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This is the first Y.A. fantasy I've ever read. I'm four times the age of the typical Y.A. reader and my chosen genre is military S.F., but I thought this might be a book I could read and discuss with my daughter. I was very wonderfully surprised at the quality of this book. There is action from the very beginning. There is no gradual wind up. Perhaps a seasoned Fantasy reader might pick up some tropes and understand the difference between a Guardian, a Witch, a Werewolf, a Demon, and a few others, but I did not. But that doesn't mean I was lost. Juliana Mills has done a masterful job of mixing in the necessary information along with moving the plot along so there were no long sections of explanations dragging things down. I also suspect that she's given these characters strengths and weaknesses not ordinarily associated with this type of character. I very much liked the contemporary setting and the way the way she tied the supernatural characters into the modern world in a believable way. I'm planning on reading the next book. I want more information on the Covenant that's behind the way the supernatural characters relate to one another. This is clearly the beginning of a series, There is talk about four blades, so I would suspect a four book series. But this does not mean that this book doesn't have a meaningful conclusion. It does. I am very impressed with this book and world recommend it highly.
(So why only 4 stars? I do not ordinarily give 5 stars. I save 5 stars for a book that I feel is one of the best half dozen or so I've ever read. A story outside of my genre is very unlikely to receive 5 stars.)
A great story, with even better characters to carry me along through it. Del is a half-demon, feeding off of sorrow and refusing to pledge to her clan and become a full demon. In her search for Sanctuary she encounters Ash, a descendant of angels in training to be a sentinel, an enforcer of the laws of the Covenant. Del's violation of those laws gives Ash the courage to defy his father to protect her. Together they set off into the world in search of the Guild, which will protect Del from her Liege Lady, who has unleashed her Hunters to find Del and bring her back. At the same time Rose Grace, believed to be the girl to fulfill a thousand-year-old prophecy, is forced out of the Guild Sanctuary, and a second hunt commences to control her and the Heart Blade it is believed she will soon summon into existence, for Dark or Light. With control of that blade comes the power to remake the world, or destroy it, a prize for which even demons and angels will join forces.
From the first page this book hooks you in and doesn't let up. There's mystery (back history you want to learn about certain characters' pasts) from a couple different angles which grips you. Character development is by far one of the best which makes you feel deep emotion like hate, hope, faith in good overcoming evil, and love. Most of all I love the action scenes, it has such detailed descriptions that I could see it all play out in my head. I'm upset I have to wait ( waiting stinks) for the next book. One last thing, I love that it's a clean read. All ages could read this book.
A prophecy foretold of the Heart Blade, a weapon that could be wielded for good or evil, depending on who finds it first. Set in an urban, modern world full of demons, vampires, and half-angels--among other paranormal beings--HEART BLADE by Juliana Spink Mills is a YA novel that crosses over into adult appeal. The writing was tight, the plot was so engaging, and the rather large cast of characters was well-developed. I loved this book and am excited to read the next in the series!
Demons. Angels. Vampires…Yes, please. Debut Author Juliana Spink Mills knows how to ramp up the tension. She created a secret world within our own with solid world building. I loved all the characters and at the end, there’s a twist…You’ll never guess it. Plus there’s some kissing, so of course, I was hooked. Buy your copy today and then add reviews everywhere because you’re going to want Mills to keep writing. I know I do!
This is a fun read for those who enjoy sci-fi or fantasy. As someone not enamored of vampires, I was not expecting to so thoroughly enjoy this foray into the world of demons, angels, goblins and the like. Book one of the series seamlessly builds a world amid gripping high-stakes action scenes. There is contrast of characters, who knowingly embark on missions in the context of the preternatural world, and others who try to defy the rules or are drawn in by circumstances. Through trust, treachery, unlikely friendships and overturned prejudices, the author gives us characters in flux who are finding their place in the worlds. As a long-time resident of Connecticut, the clever and accurate references to the Hartford area were a bonus. I am looking forward to the continuation of this series.
This is 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.