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 have decided that the Black Blade series will now be known as my YA guilty pleasure series because I just really enjoy the hell of out it. I love the characters and the world and love getting lost it in. I actually went back to take a gander at what I wrote in my review for Cold Burn of Magic and found that everything I wrote still applies and then some. This was a book that slowly drew me back into the lives of Lila and the people of Cloudburst Falls and even after a few days everything that happened is still swimming around in my brain, along with a slight frustration at that cliffhanger of an ending.
Dark Heart of Magic starts a few weeks after Cold Burn of Magic ends and as with the first book a lot goes on. Monsters are being slaughtered and the Tournament of Blades, a contest where the families pick their best guards to compete against each other in a ‘friendly’ setting. Then there is figuring out just what Victor Draconi is up to so they can bring him to his knees as well as all the everyday issues that seem to pop up in lives of these characters. But, even with so much going on, it all ends up making sense. The various plot lines are woven together smooth and I enjoyed the descriptions and details of what went on in during the events of Tournament. Quite a few revelations are revealed in this book, some I actually guessed at after finishing CBoM, but others I didn’t see coming, but all served to add more depth to each character and make me that much more antsy to see how they would all play out in the end.
Lila I adore and actually really like when that immature teenager in her comes out to play because she, along with all of the other teens/young adults in the story, have had to grow up so fast because of the world they live in. Devon is still the calm in midst of the storm, though no pushover in any sense. Mo and Felix, who both half irritated me/half amused me in CBoF have risen on my likability scale. Claudia, Devon’s mother, is a force to be reckon with and not only do we get to see just how calculating she is, but get to see more glimpses of her heart. And then there is Oscar, our slightly ornery, grumpy yet lovable Redneck Pixie, who still ranks up there in my estimation. We get to spend time with Blake and Deah Draconi and Poppy Ito as well as meet a few new characters that brought a few surprises of their own to the mix.
As you can probably guess, I found the writing to be engaging and flow well. I really like the author’s voice and the direction she is taking things. I’m on the fence about that ending, but will say that I could see it coming, so I can’t be too upset about it. And while one could read this as a standalone, Ms. Estep does a great job at recapping Cold Burn of Magic throughout the book, I must insist that you take the time to read the first book to fully understand why certain story lines have been set in motion.
The Bottom Line: The Black Blade series is my YA guilty pleasure, nuff said.
~ ARC provided by Kensington Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ~
I’m a Southern gal through and through. Sassy, sarcastic, and just a tad crazy. I spent my formative years doing the usual kid things – playing, hanging out with my friends, and making up wild stories in my head. It’s the last one that’s gotten me into trouble.I don’t remember the first book I read. Or the second. Or even the third. But somewhere along the way, I fell in love with books and reading. Fairy tales, fantasies, adventure stories, mysteries, romances, westerns. As a kid, I read every book that I could get my hands on.
My mom, bless her, encouraged this obsession by taking me to the library every week. It’s one of my favorite childhood memories. Most folks think penicillin, indoor plumbing, and the Internet are the world’s best inventions. Not me. The greatest thing ever created was a library. Indoor plumbing is a close second, though.
The more I read, the more I thought about writing my own stories. I penned a few poems and short stories over the years, mainly for class assignments. Somewhere along the way, I realized that I wanted to write books for a living.
In college, I majored in English because of my love of books. But what can you do with an English degree? I didn’t know. One semester, I got a job with the college newspaper and discovered you could write stories and make a respectable living. Since that light-bulb moment, I’ve earned a bachelor’s degree in English and journalism, and a master’s degree in professional communications. Currently, I’m an award-winning features page designer for a daily newspaper.
Now, after many, many years of toil and trouble, I’ve achieved my dream of being a bona fide, published, fiction author. I plan to keep on keeping on – writing, dreaming, making up wild stories in my head.
And getting myself into trouble.