HEART OF MIST by Helen Scheuerer
Verdict: One of the best fantasy book I've read this year!
Bleak wants a cure for her illegal magic, if possible, but mostly, she wants wine every day. A summons from the king is a death sentence to her.
Henri is the queen of Valia, a race of strong female fighters, but she isn't the queen of the realm. A choice she makes could send her people to war with the true king.
Dash is a stable boy, but he's also best friends with the blind princess. He dreams of being a knight, or even just meeting one.
They live in a land which is threatened by a growing mist, one only those with magic can survive.
I loved this right from the start. Beautiful descriptions, dark humour, and a pace that doesn't let up. This is my ideal story.
It had a good balance of action, character, and pace, the three entwined as the plot moved ever forwards, each detailed, but not too heavy to handle. I thought there could perhaps be more world building, as the mist isn't very 'present' until towards the end, but perhaps this was a necessary sacrifice at the beginning of the book to get things going, as it picks up towards the middle. Instead it focuses on Valia, ruled by women warriors, and Adelen, a standard fantasy book fishing town.
I liked all of the main characters, and how their stories were very different but beginning to entwine.
This is very much part one of a bigger story. I found every chapter intriguing, but there are no big fireworks or gut-wrenching twists. The story is smart and building to something much bigger than book one, and if book two was around, I'd keep going.
Source: Amazon Kindle Unlimited.