Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep
Series: Black Blade #2
Published by K-Teen
Published on: October 27, 2015
Genres: Young Adult
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Something Wicked This Way Comes...
As a thief, I stick to the shadows as much as possible. But when the head of the Sinclair Family picks me to compete in the Tournament of Blades, there's no escaping the spotlight—or the danger.
Even though he's my competition, Devon Sinclair thinks I have the best shot at winning what's supposed to be a friendly contest. But when the competitors start having mysterious "accidents," it looks like someone will do anything to win—no matter who they hurt.
As if I didn't have enough to worry about, mobster Victor Draconi is plotting against Devon and the rest of my friends, and someone's going around Cloudburst Falls murdering monsters. One thing's for sure. Sometimes, humans can be more monstrous than anything else...
The Tournament of Blades was the driving force behind DARK HEART OF MAGIC which was perfect because what better way to go full throttle on the action than with lots of fighting while also fleshing out all of the pertinent characters’ strengths and weaknesses by putting all of the Cloudburst Falls Families on display. Lila’s no longer a team of one, things are moving along with Devon, and Victor is THE villain to beat. Game. Set. Match.
Unlike the previous installment which was a little of both, this novel was centered around the mafia-style plotting rather than the monsters and magicks that comprise Jennifer Estep’s BLACK BLADE universe. I enjoyed the scheming a great deal; this author certainly excels at whodunnit story telling, and Talents were vital, but I did find myself longing for more of the world-building that was so strong in book 1, tree trolls notwithstanding.
Seleste was a welcomed addition to this trilogy’s cast, and Deah continued to surprise me at every turn. I was kind of disappointed with how Felix dealt with his love life dilemma, and Vance & Blake were just stupid bullies. The Tournament of Blades ended up being an excellent equalizer, and I liked that most of the baddies got their due. Well, except for Victor, but that’s what BRIGHT BLAZE OF MAGIC IS FOR—right?
I’m happy with the way Devon & Lila’s romance has progressed thus far; there’s no triangle which is a BIG plus in Young Adult, next to zero drama, and they are in an optimal spot going into the conclusion. I loved that Sinclair was a genuinely good guy, and that he won Merriweather over by simply being himself. The soulsight sessions between the two of them packed one heck of an emotional punch, and the last few pages definitely pulled on my heartstrings.
DARK HEART OF MAGIC is one of the better trilogy middle installments that I’ve read.
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