Hearts, Blades & Smoke Thieves – Fantasy Mini Reviews

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It seems like it has been forever since I have done a review, and so today I thought I would look back at and talk about some of the most recent fantasy books I’ve read.  Fantasy has become my by far most read genre this year, and so I wanted to discuss some of my thoughts and opinions on a few of the ones that I have read over the last few months.  Unintentionally, all of these books also happen to be 2018 releases, which makes a difference from me reviewing mainly backlist books.

So here are my thoughts are three of the most recent fantasy books that I have read!

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Mia Rose has pledged her life to hunting Gwyrach, women who can control flesh, bone, breath and blood after one took her mothers life.  But when her arranged marriage to the prince begins in chaos, she discovers that she possesses the very dark magic she has sought to destroy.


We all know how much of a lover of plot twists I am, so is it at all surprising that I adored all of the unexpected twists and turns this story had in store?  Particularly towards the end of this story when the pacing and plot began to pick up, there were so many plot twists that I did not see coming, but at the same time still totally made sense within the story, which is exactly what a twist should do.


In this world, magic arises from the years of oppression towards women, something which I adored as a backstory to this unique magic system.  This, accompanied by Mia’s strength and the journey she goes on to discovering that these Gwyrach are not evil help to truly establish the feminist themes in this book that I really enjoyed seeing.  Not only that, but this book includes some fantastic diversity; there are two bisexual characters, one gay side character and one disabled character, all of whom were well developed, individual characters.


Without trying to spoil too much, alot of this story sees our main characters travelling or progressing on a journey that sometimes didn’t seem to have an end goal.  On one hand, this did allow us to get to know our characters, particularly Mia and Quin, alot better than we otherwise would have, and gave us time to settle into and explore this detailed fantasy world.  That said, it did also mean that this first half of this book was pretty slow, especially as, for me at least, it was unclear what Mia’s motivations were and where the plot was headed.





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As a Valkyrie, Malin is responsible for slaying immortals and returning them to the underworld.  But her life turns into chaos when she discovers that her mother spared the life of an immortal, a decision she will learn has huge consequences for both those around her, and the entire world.   


I swear this book didn’t take even a second to breath!  As someone who has read many an Amanda Hocking book before, I knew that her books did tend to have a fast pace, but this one took the biscuit for being so unbelievably fast that I didn’t know what was going on half the time.  There was absolutely no room for you to absorb anything or get to know the characters at all, because before you knew it something else was going on that you had to pay attention to.


Ah, the dreaded love triangle.  Granted, this book does not try to hide the fact that the love triangle is a pretty big aspect of this story, but that doesn’t mean that this insanely overused YA trope had to be done as badly as I felt it was in this book.  The main character was constantly flitting back and forth between the two love interests so quickly that it was hard to take her actions and her supposed feelings for both of them seriously.


As someone who loves character-driven books and well-developed, unique characters in general, the lack of growth and complexity of the characters within this story was something that I unfortunately could not get passed.  No one was memorable in any way, with each character feeling so flat and unoriginal that I could not care for them at all.




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This multiple-POV fantasy follows our five protagonists, including a demon hunter, a princess, and a thief, over four different nations as they find their lives forever changed, and their paths brought together by war, deception and a bottle of demon smoke. 


As someone who is only start starting to explore high fantasy or adult fantasy, this book was a lot to take in at first.  Not only do we have so many different narrators, but we also have a very complex and detailed world made up of lots of unique countries who each have their own culture and customs.  Furthermore, the political intrigue was something I really loved, as we get to explore the relationships and tensions between these different nations throughout this story, something I am super excited to see more of in the next book.


One of the key factors of this book was the multiple POV, as we get to see five different characters perspectives throughout the story, many of whom I actually quite enjoyed.  They all had very different stories to tell, and whilst I certainly did prefer some to others, with my personal favourite being Tash and Edoyn, this did allow us to really get to explore the world and develop the world building so much more.  That said, it also had its draw backs, most notably…


This book is pretty damn slow.  It felt like it took way too long for the main plot to actually get started, mainly because for it to start, we had to get to know all of our five narrators separately.  And that took so long.  So by the end of the book, when everything was finally starting to happen and we got some action, I was pretty much ready to just put this book down and move on because I had spent way too much time waiting for anything to happen.



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Have you read any of these – what did you think?  Did you agree with my thoughts?



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