Bryan Wigmore's Reviews > Heart Blade

Heart Blade by Juliana Spink Mills
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it was amazing

I read this as an ARC, and didn't take long about it. It's a very tightly and twistingly plotted, well-written story, packed full of tension, intrigue and action, with teenage characters you can get behind and who aren't hormoaning all the time or getting into pointless love-triangle diversions to spice things up. In fact, everything in the book seems to fall cleanly and naturally out of the starting conditions, which is that there are various types of "preternaturals" living in human society, hidden in plain sight, prevented from open warfare by a Covenant that is fraying badly; and a newly "turned" half-demon who decides to go on the run, at great risk to her life, because she refuses to make the kill that will make her a full member of her pack.

The various types of preternaturals -- demons, sentinels (descended from angels, according to their own lore), vampires, witches etc -- are extremely well set up. Some breed true, some recruit from the human population, some are immortal, some not. The manner in which demons recruit allows for a lot of character intrigue, as well as being particularly unpleasant (relatively so -- there's no real gore in this, yet neither is there a feeling of punches being pulled). Most types have their own clan structure, too, and various political shenanigans are hinted at both within and between these groups, giving the preternatural world a richness and solidity.

Mills doesn't waste much time trying to justify the existence of these creatures -- you just suspend any disbelief and get on with it -- and since most of the characters themselves belong to the various groups, there's no getting bogged down in an ordinary human finding out and learning about them. Everything we need to know is worked efficiently into the story, which is allowed to get on at a cracking pace. Many of these creatures seem young but are actually very old, but the three main characters are all about seventeen, and come across as realistically so without being annoying. In fact they're very engaging, and I managed to get grit in my eye a couple of times. What particularly impressed me, though, were the realistic and rounded adult characters, the parents, guardians and gas-station clerks. Though Mills has written a YA story here, it feels like she could also do adult drama without any difficulty.

In short, even if you think YA might not be your thing, but you're at all into fantasy, this could be for you. It doesn't put a foot wrong.
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Reading Progress

January 29, 2017 – Started Reading
January 29, 2017 – Shelved
January 31, 2017 – Finished Reading

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