Review: Heart of Mist Heart of Mist (The Oremere Chronicles #1)
I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the author.
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: 3.5 stars
I was excited to read this book. I follow the author on Instagram and I kept seeing her talk about this series so I read the synopsis. I was intrigued so naturally when I saw that it was being offered for review I jumped at the chance to read it. I will not say I was disappointed because I wasn't. The book just wasn't what I expected. There wasn't enough action and it was slow. There was more sitting around and traveling than there was actual action where things were happening. Valia was beautiful and I loved learning about the Valian way but that part really seemed to drag. It was a lot of Bleak getting drunk when she should have been taking advantage of the time to learn about her magic. A lot of Henri being her cold self and actively pushing everyone away. The chapters from Swindon and Dash's points of view were equally frustratingly slow. I just wanted more to happen and the pacing was just so slow and dragged its feet for a large portion of the book.
There were four points of view in this book. The first few followed Bleak and we are immediately given a taste of the life she lives. She is a drunk trying to find a cure for her magic which allows her to read people's thoughts. So all her life she's been able to know exactly what people think of her and she's trying to escape. We then get to see things from Swinton's--commander of the king's army--point of view who is the one who apprehended Bleak and took her from her home to escort her back to the king who has summoned her. While being escorted to the capital, one of the soldiers in the army takes an interest in Bleak and tries to rape her and this is when the Valia Kindred become involved. Henri, the Valian Queen, rescues Bleak and takes her back to Valia and this is when we get Henri's point of view. And then confusingly we get the point of view of a ten-year-old boy named Dash. This one was a little jarring and I wondered why it was there for a good portion of the book. I think when Bleak is taken up until when the Valia Kindred interfered the book moved at a great pace and it was very interesting. From there it had moments where it just did not move at a great pace until Dash discovered a secret about the king and then slows again. I think the ending moved pretty fast and things happened quickly and decisively.
I did not connect with Bleak. I truly thought she was seventeen or eighteen years old when I was reading. I wouldn't have guessed that she was in her twenties based on the way she acted. Bleak was a pass out in the gutter drunk. She spent most of her time trying to find a cure for her magic, pickpocketing unsuspecting tourists, and drinking. She did not have much of a life and I felt bad for her in the beginning. My sympathy started waning when she kept whining about her abilities and about not wanting them. I think I wanted her to be stronger and to realize what an asset her magic really was and what she could do to protect herself. I hated how she kept drinking when she should have been trying to learn everything she could once the Valia Kindred took her but she was an addict and I had to realize that. I did like how Bleak seemed to get stronger. She did grow bit by bit throughout the novel and when in the end she actually chose not having a drink over survival, I was pleased. Henri was another one that I didn't connect with because she was cold and felt like she needed to be a certain way to rule. She'd also lost her sister ten years ago and was still reeling and dealing with that. I did like how strong Henri was and how she was willing to do what was necessary for most situations. I never grew to like Swinton in this novel but I did learn to understand his motives. He just never went against what the king asked of him and I wanted him to when he knew exactly what would happen but once I found out his secret, I completely get why he did what the king wanted.
I loved Dash. He made me smile a lot and I loved the breath of fresh air he brought with his childlike view on things. He was mischievous and so ambitious even at a young age. I liked that through his point of view we got to see what was going on at the castle when Swinton was away. He found out a lot of things that helped answer some questions about what was going on. I also enjoyed Fiore. He was a caring and compassionate man who understood duty but also knew that you do not blindly follow your ruler. He was a good character for me. I liked Allehra, Athene, and Luka as well. I enjoyed Bren; he was so loyal to Bleak and willing to do anything for her even if that meant putting himself in danger.
Overall, I did enjoy this book and cannot wait to see what happens next for all of these characters. They all have so much room to grow and become better characters. I look forward to see where their character arcs go in Reign of Mist and the twists and turns of the sequel.