Review: Dark Heart of Magic

Dark Heart of Magic
Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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…

Cold Burn of Magic ended with Lila agreeing to join the Sinclair family, with the common goal of taking down Victor Draconi, who killed her mother. Dark Heart of Magic continues a few months later, with Cloudburst Falls witnessing a sudden surge in violent killings of the monsters that live there. The Families are tasked with maintaining the town, so Lila is a bit interested in who is freaking out the monsters. At a time when she wants to fly under the radar, she is asked to participate in the annual Tournament of Blades. The competition is tough, but with Lila’s abilities, she has a really good chance of winning. Someone is, however, sabotaging the games.

As Lila investigates the mysterious monster killings as well as the sabotage of the games, we get to see more into the working of Cloudburst Falls, and the monsters that surround the town. Lila has always been respectful towards the monsters, something that is partly due to her mother teaching her the old ways, and partly because of her soul-sight. The reveal at the end about the saboteur, was a bit anticlimactic for me – it built up to so much and just eh. On the other hand, the dirt she gets on Draconi? That was some good plot progression. It sets things up for the next book pretty well, and the series structure falls into place. A bit predictable, yes, but also keeps the interest.

As for Lila, she has always been a strong person, but her one flaw is that she doesn’t ever trust anyone completely. The distance she puts between herself and Devon, was an unnecessary complication, in my opinion. Felix and Deah – them I can get as having complicated issues, but Lila and Devon not so much. It was interesting to learn of Lila and Deah’s connection and I’m all for strong heroines relying on each other. Hopes up for the next one!

Received a free galley from Kensington Books via Netgalley; this does not influence my opinions or the review.

Previous book in series

Cold Burn of Magic

View all my reviews

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