By: Helen Scheuerer
# 1 in the Oremere Chronicles | 487 pages | Pub. 2017
Heart of Mist at a Glance
- Overall Rating: ★★
- Dude: Deserves a Hermione Granger punch to the nose
- Steaminess: Unless you count Bleak and her wine…no steam, just mist.
- Emotional: “You’re my eyes, Dash” – BRB CRYING
- Brutal: The only brutal part of this book was making us finish it
Pairs Well With
- 1.5 oz Absolut Citron
- .75 oz Cointreau
- .5 oz cranberry juice
- .5 oz pomegranate syrup
- 2 limes
- Dry ice
Beware. Spoilers are coming…
This book takes the title way too seriously. There is lots of mist, but only three people seem to have a heart. Most of the characters are irredeemable crapheads. Bleak gets drunk and throws up everywhere in the opening scene, so I guess I should have known where this was all going. In true hangover style, she forgets that she wasn’t even wearing shoes until she gets stabbed in the foot. This right here, is the heroine we have been looking for. Bleak and her wine are actually pretty funny. This is the moment I decided that Bleak is a virgin, destined only to end up with wine.
“She cupped the goblet like she would a new lover’s face, greedy with anticipation. She tried to look casual as she raised it to her lips. She stifled a moan of pleasure, of relief. Tension drained from her whole body. She savoured the first mouthful, swirling it around with her tongue, but as soon as she had done that, she drained the goblet. She needed more.”
I am not a fan of the overabundance of misogynistic, rapey men. First, we get Maz, the town heartbreaker who says “Stupid bitch, things she can turn me down. Like i’d want her now. Dirty, drunk scum.” Yep, he is one in a million. Next we get Lennox, who tries to rape Bleak multiple times. Finally, our “hero” Swinton date rape drugs Henri so that she won’t follow him! I’m over it. All men except Fiore, Bren and Dash can just go jump into the mist asap.
Bren, Dash, and possibly Olena are the only reasonable characters in the entire thing. Dash and Olena’s bestie relationship is the sweetest thing and pretty much made the book for me. Without these two I would have given up way before. Also, when Bren follows her to save Bleak, twice, he is just an amazing human. She doesn’t deserve him at all.
And what is with the endless unrequited love? Athene and Henri, Bren and Bleak. I’m exhausted from the almosts. I was pretty happy when Bren and Tilly got together because at least Tilly has a personality and can make jokes. I’m shipping Tilly and Fiore because they would actually bring some entertainment to the storyline.
The foreshadowing is over the top. It’s pretty obvious that Bleak is Sahara’s daughter. We didn’t get clarity on this one, but the author is practically beating us over the head with it.
So, for the one thing that irritated me the most in a completely irrational way? Battalon is a desert, but they talk about the humidity being causing the worst of the heat. So either Scheuerer doesn’t understand basic weather or she is trying to annoy me. If it has firestorms, there wouldn’t be any humidity. Also, you would have trees and dirt etc. Anyway, that drove me crazy.
This book was so S L O W. I felt like I was a turtle trying desperately to win a race but never getting to the finish line. On top of that it was so disjointed and unclear how all the storylines were going to fit together into a cohesive plot. I get that its a series and thus a long-game but I still felt like Scheuerer could’ve done a better job at making the story flow.
Honestly what’s up with authors including SO MANY puking incidents in their stories?! I do not need this – especially as graphically detailed as they are in this book. Nope. Nope. Nope.
And I wanted to bitch slap 90% of the men right out of this book (Fiore and Dash you can stay). This book starts off with a dude name Maz burning down Bleak’s home and trying to assault her while the rest of the town stands by and says “yeah sure” then a soldier tries to rape Bleak multiple times and his Commander is like “meh, not my problem I didn’t even want him on this squad.” All y’all dudes that stand around while other dudes attack women are equally complicit in my book. Not okay.
And you Commander Swinton are actual swine for drugging Henri and almost getting her assaulted. And he is somehow okay with 103 prisoners (fellow magical people!) being locked in a maze about to be shipped off to some creepy tower. He is a coward and must go.
The only reason I gave this story 2.5 stars is because of the inclusion of a diverse range of characters. I enjoyed that the only real hint of romance we get is from an LGBT couple and young love from a blind princess and poor stable boy. While a drunken girl is not necessarily “diverse” I still liked this plot line as it shows a diverse range of reasons people might turn to alcohol.
Questions I had:
- Why does Dash’s mom call him “Master Dash”? Weird
- Where are all the men in Valian society? I mean I’m cool with this all lady society but it takes two to tango (and procreate) right? Do all Valian babies come from immaculate conception or something?!
- Does anyone else get Jorah Mormont vibes from Bren?
Let us know what you thought of Heart of Mist in the comments!