Release Date: October 27, 2015
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Young Adult | Urban Fantasy
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 know reviews for Jennifer Estep's DARK HEART OF MAGIC have been popular on your blog feed. So I'm going to do a different take on this review and hopefully I'll be able to share something new about Black Blade in case you haven't read the series just yet.
Black Blade Series 101
- JEstep's fantasy series under Kensington is a young adult, urban fantasy story. Though not necesessarily the same as her adult UF series, Elemental Assassin, it does have similarities in terms of feel and character strengths. It's not necessarily in the same universe but you should know that JEstep has made references to Gin Blanco's world to establish that it's linked. I guess it's safe to say that EA & Black Blade are adjacent worlds (?).
- Unlike other YA series, Black Blade is not rife with romantic tension and drama. It feels very normal in that these teens are infatuated with another character, but the romance isn't a driver nor is it an all-consumming passion where the heroine will DIE if she doesn't end up with the hero *insert eye roll*. On that note, thanks for that, JEstep *winks*
- Black Blade's magic reference to enhanced skills, or Talents, like strength, speed, sight, etc. There are also monsters like trolls, Nessie, and other mythical creatures like pixies, that are present. They're not villainous, rather they're an attraction as Cloudburst Falls is
infamous for their monster population which drives the town's tourism.
- There's a mob feel when it comes to the Families. The Sinclairs and Draconis remind me of the Capulets and Montagues not to mention the forbidden relationship their children are in. Victor Draconi is a deadly and ruthless rival, murdering people so he can take their Talents. If he coupled up with Mab Monroe, I think they can conquer the world together. The Draconis are on the offense and though the Sinclairs have been successful in parrying his attacks, I'd like to see them drive the conflict and showcase their family more.
- Lila Merriweather is the heroine. She's a thief who vowed to kill Victor Draconi for murdering her parents. She's now affiliated with the Sinclairs, but DARK HEART OF MAGIC presented a surprising twist that definitely made Lila's revenge plot and the whole Family Feuding more complicated. I look forward to learning more sercrets.
- Aside from the fantastic world building, JEstep is a master at creating captivating and vivid characters. I love all of them including the villains! The Draconis in particular are giving me Malfoy (Harry Potter) vibes.
DARK HEART OF MAGIC simply put is a fantastic sequel and obviously didn't suffer from second-book/filler syndrome. The Tournament of Blades was a fun event and the stage in which a lot of jaw dropping revelations were made. Lila Merriweather's character is shaping up nicely and she's fast becoming a worth adversary to Victor Draconi, and a strong ally to the Sinclairs. I have a feeling she's more than what we pegged her to be. It goes without saying that I look forward to book 3, Lila is leading a high-stakes heist and from the teaser in DARK HEART OF MAGIC, it's bound to be nerve wracking! Write faster JEstep!