- Also check our best rated Romance Book reviews
Heart of Hythea [Song of the Arkafina #1] Paperback – 19 Dec 2007
|New from||Used from|
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
|5 star (0%)|
|4 star (0%)|
|3 star (0%)|
|2 star (0%)|
|1 star (0%)|
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
So with all this to like, why not five stars? One word: Katrione. Katrione is the main character in the story and a major part of what is keeping me from giving this book five stars. Unfortunately, the image I picked up of her from this story is of someone as dumb as a post who consistently makes terrible decisions and critical misjudgements. In fact, I reached a point where I dreaded seeing her take action at all, because I knew whatever she did, she was going to make the situation worse. At a couple points, we are told that "she had matured so much" since the beginning of the book, but I'm not sure what the author is basing this on as Katrione is still making the same mistakes she was at the beginning. At the end of the book, Katrione is not only a vessel for the Goddess (okay, this was heavily foreshadowed), but Queen of the City as well for no apparent reason and despite the fact that she has approximately zero experience in any sort of authority position. Given her track record over the course of the book, I can only hope she's a constitutional figurehead without real power.
Now how might this problem be fixed? After all, all characters make mistakes and you can't have a character who wins everything all the time without struggle, because that's boring and unrealistic. There are a couple things I can think of that might help. First of all, let us see Katrione thinking about what she is going to do next. Let us see her attempting to plan out and anticipate some of the difficulties she might encounter, or at least get some sense that she recognizes there might even be difficulties. Perhaps she could have drawn on her experience with Jacq and the Rising; for example, in attempting to plot out her flight to the city at the end of the book. Maybe she's picked up some things about stealth from them. Maybe she's overheard information about the city guards that she can use to get past them. At least give us some sense that she is picking up knowledge and skills as the book progresses, instead of just bouncing along from event to event.
Another issue is that there were times when the author seemed to be unreasonably against her; for example, when she returned to the city to meet her friend Becka, to find that Becka was suddenly and for no apparent reason consumed with jealousy for her and determined to make her life harder. There really was no reason for that except to put an additional, pointless obstacle in Katrione's way. That's another thing that could have helped--lightening up on Katrione. An author can't always give a character everything, but sometimes an author can give a character something.
I believe this was the author's first book, and I see real promise here. The fundamentals (world building, plotting, etc) are solid; she just needs a stronger character to drive the plot. Katrione got the job done okay, but a stronger character could really have made it sing. She got me interested to the point where I might check out the rest of the series (a rarity for me these days; I hardly ever do unless the first book is really amazing), and I look forward to seeing how the author grows over the course of the series.
I found it interesting and compelling. Kat is a Juvenie (Francis has invented/adopted a rich language for her world, fortunately she includes a glossary at the end) which is sort of an nurse practitioner intern who possesses special healing gifts. She also has a special relationship with Lalluna, a winged goddess who Kat calls on from time to time for help or advice. While spurning the unwanted advances from Tomas de Vigny, she reunites with her childhood idol Jacq Benet. She marries Jacq, and soon discovers that Jacq is not the simple blacksmith he claims to be. She begins using her own powers to heal the sick despite the ban on such things. When Beaumarais is threatened with destruction, Kat and Jacq both must follow their own paths, risking their love and their lives to save the city and each other.
Francis has created an interesting world with a lot of details and hidden meanings. There seems to be a pantheon of spirits wrestling for control of the world, and she gives a brief insight into their battle before each chapter. I'm thinking this will be played out much more throughout the Arkafina series. I'm looking forward to reading more of the series.