Heart of Light (Magical British Empire, #1)
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Heart of Light (Magical British Empire #1)

2.89 of 5 stars 2.89  ·  rating details  ·  116 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Set in a magical Victorian British Empire that never was, this unique fantasy blends adventure, intrigue, and romance, as a newlywed couple embark on a dangerous quest--and, in the process, discover their own heart's desires. On a luxury magic carpetship in 1889, an English couple travel to Cairo for their honeymoon. Except for a brush with a dragon, the voyage is uneventf...more
Mass Market Paperback, 502 pages
Published February 26th 2008 by Bantam Dell (first published 2008)
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Angela
I wanted to like this book. I really did. But I've got the same issue with it that I did with Jane Lindskold's The Buried Pyramid: i.e., loved the concept, but the execution? Not so much.

And as with The Buried Pyramid, what pulled me in was the idea of an alternate history settings where the British Empire was pretty much like we expect, only there's magic. And supernatural things. And lots of potential for the magic of Europe and the magic of Africa to clash and make things go very, very differ...more
Azar
Mar 28, 2008 Azar rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of Patricia Wrede, Carole Stevemyer and Libba Bray
This is an enchanting alternate-historical fantasy, set in the Victorian era on an Earth where magic is an accepted fact of life and people cross the ocean not on ships but on magic carpets. Once I got past the opening scene (a wedding night that...er...isn't), I quickly got engrossed even though I anticipated pretty much all of the major twists.

It was a fun read, with only one real major drawback, but that because of a personal preference that not everyone will share--I have *major* issues wit...more
Cameron
Snatching this story up after binging deleriously on Naomi Novik's superb series, I found myself taking three weeks to finally finish reading this start to a trilogy. The characters felt flat and unsympathetic - the kind of people that I would avoid engaging in discussion. The integration of magic into the world felt hinged upon one interesting idea but with no extrapolation or exploration.
Rowena
Sarah Hoyt is like the Dan Brown of fantasy. She wove a pretty interesting plot but each chapter absolutely had to end on a cliff hanger...ie: "Then there was a chilling scream" or "Then darkness closed in and they were alone in the desert." Ugh. Such un-subtle writing. But, it really was a pretty entertaining story although it certainly could have used more descriptions of Egypt. That and the over-emphasis on Victorian English values was a little odd..."he saw that she was entertaining a gentle...more
MissM
Ugh. I just can't seem to get through this book. And I ALWAYS finish a book through to the end. But at 350-odd pages in, it's just so annoying. It's like bad High School with the mistaken ideas about people and the she loves him but he loves someone else junk.

Example:
Mr. thinks Mrs. is cheating. So Mr. starts fawning over an African woman. Said African woman is attracted to another African man. But the African man is drawn to the Mrs. The Mrs. thinks Mr. is cheating with the African woman and so...more
Ethan
I quit half-way through this book, when it became clear that the author was going to milk the relationship tension between two of the main characters all the way through and that she felt no need to base that tension on anything other than their apparent inability to communicate with each other. I gave it the two stars for decent descriptive writing and world building.
Eric
One of the most frustrating books I've read in a bit.

It's hard to review this when another reviewer (Angela Korra'ti) said exactly what I wanted to say, but I'll take a few minutes and try anyway. This book is not an alternate history or a fantasy or an adventure, at the end of the day it is 100% romance. I'd don't especially mind reading a book driven by romance considering one of the better books I read recently, Soulless, turned out to be a romance novel veiled as sci fi, and it was much more...more
Caroline Berg
Ugh, where to start with this book. In my humble opinion, it sucks. Yes, it is a regency romance of sorts – but the main married couple aren't all that interested in each other and are both highly annoying characters. (view spoiler)

But to continue on to other thin...more
Karina
The first half of this book was really different and engrossing, but it lost me about three quarters of the way in when the main characters found themselves trekking through the desserts of Africa. I did care enough to skim the rest, and probably will pick up the sequel anyhow.

