Happy Thursday everyone! Super excited to invite you to my stop on the Heart of Thorns blog tour. I had my eye on this one since the beginning of the summer so I was eager to get my hands on a copy of this new release!
Heart of Thorns
(Heart of Thorns #1)
by Bree Barton
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Inventive and heart-racing, this fiercely feminist teen fantasy trilogy from debut author Bree Barton examines a dark kingdom in which only women can possess magic—and every woman is suspected of having it.
Mia Rose wants only one thing: revenge against the Gwyrach—feared, reviled, and magical women—who killed her mother. After years training under her father’s infamous Hunters, Mia is ready. She will scour the four kingdoms, find her mother’s murderer, and enact the Hunters’ Creed: heart for a heart, life for a life.
But when Mia is thrust into the last role she ever wanted—promised wife to the future king—she plots a daring escape. On her wedding night, Mia discovers something she never imagined: She may be a Huntress, but she’s also a Gwyrach. As the truth comes to light, Mia must untangle the secrets of her own past. Now if she wants to survive, Mia must learn to trust her heart . . . even if it kills her.
Once upon a time, in a castle carved of stone, a girl plotted murder.
Right off the bat, this novel has so much promise. And the promise remains through the novel, but the story seems to teeter on the edge of fulfilling it’s promise right up to the very end. That is to say that Heart of Thorns was so close to being great but it never really got there for me.
Barton herself is a talented writer but her first novel definitely could have benefited from a bit more editing. I felt for most of the novel that she was just trying too hard to be edgy. Her writing is utterly over descriptive and just LOADED with (mostly weak) metaphors and similes. I applaud her inclusion of LGBT characters but instead of seeming natural, she managed to make almost all LGBT interactions/discussions seem awkward (which I’m really hoping was not her intent).
The same goes for her “fiercely feminist” theme. It seemed to me that she was trying so hard to be feminist that she really just overdid it. The story takes place in a world that pretty much treats women like shit. And our main character learns the wrongs of her ways and rises up to give women back their power. And of course the love interest, who was raised in this society AND by perhaps the most sexist/sadistic character of all, has managed to (instinctively?) escape being an ass and is instead the only male character in the kingdom that understands how they treat women is wrong. Is this very original? Not really…
Of course, with all Barton’s faults, I kept seeing the glimmer of hope in her writing. Every once in a while, I came across a passage that really spoke to me or was just the right balance of descriptive that it was beautiful.
They were silent a long time, day sinking slowing into night. The sunlight on the water was golden, then salmon pink, then dusky as the moon put on a white veil and walked the sable sky.
The bottom line is that I really liked Mia, Quin and the assorted side characters. I mostly enjoyed Heart of Thorns but I feel like I have to be a little hard on Barton. If you are setting out to write a groundbreaking feminist novel, you need to be a bit more original & not quite so obvious (especially in this current day and age of fierce YA fantasy heroines). This is the first book in a trilogy and I’m hoping Barton’s writing evolves a bit as she continues the series.
Like I said in the very beginning, she is so close to greatness.
Quin extracted a leather scabbard from his boot and unsheathed a thin, silver blade. He held it out to her. Now it was Mia’s turn to blanch.
“Do I want to know why you brought a sheath knife to our wedding?”
His smile was rueful. “Always wise to carry a weapon in times of unimaginable duress.”
Bree Barton is a writer in Los Angeles. When she’s not lost in whimsy, she works as a ghostwriter and dance teacher to teen girls. She is on Instagram and YouTube as Speak Breely, where she posts funny videos of her melancholy dog.
And finally, here is your chance to WIN a copy of Heart of Thorns
This contest is open to the US only and will run through 8/7.
Follow the rest of the tour with us 🙂