Cenric is his town’s scribe, having lived in Lansdale his entire life. But his life changes dramatically when he buys a necklace from a peddler’s cart. He thinks about giving it to a girl he admires, only to find out that she has just gotten engaged to someone else. Then, his house catches fire in the night and Cenric barely escapes with his life. He’s lost everything, but before he can absorb his losses, a stranger grabs him and hustles him out of town, just ahead of a specter bent on killing him.
The world described in The Heart of the Kingdom is a rich and believable world, replete with a variety of characters and places. My favorite spot was the tree inhabited by dwarves, a spot I’d really like to visit in person. The characters are also well-drawn, three-dimensional, and interesting. I especially liked Cenric and Rylan. The dynamics between them rings true and I enjoyed watching their relationship develop.
The plot is exciting with a lot of twists and plenty of curses. The mystery of who is behind the curses is well plotted and it took me quite awhile to figure things out. Parts of it I didn’t deduce until the very end, so the book is a real page turner. It is hard to decide who can be trusted and who can’t.
I liked the way the point of view changed from Cenric in the first part to Rylan in the second. It was fun to see the love develop between them, how each was uncertain about the feelings of the other, and how they managed to resolve their feelings. It is really very sweet indeed.
The Heart of the Kingdom is the first book in The Kingdom Curses series and it is one that fantasy readers will really enjoy. Personally, I’m looking forward to reading more in this series. It has really captured my interest.
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