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4.0 out of 5 stars White Hart, 21 Mar. 2014
This review is from: White Hart (White Hart series #1) (Kindle Edition)
There is only one craft-born every generation and because the realm needs magic again the king has said that the next craft-born has to marry his son Prince Casimir. Mae is the craft-born but does not want to be a princess instead she wants be with her father and someday have adventures, when Ellen another girl from her small town claims she is the craft-born, Mae is happy to let her marry Casimir. But on the day Prince Casimir comes to their town, Ellen is kidnapped and Mae's father is murdered. Mae, along with Casimir and Mae's white stag Anta, go into the cursed Waerg woods to find those responsible. However, will Mae's quest for revenge overcome her fear of her craft-born powers being discovered?

White Hart is a good YA fantasy novel which has the classic fantasy and fairytale feel, as it has a quest, young love and magic. I liked how descriptive the Waerg woods are as they come across as creepy, not just because of the creatures in it, but its general atmosphere.

Mae is a very impulsive and a bit of a whiny character, but I understood her desire to leave her town where she is an outcast looking for adventure even though it is a bit cliché. I liked Cas as he is more complex than he first appears to be, although he is oblivious and wanders into danger all the time, but I liked how he grew to appreciate Mae and see her as more than just a poor farm girl. I also liked Sasha as she says what she thinks and was willing to help Mae and Cas even when they had not been kind to her.

This book ends on a cliff-hanger I did not see coming and I am interested to see what happens next. I would recommend White Hart to fans of Witch Song by Amber Argyle and Cornerstone by Kelly Walker.
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4.0 out of 5 stars solid well written fantasy, 8 Mar. 2014
This review is from: White Hart (White Hart series #1) (Kindle Edition)
White Hart. Sarah Dalton
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
I like some YA/NA fantasy novels, they aren't always just an early teen read but suitable for all ages. White Hart is a well written YA, I was hoping for romance too but there's very little in this book. I didn't know it wasn't a standalone – and it ends on a really bad cliffhanger! One of those where you think there's another page, chapter etc but there isn't – it just ends with characters left in limbo, and regular readers of my reviews will Know How I Hate That. Argghh....I was looking anxiously at the % when it got to 90%, and I suspected that there were going to be more books. If I know in advance at least I can allow for it in my expectations. For choice I like to read these sort of books back to back, so I don't lose the plot and emotion waiting for next part. If its a couple of months then OK, but often its a year or more :( and I lose the enjoyment with that long gap. I can't find info on when next book out either, or how many more there will be, though I have messaged Sarah via her blog. I'll edit if I get more info :)
Anyway, too many straight contemporary romances on my list, so this looked a treat and it was ( except for that ending!!) Its really well written, Mae is a great lead character, and the main thrust of the book is the journey through the woods with Casimir the prince, for her to take revenge on those who killed her father and for Cas to rescue Ellen who he thinks is the Craft-Born and is to be his wife. To begin with there's lots of friction between Mae and Cas, he sees her as rude and uncouth and she sees him as a spoiled, pampered prince.
The journey takes some time though, through dangerous woods and along the way they both learn more about themselves, and see each other in a different light. Mae is still trying to hide her powers from Cas, she doesn't want the burden of becoming Queen, especially when Cas is so besotted with Ellen. Even though she's come to feel a lot for him she won't be second best, and if he knew the truth he'd have to marry her instead of Ellen. They face real threats to their lives and each rescue each other a few times, Mae still hiding her powers, though in truth she's so rarely used them that she doesn't know much about what she can do. I really enjoyed this getting to know and appreciate each other time, and the way Sarah avoided the all too common ploy of having the heroine use some new and unknown talent to get them out of danger. Mae does use her powers at times, but we're talked through it by way of her thoughts and can see that she's struggling with how to do it, and how to keep it hidden from Cas. They meet other people along the way, and face danger from them too when they see Mae riding Anta, her white stag. He was perfect, he'd been with her since birth and made the mystery of her birth and heritage so much more uncanny.
In all a terrific read, one I’d re read and one that all age groups can enjoy. I wanted to smack Cas at times for not appreciating and seeing Mae for what she is, rather than just the peasant she appears, though he does come to regard her as his best friend. Knowing how she's grown to feel about him, I was really hurt for her at times when he's talking about her future where she can perhaps marry a baker or something! Jerk....I just want him to see and love her for herself, and not the milkweed Ellen, ambitious, pretty but vacuous IMO. Then there's That Ending.....and I’ll say no more on that :) Its what's brought my star rating down, as I've no idea on how long we have to wait and how many more books.
Stars: Four, solid, well written fantasy and one I’d re read. ( if it was one complete novel I’d have gone five!)
ARC supplied by Netgalley
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Stunning, 5 Mar. 2014
This review is from: White Hart: 1 (Paperback)
5 Words: Exciting, magical, heartbreaking, fantasy, responsibility

Sarah Dalton is one of my favourite authors for a reason. I have never once failed to be seriously impressed by what I've read. All of her books have made me stop and think, and White Hart is no exception.

