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Heart of the Mountain

(Under the Mountain #1)

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  54 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Twins Delvina and Retza’s greatest desire is to be accepted as prentices by their parents’ old crew when they stumble across the strange abovegrounder. Trapped under the mountain, young Zadeki’s only thought is to escape and find his kin. Will the three youngsters pull apart or work together to save the underground realm?

YA fantasy adventure in the lost realm deep under th
ebook, 45 pages
Published August 1st 2016 by By the Light Books
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Average rating 4.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  54 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Lynne Stringer
Aug 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
It was a pleasure to read a novella that is so well written. While the plot didn't tread any new ground as far as the storyline went, the journey was still enjoyable and the characters interesting and engaging. It proceeded steadily towards a good, if a little brief, resolution that left me wanting more. An entertaining read.
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I liked this story a lot. My only complaint is that I didn't want it to end so soon. I hope to read more of Jadeki's adventures and I do hope the Darane will be in them again.
Nola Lorraine
Jul 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When Zadeki crashes into a mountain during a blizzard, he is found by Durane twins Retza and Delvina - youngsters who live under the mountain and were venturing into the above-ground Cauldron to find a trophy to prove their worth. They take Zadeki back underground, hoping he will be the key to them being accepted as prentices onto the South Greenstone Crew. However, it soon becomes clear that other forces are at work. The glimmer lights have been failing and a sacrifice may be needed to appease ...more
Karen Tyrrell
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, adventure, mystery, ya
Heart of the Mountain
Three intriguing young characters with life changing missions struggle in a vivid fantasy world of ice and feathers. Glimmering lights, mysterious sacrifices and battles with dark forces make this novella an engaging read.

Congratulations Jeanette, on your first novella in this series.
Paula Vince
Aug 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
I offered some feedback on earlier versions of this story along the way, and it's been good and interesting to see how it's evolved.

It's a pleasure to come across stories which are short enough to prove that a lot of skillful world building and characterisation can take place without needing heaps of space or wordiness. This is a quick read (just a 45 page e-book) and yet the racial differences between the mountain people and the abovegrounders comes through strong, along with all the attitudes
Lynn Fowler
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing

Although not a genre I would normally read, I loved this book. The author grabs the reader's attention from the very first sentence: who is this Zadeki, and why is he flying about in a snow storm? The mystery is left unsolved for now, while we are introduced to the other two main characters, twins Delvina and Retza, whose conversation begins to reveal to us their background and their current mission.

To avoid the threat of being killed for food,
Mazzy Adams
Nov 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Given that fantasy novels tend to be lengthy (so I'm told - I'm hardly acquainted with the genre beyond movie adaptions of the classics) I was delighted to read 'Heart of the Mountain' as a short but sweetly intensive refresher course. Jeanette O'Hagan engaged my interest through three curious and unusual characters, each challenged by imminent problems related to their different but intriguing world and culture. She skillfully weaves plot and developing relationships into a gripping, high stake ...more
R.J. Rodda
Nov 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This is an intriguing novella with a richly detailed storyworld. When shapeshifter Zadeki is injured and falls to the mountains below, he is found by twins in desperate circumstances. The twin boy Retza wants to eat him, but his sister Delvina insists on taking him back as a trophy to the Crew in the heart of the mountain so she can help him. What will happen to Zadeki when he is given up to the Lead Hand and if the flickering lights fail, what will happen to them all?

I would argue this is on b
Adele Jones
Aug 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Author Jeanette O'Hagan has created a fascinating underground world where the lives of above-grounder, Zadeki, collides with underground dwelling Darane twins, Retza and Delvina. Badly injured, Zadeki can do little but entrust himself into their care deep in the mountain's heart, where he finds himself trapped. It becomes swiftly evident the twins are grappling for a position to enable them a better chance of survival, and if Zadeki is their ticket to achieving that security, so be it. But when ...more
Dec 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Heart Of The Mountain is a quick, enjoyable read. There is a good mix of good, likeable characters, a very unappealing bad-guy, and suspense. Surprisingly, for such a short novella, I found myself very involved with the three main characters and their plights, as well as the situation the Darane people had found themselves in. Well worth picking up to enjoy over a cuppa and a couple of hours of peace.
Lizbeth Klein
Apr 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
When twin brother and sister, Retza and Delvina, discover an injured abovegrounder named Zadaki, the story soon heads for a fast-paced collision of two vastly different cultures. The twins make a harrowing journey through underground tunnels to join the Crew, taking the shapeshifter with them. The story alternates between the three characters and each soon becomes aware of how unstable and fragile resources are underground, especially with the failing glimmer light.

