The Northern Heart
Author: Sasha L. Miller
Title: The Northern Heart
Series: Kingdom Curses 2
Genre: High Fantasy
Rating: Three Petals
On the Author's Website:
Several weeks ago Emmerich saved the royal family—but at great cost to himself. He keeps going into trances and wandering off, and the problem is getting worse. If they don't figure out a solution soon, whatever's wrong will kill him. As if that's not enough, the person stuck babysitting him is a man he desperately wishes had wanted him for more than one night.
Pearce is at his wits end trying to save the man he cares about. Nothing he tries helps for more than a moment, and each time Emmerich falls asleep and slips into a trance, bringing him back out requires greater and greater magic—if the trance doesn't kill him first, waking him most certainly will.
I received this book as an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
After Emmerich saved the royal family in the prequel, he's been afflicted with a strange sort of curse. He can't access his magic and he randomly goes into a trance. To figure out what's wrong with him, Emmerich is sent to the northern wall with Pearce, a man tasked with helping to heal the broken wall and whatever has been broken inside Emmerich. Yet, the magic at play is much more involved than a simple curse, so saving Emmerich and the country might not be possible.
This should have been a four star review. Everything about this book was wonderful. The characterizations were dynamic and interesting with each person having a unique personality. I also really liked the world building where magic and different cultures meld seamlessly, or not so seamlessly as the case with the elves has turned out to be. The plot was also well written, with interesting twists and turns I didn't see coming. All of that was more than sufficient for this book to absolutely deserve all four stars, however there were two serious issues I had to dock a star for.
The first was the lack of description. I looked closely and not once did I see a single description of Emmerich or Pearce. What colors are their eyes or their hair, or what shape are their noses? I understand that they were most likely described in the prequel, but just because this is a continuous series doesn't mean readers don't need the reminder. I purposefully reread Heart of the Kingdom, the prequel, in preparation for The Northern Heart, but even with only a few days between reading I couldn't remember what Pearce looked like at all. Certainly there doesn't have to be as much detail provided if there is a lot of description about a character's looks in a previous book, but there absolutely has to be something and The Northern Heart didn't have it.
Second, the ending was so abrupt that I found myself flipping back and forward on the last pages of my ebook to double check that I hadn't missed something. As I was reading I was getting all hyped up for a big battle as the final climax to the story, and then it ends. I don't doubt there will be a sequel at some point, but this wasn't a cliffhanger. Had it been, I might have been willing to wait for the next book to see what happens, but now I'm not even certain whether the next book will have the missing battle. At the very least, The Northern Heart needed an epilogue of some sort to tie the ends together.
The characterizations, the world building, and the plot were all phenomenal and made for a great read, however the lack of description and the abrupt ending hurt my overall enjoyment of this book. I do recommend it, but I can't help hoping the next book in the series will be better.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.