Book Review: Hearthfire by Emmie Mears

Publishing Date: July 2018

Publisher: BHC

ISBN: 9781947727519

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.4/5

Publisher’s Description: Carin has never known hunger. Born into the Hearthland, a lush world of fertile fields and abundant resources, her biggest worry is whether she and her three friends will find their true names on their Journeying. But when one of them is murdered on the morning of their departure, Carin’s peaceful world is stained with blood. Forced to confront the truth, Carin must decide her own fate. Remain silent and allow the murder of the earth itself—or risk her own life in exile and break the spell.

Review: Well , this was quite the world spanning saga. Multiple quests, following a multitude of characters of the YA bent. Inter-leaved within is this broad acceptance possible love interests in the form of flirting that is expected of most authors covering their base(s). The author does a good job of minimizing the interactions so that it doesn’t feel forced, but it is so noted for the time spent on building the scenes. The characters are built wonderfully and continue to change with the added burden of time spent in in-hospitable surroundings. The creatures uncovered are surprising in the creative way they are built. The bats are certainly alien in presentation while retaining a kindness that exceeds that of their charges.

What I really liked about this novel was the author’s voice. It rings loud and true throughout the novel as something that is tangibly different than other’s in the genre. She takes character development in a different direction than expected. The outcomes to interactions with strangers are as unexpected as the exchanges between known comrades. This gives the world and the cultures residing within, their own unique flavor while retaining an understood medium of exchange. I don’t know if this was the author’s intent, but whether intended or not, it worked beautifully.

This novel is at once visceral and compelling. The quests are rife with confrontations and grisly exchanges. The Magic is subtle and hard to reach thereby rendering it a rare and valuable commodity. The only downer, and it is a big one, was the use of this weird pro-noun/noun gender-less naming convention that did more to distract than enhance the story line. It is never adequately explained and is used in concert with normal naming conventions. The author needed to stick to one or the other, or at the minimum, abandon it’s use when the Nameless go overland. It really buggered up the whole novel.

From great heights this novel fell but was still supported on the strength of the characters.


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