Heart of Mist
by Helen Scheuerer
Series: The Oremere Chronicles #1
Published by: Talem Press
Publication date: August 28, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
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 rating:
I originally have a three-page review for this book but I really super tried to scrape off a page that I’m sure only amounted to my unnecessary rants, and practically sounded like an old broken record. So, here I am pointing out all the important things you should know about the Heart of Mist by Helen Scheuerer.
Also, if you want to learn more about this book, check Helen’s prequels to Heart of Mist and be a mist dweller!
❥ Effective multiple points of view
Each character has their own distinct purpose that surrounds them with their own challenges, interconnected and essentially needed for me to get hook into the story. It helped me to bond with each character, root for them and get emotionally attached.
It was like reading the story with fresh start for every POV that enables me to comprehend not just what’s truly happening into the story but also learning each character’s inner conflict.
❥ Multifaceted characters that are worth remembering
Henri’s character is a real testament of female badass not because she’s keen with The Valian Way or feared for being trained in combat but because she’s flawed, imperfect and only the readers know that side of her. She only let others see her being the queen—strong, committed, and decisive. But behind closed door, her emotions are raw and evident.
While at first, I deemed Dash character as playful and unimportant, his loyalty as a friend to Olena is unwavering. His innocence gave a youthful vibe into the story and most notably, brought narrative arc into his character. And because I already read Reign of Mist, believe me when I say that he’s more than a stable master’s boy since his role in the overall plot will put you on edge, asking too important questions that are hard to resist.
Swinton, on the other hand, is one of the most conflicted characters I have ever read. BUT (see the emphasis there) I totally get him. He’s more or less like an anti-villain in this story. Though he knew that most of his actions were unforgivable and continually struggles being loyal to the crown even he was aware that it would lead him into trouble, he’s done what he needed to do to protect his secrets (and his secrets are safe with me).
And there’s Bleak, the main protagonist in the story which started out as unlikable. As soon as the story drew me in, I was able to understand her inner struggles, her torturous need for alcohol and the fear of not knowing who she really is. But the depth of her character does not end there because the enormity Bleak has experienced during the first stages of her life taught her to be not too trusting that made her kind and compassionate to others who were looked down upon by the high society.
People will underestimate you – that’s a powerful thing.
Altogether, they shared histories and their distinct personalities along with their Ashai powers, fall in the same web of knot (you will know more in the second book how that turned out).
❥ “Every woman for herself.”
Some might think that these words are selfish and thoughtless. But for both Bleak and Henri, they knew that if they don’t look out for their own selves when the time comes that they will get separated, no one else will.
Deep within, they knew that in their strange, forbidding world, they couldn’t help those persons important to them if they do not know how to work for their own survival. And that’s more than reality.
❥ Academy award for best supporting characters
One of my most favorite characters were Fiore and Princess Olena. They happened to sneak in between pages, steal the show and own the stage. Oh yes! They truly shine!
For me, Fiore is the adorable sidekick who voices out reason and make more sense to what danger could it be to every Swinton’s wrong decision making. While Princess Olena, despite her blindness, sees and speaks the truth more often than most. Her disability didn’t deter her to search for facts that may soon give help on the entire realm.
❥ Down the mystic realm of Oremere
The world building and its complexity are undoubtedly unique in structure, approachable and well developed. From its geography, ethos, societal status to politics, magic, and history, I don’t think there’s more than I could say to how marvelous the world the author has created.
Oremere became an incessant question to me because it remained a mystery for the most part of the story. But learning about it bit by bit and was entirely revealed latter before the ending, I swear to Rheyah the Huntress, it gave me goosebumps! That’s why I was quick to dive in to read Reign of Mist. And it didn’t disappoint because it’s truly entrancing and magical.
The story also talked about themes like feminism and LGBTQ with an undercurrent on issues regarding division, education and social injustices.
…people loved to blame, and that like all negativity, blame festered and rotted the good away.
❥ The heart of the mist
With the realization that dawned on me, the title is befitting to the overall message of the story. From the very beginning, it was been stipulated how:
The mist hungered for power. Like a tide, it lapped at the land, engulfing whatever lay in its path.
This is an on point demonstration of obsession for power. It’s the core to the story’s integral plot especially to the climatic events that happen within the narrative. The effect was ruthless and gruesome cruelty. The King was supposed to hold the crown with nondiscriminatory judgement and rationality but instead, he was blinded by his personal interest and jealousy.
Heart of Mist is a fast paced fantasy story with gasp-worthy action and thrilling adventure about war, magic and a young woman’s journey of finding her true identity in the midst of a formidable world that only invites fear and danger.
Thank you to Helen Scheuerer for providing me an eARC in exchange for a fair and honest review!
About The Author:
Helen Scheuerer is the YA fantasy author of the bestselling novel, Heart of Mist (2017) and the upcoming sequel Reign of Mist (September 2018). Both books are part of the action-packed trilogy, The Oremere Chronicles.
After writing literary fiction for a number of years, novels like Throne of Glass, The Queen’s Poisoner and The Queen of the Tearling inspired Helen to return to her childhood love of fantasy.
Helen is also the Founding Editor of Writer’s Edit, an online literary magazine and learning platform for emerging writers. It’s now one of the largest writers’ platforms in the world.
She has been previously shortlisted for Express Media’s Outstanding Achievement by a Young Person in the Literary Arts Award and the Young Writers Showcase. Helen has also run writing and editing workshops for the NSW Society of Women Writers.