The Northern Heart, by Sasha Miller
Series: The Kingdom Curses, Book 2
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Release Date: March 8, 2017
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Several weeks ago Emmerich saved the royal family—but at great cost to himself. He keeps going into trances and wandering off, and the problem is getting worse. If they don’t figure out a solution soon, whatever’s wrong will kill him. As if that’s not enough, the person stuck babysitting him is a man he desperately wishes had wanted him for more than one night.
Pearce is at his wits end trying to save the man he cares about. Nothing he tries helps for more than a moment, and each time Emmerich falls asleep and slips into a trance, bringing him back out requires greater and greater magic—if the trance doesn’t kill him first, waking him most certainly will.
Magic and curses and royalty, oh my? I jumped at this one despite not having the first one in the series, and it was worth the chance. Miller does a good job of getting the reader up to speed without rehashing the first book, so I never felt lost. There are a few things that are never explicitly explained, but I like being able to figure things out from context.
The heart of this book are Pearce and Emmerich, who each think that the other rejected him after a one night stand that took place during the events of the first book. They pine for each other, but we never get a sense of why they like each other. They just do. I cheered when they finally cleared things up, but it wasn’t as satisfying as it could have been.
I really felt for Emmerich: his disorientation, exhaustion, and pain around his inexplicable curse felt real, and his reactions to the consequences after the curse is finally lifted are heartwrenching. He’s pulled around by the curse and turned into a pawn, and I wanted him to get his HEA.
But about halfway through the book, I realized that the most of the plot was being handled by the secondary characters. This dimmed my excitement for the book a little, since we are restricted to Pearce and Emmerich’s point of views, and I wanted to see them take action. The story’s singular setting, “the Wall,” also starts feeling flat around this same point, since we don’t get very much detail about it.
I enjoyed this as a fantasy story that focuses closely on two people in the midst of a much larger intrigue (plus the elves are super creepy and I really enjoyed seeing a fantasy trope turned on its head). I’m also eager to go back and read Book 1. The Northern Heart is a good entry to the series, if you don’t mind spoilers for the previous book, and it’s good enough to stand on its own.
Sasha L. Miller spends most of her time writing, reading, or playing with all things website design. She loves telling stories, especially romance, because there’s nothing better than giving people their happily ever afters. When not writing, she spends time cooking, harassing her wife, and fussing over her cats.
You can purchase The Northern Heart from:
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.