Dark Heart of Magic (Black Blade #2)
Author: Jennifer Estep
Release Date: October 27th 2015
Rating: 5 Stars!
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...
Dark Heart of Magic is the riveting second book in a magnificent young adult paranormal/urban fantasy series that will leave readers begging for more. The book continues to follow our main character, Lila, as she lives her version of a normal life in Cloudburst Falls - dubbed the "most magical place in America." Lila is still a fantastic main character for the series. She's tough, smart, strong, determined, and isn't afraid to do what needs to be done. She's also a Magick - a person with magical abilities - but keeps this information as secret as possible. The story is told from Lila's point of view, which (if you've read any of my other reviews) I think is the best writing style. The reader gets to really connect with Lila right from the start of the book. We get to see things happen from her perspective and are privy to her innermost thoughts, dreams, fears, memories, and doubts - and so much more. Since the story is being told by Lila, the tone of the book is more conversational and personal than any other point of view allows. It makes the reader feel like a part of the story - either like Lila's telling the story to them or if they were right there alongside her while it happened. None of the other POVs offers this kind of connection with the narrator or the ability to completely immerse yourself into the story - which is one of several reasons why it's my favorite.
I had somewhat high hopes and expectations for this book before I even started it because of how much I adored the first book in the series. Some series can start off really strong and then go downhill really fast after that. I'll just say that what I thought were high expectations and hopes turned out to be nothing compared to the mesmerizing story inside those pages. I can honestly say that I loved every single thing about this book - which is really rare for me! Each aspect of the book was fantastic, and when you combined them into the novel - it was nothing short of phenomenal.
One of the best parts of this book (and series) is the world building, hands down. The author created such a diverse and unique setting for the story to take place in that I didn't want to leave it. In Lila's world, there are regular people along with Magicks, actual monsters, and rival Families fighting each other for control over the city. Each of these categories of characters are different from one another for varying reasons. The Magicks are people with magical abilities called Talents; the Families are rival mob families who are fighting with one another to take over the city; and the monsters - well, there are a ton of them - and each has it's own distinct features and behaviors. I absolutely loved learning everything I could about each type of monster, the different kinds of people, and the Families that I could. I loved that the city didn't hide the fact that there were literal monsters there. All of the intricate details the author included made this world really come to life for me and I can't wait for the next book to release so I can revisit it. There's so much to learn about the city, the people, the history of the Families, the various monsters, etc., and I really hope that we get to continue to learn even more with each installment.
Being the second book in a series, we've already had the chance to get to know all of the various characters and the world building - and getting a good feel for how everything is going to work together. By mixing together all of the various aspects I've described, we get to know Lila's character even deeper, experience more of her world, and learn a ton about the things that go on in Lila's world - from the Families to the Tournament of Blades - and everything in between. It all perfectly sets the stage for the rest of the series - including the plot - and I think that the author did a phenomenal job of deepening our knowledge of several important characters and relationships, along with continuing to create a larger plot line that will continue to carry through to at least the next installment, if not further. The way she wrote it was seamless and the reader doesn't even catch on to what all is happening while they're reading. I was so swept up in the story and immersed in Lila's world that I was only vaguely aware of these things going on in the back of my mind. I honestly don't think it could've been done better. The entire book was fast-paced with vivid imagery and detailed descriptions that had me feeling like I was right there while it was all happening. Every aspect flowed together effortlessly - add in the fast pace and the vivid world building - and the reader will be devouring each page to see what's going to happen next. It was another quick read for me, much like the first book, which bummed me out - but only because I didn't want it to end. I seriously can't recommend this book highly enough! Readers who have experienced the author's writing before know that this is going to be an incredible series. To those of you who are new to her works, like I was, all I can say is that it will suck you in right from the beginning and then proceed to blow your mind - in the best way possible. There are so many genres mixed into the novel that there's bound to be a bit of something for everyone to enjoy. If you haven't started this series yet - DO IT. NOW. If you've read the first book, then you already know what I've been talking about and should already be reading this one - and if you're not, DO IT. NOW. I swear you won't be disappointed.
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Jennifer Estep is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance.
Her Elemental Assassin series follows the life and times of Gin “the Spider” Blanco, a barbecue restaurant owner who also happens to be an assassin with magical control over the elements of Ice and Stone.
The Mythos Academy series focuses on Gwen Frost, a 17-year-old Gypsy girl who has the ability to know an object’s history just by touching it. She studies at Mythos Academy, a school for the descendants of ancient warriors.
Her Bigtime paranormal romance books feature sexy superheroes, evil ubervillains, and smart, sassy gals looking for love.
Estep’s new Black Blade series is about 17-year-old thief Lila Merriweather, who has a Talent for sight, along with the ability to take magic others used against her to boost her own powers. She tries not to get involved with the Families who control much of the town, but ends up in the middle of a potential turf war.
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