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Review: Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep

Review: Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep published on



Note that this is the second book in the Black Blade series. Check out more information on the first book, Cold Burn of Magic, at Goodreads.

Lila Merriweather is only weeks into her new job of being a bodyguard to Devon Sinclair a Bruiser to one of the most powerful families of Cloudburst Falls. Who is also next in line to be head of the Sinclair family. After her heroics in saving herself, Devon, and the Sinclair family head, she is a fully fledged member of the Sinclair family, although not by her own choice. In her new duties Lila must enter a contest called The Tournament Of Blades which is hugely popular with locals and tourist alike. But when someone sabotages the obstacle course event, it’s up to Lila to find out what exactly happened and whether it was an accident or something more sinister. Combining that with her hunt for a merciless troll killer and her secret mission from the head of the Sinclair family Lila’s plate is full. Can the former orphan turn thief turn bodyguard solve the case before tragedy strikes the competition or has Lila Merriweather bitten off more than she can chew?

I often try to shy away from comparing authors because it’s unfair to expect an author to meet your expectations because another author has set the bar high. But I can’t help, but compare Jennifer Estep to one of my favourite authors, and that is Jim Butcher. Although they both have their own unique ways of crafting their stories, it’s incredibly difficult not to see similarities between the two. And this is the biggest compliment I can pay Jennifer Estep. She’s head-to-head in awesomeness with one of my favourite authors. Now, I’m not arrogant enough to think my standards are the litmus test everyone should follow. But for me personally as a reader it makes me incredibly happy that I’ve found a new author that writes in a style and manner that I love. I found this book to be an easy read and although I recommend you do pick up book one in this series: Cold Burn of Magic, because it’s an outstanding book and you should read it. But it isn’t required for you to understand this book. Because Jennifer Estep does a great job of filling in the plot points from the first book and I feel comfortable in saying that if you don’t want to read the first one, then you will be okay to start with book two without it negatively affecting your enjoyment of this book.

This book has plenty of action. Which I love. Jennifer Estep puts just enough detail in describing the action that it allows the reader to really get a clear picture of the fights in your imagination. The characters and world within this book are incredibly rich as well. Although the main characters are Lila and Devon the supporting character are just as interesting as our main protagonists. Jennifer Estep does an amazing job in bringing them alive and you cannot help, but care for the protagonists and there’s nothing better than having antagonists that you can truly despise. However, saying that I did find the plot slightly predictable in places and I did predict the person behind the murders and sabotage pretty early on in this novel. Which disappointed me a little. The magic system set up in this book and its predecessor kind of reminds me a little of The Codex Alera book series. However, while the latter are spirits of sorts and the former are not the same principle and rules apply here. Each person is individual and therefore each person has individual skill sets. The magic here is divided into three categories Strength, Spirit and Sense. Our protagonist Lila skills are Soul Sight which basically allows her to see look into the eyes of another, be it human or monster and feel their emotions or see their final moments before they expire. Her other skill which she keeps mostly a secret from people is something called Transference. This skill is basically she gains a bit of her opponents’ power for a short period of time. The reason she keeps this a secret because people would kill her for that rare gift. Certain individuals within this world steal magic from another by bleeding them with a special blade. Combining all these elements leads the reader on an exciting adventure full of mystery, love, drama, and action. All things I and many others look for when picking up a book.

So will you like it? If you love urban fantasy and enjoy the works of Jim Butcher, Kevin Hearne, and Patricia Briggs, then I think you will really enjoy this book and Jennifer Estep other books. Although this doesn’t bring anything new to the genre you shouldn’t let that stop you from reading what is a great novel from a great writer. I would highly recommend you read this book and read the first novel in this series as well. I cannot wait to read more of Jennifer Estep’s work.

available from Amazon on 10/27/2015.

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Jen­nifer Estep is constantly prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea. Jennifer is the author of the Black Blade and Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series for Kensington. She writes the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series for Pocket Books and is also the author of the Bigtime paranormal romance series.

Jennifer is a member of Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and other writing groups. Jennifer’s books have been featured in Cosmopolitan, Entertainment Weekly, Southern Living, and a variety of other publications.

Author Links


Craig James Lister

Craig James Lister

Describing myself is probably the most difficult thing in the world for me to do. But my main interests include reading, and my favourite genres are Crime, Thrillers, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror.

My other interests include films. I consider myself a film geek and adore films from all countries and all genres from different eras. I have an extensive movie collection.

I wouldn't call it a passion, but I do love cooking. When I'm in the kitchen making a dish I'm at my most peaceful, and I just love it and when I get great feedback from people who are brave enough to eat my meals.

Other hobbies include gaming--mostly open-world, RPG, and MMO's.

I have a keen interest in politics, and I love music.

When I'm not reviewing books for Gallywampus or doing the stuff I've mentioned above, I'm a carer for the elderly which is a very hard job, but also very rewarding.
Craig James Lister

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