Author: Mysti Parker
Genre: Adult, High Fantasy
Source: the author
Goodreads | Amazon
In Tallenmere, fate has a way of catching up with you...Review by Chantelle and Nara
Somewhere, hidden in the waters of the Southern Sea, lies an island unlike any other. Within the amber glow of its pyrogem-laden cliffs, legend says the very heart of the dragon god Drae keeps the island, and its occupants, alive.
Loralee Munroviel, daughter of Leogard's High Priestess Arianne, had no idea what she would face when she arrived by boat ten years ago and was left alone in exile. All she knew about Draekoria's inhabitants was written in one tattered notebook. Now, her life revolves around keeping Drae's descendants happy. Never in her life did she imagine being a Dragon Keeper.
Captain Igrorio Everlyn, known as Sir Robert to his unit of Holy Paladins, has faced his share of hell, battling the evils of Emperor Sarvonn's tyranny and the dark god Tyr's abominations. But none of that compares to the ten years of hell he's been without Loralee, presumed dead.
One freak storm changes everything. Now the two of them must fight to reestablish the delicate balance of the island before the dragons take things into their own hands. Through it all, they discover the secrets that kept them, and their hearts, exiled for a decade.
So, for this review, we're going to be dividing up the different aspects of the novel. Chantelle will be examining the characters and the writing, and Nara will be looking at plot and world building.
I loved the promise of fantasy in Hearts in Exile, however I was so glad that there was a substantial amount of romance, that for me, really carried the book - but that could just be because I love romances.
“Loralee! What on Tallenmere are you doing?”
Misty Parker has a great writing style, a well-balanced blend of world-building, humour and romance. In particular, I was a fan of her use of imagery and the way she'd describe certain scenes. It really captured my attention despite some confusion to the plot at the beginning.
Hearts in Exile is told from both Loralee and Igrorio's points of view, alternating each chapter. At first this was quite confusing, because time also kept jumping and the chapters were quite short so you don't get to 'stay' with each character for long before you switch so I found that it definitely took a little longer than usual for me to settle into the book. However, this ensured a fast pace throughout the book that kept my attention and kept me reading. A criticism of this however, if I'm focusing on characters in this review, is that this didn't help me 'bond' with the main characters, especially Loralee. This is because her personality is a bit more demure, a quiet courage that in the beginning is shadowed by other more boisterous characters (we'll get to that in a bit), and again, took a while to warm to and understand. She's a healer, but it's so unique, she'll assimilate the patient's injuries on herself and if she 'connects' with the earth, then the disease or injury will dissipate. A really cool idea, but it really bugged me that I didn't catch a physical description of her at the beginning. When I read, even though appearances are obviously not everything, it really helps to imagine her in my head, even after several chapters, all I knew was that she had green eyes and freckles, so to me this was a flaw in the character development in the book.
Igrorio was a really captivating character to read about. His back story and personality had me engaged from the start. Other kick ass characters were the dragons. I loved the dragons, really, they are awesome. They have personality, and there are so many dragon quips and puns, it was so amusing, I could really tell that Parker was having fun with it and that was nice. I also think that Puddle as a name for a pet is beyond adorable, definitely storing that in the name bank! Now over to Nara for the plot and world building!
Hearts in Exile was quite a good book. Well written, interesting characters and amazing world building. I'm tackling plot and world building in my section of the review, so here goes:
I really think that the best thing about this novel was the world building (yep, it was better than the romance). World building can really make or break a novel, and it's just so important in high fantasy novels. Parker really nails it in Hearts in Exile. This is maybe because it was a world that has been set up already in previous novels. But the lore of the novel- the elves, the weird creatures, the dragons- these were all well described and well explained. I quite enjoyed reading about the background history of the novel.
The plot was fairly good, but I found that at times it was a bit too predictable. The villain was pretty obvious (there were all these hints at the villains' evilness throughout the novel). At the very start of the novel, it feels as if you've been dumped in the middle of the story- it takes a bit of time for you to be able to keep track of things. And then as you read on, you find that you have actually literally been dumped in the middle of the story- we start in the present, and then with flashbacks, the past is slowly revealed. The romance was a sweet one that spanned about a century (they're elves, not humans, so they live a long time). Although it was definitely not an instalove, it almost felt like one for me, because at the start there was quite a long period of time compressed into a few pages. In terms of the ending, I think it was nice, although slightly cliched. I wouldn't have wanted it to end any other way.