Review: Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep

Dark Heart of Magic was a much enjoyed follow-up to the first book in the Black Blade series, which I reviewed here. Dark Heart of Magic closely follows-on from Cold Burn of Magic, with Lila officially joining the Sinclair family. While the Tournament of Blades is the main focal area of the story, other plot threads run parallel, with Lila finding out more secrets about her family and the Draconi family.

What I love about this series is the fantastical tone that makes for fun reading. The monsters, the tourist/fair setting, and the larger than life characters, all adds to the fast moving tone of the series. Lila wasn’t stationary in her journey arc too. While she still considered herself a loner who didn’t want anymore heartbreak, especially with her romantic feelings for Devon, she firmly became entrenched into the Sinclair family and started to behave as one. Claudia Sinclair, the head of the Sinclair family, also saw Lila as an important asset in learning more about Victor Draconi and his evil plans. Even though it was extremely dangerous, I loved that Lila got to use her skills and Claudia used this to their advantage. There’s also a lot of kickass women in this book who routinely kicked butt in the tournament which was super awesome.

Lila’s attraction and feelings for Devon for most of the book were defensive and she retreated a lot. I understood her reasonings but I was getting a little frustrated with her repetitiveness on why her and Devon was such a bad idea. But I was super happy to see progress being made towards the end! I also loved Felix and Lila’s friendship, and Felix’s relationship with Deah becomes more complicated. Devon, Lila, and Felix make quite the fun trio who have each other’s backs no matter what.

I do have a few issues with the book. The middle of the story lagged and once again I guessed pretty early on who the baddie was. It was anticlimactic and predictable. I also have issues with the adults keeping secrets from Lila. If she’s considered old enough to kill monsters and people then she’s old enough to know all the murky reasons behind her mother and father’s deaths and family secrets.

Despite my above issues I really did enjoy this book. I was glad to see satisfying reveals made about what Victor Draconi is up to, and Lila bonding with others and becoming part of a family, even if at the moment she can’t fully see it yet. I can’t wait to see how Devon and Lila relationship blossoms in the next book.

I give The Dark Heart of Magic a B.

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