In brief, this is an unusual romantic fantasy dealing with an alternate Regency era where there's magic, dragons, and the monarchs of Europe have the most magic due to a stone Charlemagne had stolen. The Queen wants its tw...more
Fantasy Literature
Known for her diversity, the Portugal-born Sarah A. Hoyt has written dozens of short stories and several novels including the SHAKESPEAREAN FANTASIES series, the MUSKETEER MYSTERY books, and the SHIFTERS urban fantasy series. She has also written a historical romance under the pseudonym Laurien Gardner, a collaborative novel with SF author Eric Flint, and co-edits the forthcoming anthology Something Magic This Way Comes (below).

In Ms. Hoyt’s MAGICAL BRITISH EMPIRE series, which kicks off with He...more
Nichole  ~~The Grey Lady~~
When I saw that this was a Magical Victorian era novel and took place in Africa....I figured that this was right up my alley. I even enjoyed the writing style...at first. However, this novel contains the biggest batch of whiny, annoying characters I have ever had the mispleasure to read about. I did finish it. And once having finished it, I did realize that the author was attempting to show the characters growth. I dont think that she quite achieved it though. Instead, the characters just seemed...more
Gloriavirtutisumbra
The idea of this alternate reality is good, the dialogue, characters, buildup excellent. But theres just something missing that i cant put my finger on. It feels as hollow and empty as the set of the Fantastiks, that all the players are cavorting on a thinly painted backdrop that keeps fading to 'theoretical white'. Maybe its just because its the first volume of a series, & hopefully book 2 will be better. (i also have to admit to being irritated with the romantic mishaps in the middle of th...more
Kate
This was a fun read once it picked up, but it took a bit to get going. I rather liked the main characters more at the end than at the beginning, which is a good sign for character development. I'll be looking for the sequel.

Recommended for people who like Victoriana, and don't mind period characters having period attitudes towards things like race and gender (at least to start with). There is one fade-to-black sex scene, but otherwise there's nothing I wouldn't let a sensible 13+ year old read....more
Cheryl a.k.a Poptart
This book was a wow book. I found it full of randomness and a bit patchy on characters. It seems like it should have been a larger volume because some of the plot seems rushed. I had to re-read a few sections due to the fact that the author seems to be building up to something and ends it in one sentence! I give it three stars because it definitely was inventive and was a fun read at times. I hope the next two books are better though.
VMom
I put this in "steampunk" though it's not really - it feels a bit steampunk.
I love the worldbuilding here. I find the main characters not likeable enough though - there's something lacking. I don't know if this was written as a romance; it seems marketed as one - but as a romance I was unconvinced by the "true love" proffered.
I am eager to read the sequel as the supporting characters were interesting and the story follows them.
Desiree
This book was definitely a disappointment for me. I don't give it only 1 star because I think that at least it was well written and extremely readable as far as style is concerned. I wanted to really like it, Victorian age + magic + dragons, what's not to like...actually the book. It never really captured me and much as I dislike leaving a series unfinished, I very much doubt I'll ever buy the second installment.
Dawn Paris
A decent story - who wouldn't love flying carpetships? But sometimes the characters' internal conflicts seemed a little heavy and I found myself skipping--in most cases when Emily and Nigel kept reminding themselves of society's expectations of them. I think I will still read the next one, though, because the characters just might have freed themselves enough to really be interesting.
Laura Navarre
Nice example of a Victorian-era, African-set paranormal historical romance. Heavy on the paranormal and lighter on the history, with a lot to explore regarding racism and colonialism in the late British Empire. A thoroughly enjoyable read filled with magic carpetships, Victorian drawing room manners, African safari and a nice romantic subplot. The sequel is Soul of Fire.
Sylene
Shape shifters in the time of Victorian England and India. The ending reminded me of the second Lara Croft movie....not a fabulous piece of fantasy, but decent.
Aira
I hate romanticised adultery and this is what the book was
started of great and then disappointment, a shit load of misunderstandings, just no.
Shelel
Don't even know where to start with this ...simply wonderful. I love this author so far.
Barbara
reminiscent of Gail Carriger but more serious. Looking forward to reading part 2.
Catherine
I thought it had potential, but I lost interest about 1/2 way through.
Agnieszka
Dropped the book. Way too boring and pretentious.
Rebeccat
I do like alternate magical universes!
Kristin
Read from 3/8 to 3/10.
Lynn Calvin
Amazon received
Brighthalo
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Aug 05, 2014
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