Even if I hadn't known the author - it's a certainty that I will pick up anything by Sarah Dalton - that cover would have compelled me to read it. Have you ever seen anything so gorgeous?

I wasn't sure whether I liked Mae at first. In fact, I'm not altogether sure that I like her now. But she is a wonderful character who changes so much between the pages. She experiences such hardship and she makes such difficult decisions that I couldn't help but grow to love her and her quirky ways.

I also loved Prince Casimir. He was much more complex than your first impressions of him would have you believe. But my, is he blind! Open your eyes, Cas! Even Sasha could see what was right in front of you. Speaking of Sasha, I liked her. I liked her honesty and her fear and how she helped Mae and Casimir on their quest, even though they treated her badly.

I couldn't stand Ellen. What a total... Nasty, selfish person. I almost feel like she deserves to be with Lyndon, another nasty piece of work.

I liked how the Nix stirred things up and sowed doubts in Mae's mind. It threw her into even greater turmoil. Here she is, trying to deal with everything that's been lumped upon her, her powers and responsibilities and then this creature of evil comes along and jumbles everything up and makes every decision so much harder.

But that ending... I want to read more about Mae and her White Hart and Prince Casimir and even Ellen. The ending is so shocking, so abrupt... At first I thought it was going to be happily-ever-after. Not for Mae, but perhaps for Casimir and the realm. But then those last paragraphs... I read the last chapter multiple times, trying to digest it. Really?! I need more now! It was such an unexpected turn of events.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent YA Fantasy novel, read it now!, 5 Mar. 2014
This review is from: White Hart (White Hart series #1) (Kindle Edition)
Yes, yes, yes! Yet another YA fantasy novel that I adore – thank you Sarah Dalton!

Firstly, I absolutely LOVE the cover. I was completely drawn in by this and thought it was really simple yet intriguing. It really conveys the fantastical element of the novel, without giving anything away.

The writing, oh my word the writing. Sarah Dalton has a true gift, this book is written beautifully. Each page had such vivid imagery and description, the prose flowed from chapter to chapter, keeping pace and momentum. I felt like I knew everything about the realm, Waerg Woods and villages, but there was still always more to come.

The setting is awesome. A world in which class matters, people are ostracized and isolated due to their heritage. A vile dictator, who calls himself King – I really hated this man! The Waerg Woods are terrifying. Throughout the journey of our main protagonists, Mae and Casimir, the woods become an eerie, fantastical place in which they encounter many hurdles. I won’t give too much away!

Mae and Casimir, I love them! Mae is our female heroine – a strong, independent and stubborn young woman seeking revenge. I enjoyed her struggle with her emotions and inner demons, coming to terms with her gift. I was rooting for her the whole time, willing her to do the right thing!

Casimir is our swoon factor, a royal prince accompanying Mae in order to find his betrothed. At first I wondered if I would grow to like him. He was the stereotypical, pompous prince, spoilt rotten. As the story develops we get to know him better and he certainly shows his vulnerability. Throughout his journey I feel he builds courage and breaks down his social class prejudices.

Anta, Mae’s stag – he was a wonderful addition to the narrative and became a lifeline, aide, support and friend. Incorporating an animal into the mix is wonderful and not something I have read much of.

The ending……cliffhanger….suspense….Noooooo! I want to know what happens, now! I can’t believe that the story ended as it did, hats off to you Sarah Dalton – I will definitely be purchasing the next instalment!

Thank you for the opportunity to review this book, I wish Sarah Dalton the success she truly deserves.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Must read!!, 24 Feb. 2014
This review is from: White Hart (White Hart series #1) (Kindle Edition)
I had been doing a bit of searching through Goodreads, looking for books to add to my anticipated reads 2014 list. Upon seeing this cover, it instantly caught my attention. So simple, yet effective. A proud mythical creature beckoning me into its world. Inviting me on an adventure!

From the first page I was instantly hooked. The storyline was so well written, the progression unrushed. Mae is such a loveable character, a free spirit and yearning for adventure. The authors writing style leaves nothing to the imagination. Everything has just the right amount of detail, you almost feel like your there, your Mae and this is your journey.

All 3 times I picked this up to read, I found it so hard to put down, on the 3rd time I was finished. Finished the book with a cliffhanger...why do you do this to me!?! lol. But this is exactly the kind of series I love, ending a book the way this one ended, just makes you want more!

It pains me knowing that this book is only getting released next month. I need the next books in the series now, I must know what happens next!

So what are you waiting for, buy this book now, spread the word to your fellow readers. This is going to be one amazing series!

Congratulations to Sarah Dalton, may you have many future successes!

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