The situation becomes one of
Aug 04, 2016 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
I originally wrote Heart of the Mountain for the Glimpses of Light anthology, but it soon took on a life of its own and grew too big for the designated word limit. I loved the story and have developed it into a short novella (or long short story).

It is the first in the adventurous tales of young Zadeki. The events of this story occur many years after ‘Ruhanna’s Flight’ (my eventual successful submission for Glimpses of Light) but a few centuries before the events of the Akrad’s Legacy series an
Mirren Hogan
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've followed the writing career of Jeanette O'Hagan for a little while now and I'm definitely a fan, so I was looking forward to reading this.

The story follows twins Delvina and Retza who find an injured shapeshifter in the snow. They take him back to their people as offering so they can join a crew and become 'prentices'.

Heart of the Mountain is a nicely crafted story, with good flow and pacing. The characters are relatable, with Zadeki being my favourite. The world building is nicely done an
J.P. Willson
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a well crafted short story, and although something I would not normally read I thoroughly enjoyed this. Deep and whimsical in its own way, it tells a story of hope for the future when such seems bleak to most. A pleasure to read and I would certainly recommend this to the young adult. Something I would have read to my daughter were she still at the age for bedtime stories...alas she is not yet I did recommend it to her just the same.
A gem.
Segilola Salami
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this novella, the pace was perfect for me, there was no unnecessary fluff to increase page count. but like with all good things, it came to an end just when I was getting vested in the story
Linsey Painter
Nov 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Twins Delvina and Retza are trying to find a secure position within their people, the mountain dwellers. Their parents have died and the only way to ensure their own safety and survival is to bring back a trophy from the world above and present it to the Lead Hand.
Zadeki crashes into the side of Delvina and Retza’s mountain and plunges to the earth. An eagle would be a perfect prize as well as plentiful food for the starving mountain people. But Zadeki is more than he first appears.
Trouble is a
Ruth Bonetti
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Vivid descriptions of a fantasy world Nardva peopled by a hierarchy of littlewuns, toolwuns (prentices), thirdwun, secondwun up to Lead Hand and Overseer. Orphaned twins Delvina andRetza venture into the inner tunnels out of the Cauldron and encounter an injured above-grounder Zadeki. The is is a tale of shapeshifting to escape and avert sacrifices, Dark Ones' anger, in an atmospheric nether world.
Light is a recurring theme in this visual page-turner short novella. This easy read fantasy would e
Shelley Nolan
Nov 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It had every thing. An intriguing world, vivid characters and a fresh fantasy angle that had me hooked from the first page. I can't wait to read the next story in the series.
I received a free copy from By the Light Books. All opinions in this review are my own
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Are you in the mood for a dip into fantasy? If so, Heart of the Mountain might just be what you’re after.

Set in a mostly subterranean world, this novella (which will take a hungry reader less than an hour to chew through) is a fast-paced, imaginative read.

Overall, a quick and satisfying read. The only real problem is that it’s so short!

Fuller review and critique here:
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fantasy isn't my usual genre for reading. I really enjoyed this novella (or long short story).

The world the author created is fascinating and believable, and there is a lot of action that keeps you guessing until the end.

