rest. The friendship he shares with Bleak is amazing and their friendly banter, full of humour and wit, is fun to read. There are so many instances in the book when you laugh out loud, and so many times when you feel like crying. It is an emotional ride. And the fact that Bren is such an honourable man is also another plus point for him. Olena and Dash’s friendship is beautiful. At first I was wondering what importance these characters might have in the books and now – oh my god, you need to pick up this series as soon as possible! Henri is also going on her own journey and I look forward to see where she ends up. I would also love to know more about Swinton – his history. He is a very dynamic character – and I admit I still have mixed feelings about him. The multiple points of views used throughout were also great as they focused on various characters and gave us a glimpse into their minds.

Full of political intrigue, adventure, magic and some amazing friendships, Heart of Mist was a really great start to the trilogy. I finished the book today and I am going to pick up the sequel Reign of Mist tonight!

Verdict:

Absolutely loved this book. I rate Heart of Mist a full 5/5 stars and look forward to the sequel.

About the reviewer:

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

Take by heart forever, by Arpit Agarwal, 2018

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Blurb:
“Meet Siddhartha, a good lawyer but a bad human.
Meet Rahul, a good human but a bad doctor.
And meet Shuchi, a good human, and an exceptionally well doctor.
Shuchi tries to make a good human out of Siddhartha and a good doctor out of Rahul, but a bomb blast transforms their lives.
Read this revolutionary tale to know how Siddhartha will get a unique PIL passed in the courtroom and Rahul will perform a life-changing surgery, to save the girl they love.”
In the plot, there is a great mixture among the different aspects of thrill, romance, friendship etc. The love triangle like I have said before, is engaging. The story at the end becomes almost tragic and while completely captivating. At its heart, I feel that this book is a romance, with a distinct impression of it being an epistolary novel as well.
The characters were very well built. In Siddharth, we see a ruthless winning machine- a lawyer who intends to win his cases by hook or by crook, most often the ones which are not perhaps on the legal side. It is only towards the end that we understand his childhood as a factor that drove this need for such power and hunger. He perhaps never knew that there was something apart from winning as well- until he met the heroine of our story. On the other hand, Rahul is a carefree young fellow who returns from the USA after getting his medical dree and joins the hospital where our heroine works, back home in India. Shuchi, the heroine in question, is portrayed as a dynamic force throughout the story- whose actions and views greatly determine how the story goes indirectly, as she greatly affects directly, the ways of the people around her, specifically Siddharth and Rahul. We see the classic trope of the love triangle in this novel and I cannot say that I didn’t like it.
The problems however that I had with the story are firstly the cover; I do not think it portrayed the idea well. Other than that, I truly believe that the editing was rushed through, so much so that I was frustrated and skipped over a few bits. I would really suggest the author to use a beta-reader and then a subsequent editing process after that so as to attain a refined nature about his future works. I also feel that the dialogues should have a bit more a editing done to them, other than that the overall dialogue aspect can be worked on. Keeping in mind all of these, I rate it a 4/5 stars.