I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the Under the Mountain series.
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a well-written fantasy novel that young readers will love. Orphaned twins, a brother and sister, sneak from their underground world to the outside. Where it's totally different than the cave tunnels and grottos the kids have ever known—so open, cold and bright. They stumble on an injured boy from the surface world. He's not like them but he needs help. The twins must return and decide to take the wounded stranger with them, uncertain of the reception they'll receive. From her
Richard Stephens
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A well written fantasy involving a shapeshifter and a unique race of people subsisting within, and depending upon, the heart of a mountain.
Pulp Grind Press
Dec 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book has been awarded the PGP Seal of Approval for quality self-published books. Our readers and staff had the pleasure of reading through this book and have assessed it to be of high quality, as well as fully polished. This means that there were little to no errors and the overall read was both coherent, well-executed and enjoyable.

Our readers had the following to say about Heart of the Mountain:

- "The book was enjoyable."

- "The novella was interesting!"

- "Definitely quite an easy read and
Darrell Nelson
Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
There is a lot packed into this Novella and that isn't a bad thing.
In writing this review I am tempted to use the word “classic” a lot. That would be wrong as the author skillfully avoided telling those fantasy elements that have been told so many times that even non-fantasy fans know them. She instead concentrated on the characters and the story. Instead of telling of the old fantasy elements, she showed how these things effected the main characters and their actions.
To me she showed just enoug
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
A delightful novella with excellent world-building and lush, gorgeous descriptions that left me feeling like I’d been transported into the pages. When siblings Delvina and Retsa find an injured above-grounder during a snow storm, they intend to take him back as a trophy…. Or for dinner. But as the characters are slowly revealed and O’Hagan allows us to see the details of the oppressive underground world in which they live “in the heart of the mountain”, a far more complex society is revealed. Th ...more
Kilby Blades
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This enjoyable novella told the story of adolescent twins, Delvina and Retza, who venture beyond the walls of the world in which they live in order to show their bravery by bringing back a prize. Zadeki, an injured human/bird shifter who shouldn't have been flying over the mountains--he has reached the outer edges of Delvina's and Retza's world by happenstance. As evidence of their bravery, Delvina and Retza bring him home. Only then do they learn that they are jeopardized by events that I won't ...more
An interesting and compelling story.

This is a really interesting and compelling story set in a community that lives underground, beneath a mountain. The central characters are likeable and positive, demonstrating loyalty and care in a society that has become too concerned with survival to worry about those things.

While the story is in one sense about the importance of physical light, there is also a deeper underlying moral sense that there is an even greater danger in moral and spiritual darkn
Anne Hamilton
The lights and the power under the mountain are failing more regularly as the Glimmer Crystal Heart fails. According to the Overseer, the Dark Ones need to be appeased with a sacrifice.

Delvina and Retza are orphaned twins who are desperate to be accepted as prentices with a work gang. Regular food and relative security is their hope. So they venture outside the mountain, hoping to find something that will persuade the lead hand of the Greenstone South Crew to allow them to join her toolwuns. On
James Maxstadt
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Heart of the Mountain is simply a fantastic novella. It does what few books of this length can. It tells a full story, from an intriguing start to a satisfying end. It gives a sense that there is more to this world, its history and culture, than what we see; that it’s real. And finally, you actually care about the characters.
Jeanette O’Hagan shows a remarkable story-telling ability in this one, and makes the reader want to go on and explore her world further. Luckily, she has other books out to
Janet R Brienza
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More, please!

Heart of the Mountain is the second book I’ve read from this author. As with Akrad’s Children, The author uses a skilled hand in world building and developing characters.

Shapeshifting Zadeki was by far my favorite.

I found myself immersed with luscious language that was descriptive without bogging the reader down with minutia.

That said, for me the ending was abrupt, to say the least. This Reader kept thinking, “wait! This can’t end now!” to Although more is promised I felt like the a
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Jeanette O'Hagan spun tales in the world of Nardva from the age of eight. She enjoys writing fantasy, sci-fi, poetry, and editing.

Her Nardvan stories span continents, millennia and cultures. Some involve shapeshifters and magic. Others include space stations, plasma rifles and cyborgs.

She has published over thirty stories and poems including the five books in her YA epic fanasty - Under the Moun

Other books in the series

Under the Mountain (4 books)
  • Blood Crystal (Under the Mountain, #2)
  • Stone of the Sea (Under the Mountain #3)
  • Shadow Crystals (Under the Mountain #4)

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