Title: Heart of Mist
Author: Helen Scheuerer
Series(?): The Oremere Chronicles (#1)
Publisher: Talem Press
Publication Date: August 31st 2017
Source & Format: E-ARC provided by the Author.
Page Count: 487
In a realm where toxic mist sweeps the lands and magic is forbidden, all Bleak wants is a cure for her power.
Still grieving the death of her guardian and dangerously self-medicating with alcohol, Bleak is snatched from her home by the Commander of the King’s Army, and summoned to the capital.
But the king isn’t the only one interested in Bleak’s powers.
The leader of an infamous society of warriors, the Valia Kindred, lays claim to her as well, and Bleak finds herself in the middle of a much bigger battle than she anticipated.
Heart of Mist is the gripping first book in The Oremere Chronicles, a fantasy series of epic proportions.
Purchase the book!
This was an ARC provided to me by the author. This has in no way impacted my review, which is honest and unbiased. Thank you to Helen Scheuerer for giving me the opportunity to review this book.
If you wanted to read some prequel stories to Heart of Mist, click here!
Heart of Mist was outstanding all in all.
It’s plot, characters, and world building was fantastic.
When you have a story you don’t want to let go of, it’s quite hard to say goodbye to it. This is exactly the impression Heart of Mist had on me.
A world surrounded by a deadly mist which leaves everyone at risk, but the true enemy might be within their boundaries? One world which contains badass female warriors that have a strict system of combat and power? The world where everything is never perfect and each character deals with their own struggles, no matter their age? COUNT ME IN.
I love the journey we took with Bleak and how much she changed throughout the novel and how prevalent the change is. The other point of views (yep, there are multiple and they were all brilliant) all took their own personal journies as well and my favorite perspective was Dash. I have such a theory surrounding Dash and it’s making me excited and giddy and I hope it’s right. I WILL BE SO SHOCKED IF IT IS RIGHT.
The prose and the pacing were great as well, I could follow the flow of the story with tension being built up wonderfully in Heart of Mist. My heart managed to stop at the shocking moments and I felt myself loving every moment of reading it.
I can’t be spoilery and it’s so hard not to be. There are so many questions I have after reading it as well that waiting for the sequel will be so hard. Can’t I just have it now?
Nothing tasted as sweet as stolen sugar-oat biscuits.
The plot, the plot, the plot is on fire!
It was lit. It was blazing. I will stop with the fire puns now. But seriously, Heart of Mist’s plot was on point with nailing the pacing and ensuring that I was always hooked onto discovering more about the characters. I also found that the PoVs switched sometimes right at the time I wanted to know more, which kept me reading until their perspective showed up again.
Exploring Bleak’s Ashai powers was something that was fantastic in Heart of Mist as well, it was great to see how the magic worked and the limitations of the power. It was great to see other Ashai powers and how some of them played a part in the plot of Heart of Mist.
This story dealt with issues like addiction and belonging. They were prominent in the novel as they had real effects on the characters and I loved it. These issues aren’t ones to be dealt in the background, they have to be dealt head on and I love the way how Bleak’s addiction was handled in Heart of Mist.
Also the word Oremere? I was reading the entire novel, waiting to know what it meant and when I finally understood and pieced it all together, I couldn’t handle my emotions. AND THE ENDING WAS JUST. It was something made me put 1+1 together and get 3.
These characters are tough sugar-oat cookies and I want them all to be safe.
Both the main and side characters in Heart of Mist were developed beautifully, and I definitely developed a connection with them.
Bleak is such a strong character who has dealt with so much in her life, but she refuses to back down no matter how many times she herself, wants to. I did also feel sorry for Bleak at parts of the novel, but overall she becomes stronger due to her times of being weak. She learns, she improves, she wins.
On the other hand, Henri is a phenomenal woman. Henri is one of the Valia Kindred and she definitely lives up to the impression that name implies. Henri was badass, and she mostly got things to go in her way. But Henri isn’t invincible, she has her weaknesses and they are made clear in Heart of Mist. Still, she’s amazing.
SWINTON ON THE OTHER HAND. I have so many mixed emotions about him. There is a want to hate him but I also want to hug him so much. I can’t go into too much detail but he’s a character that will sometimes get on your nerves but he’s just trying to be a good cookie.
Dash. Ten-year old Dash might I add, is perhaps one of the best characters in this book. Scheuerer writes him so well, and you can definitely feel the child-like tendencies within his perspective. I want to take him away from his current life and throw him into one of luxury, give him a better life. I feel a lot of bitterness towards the King as well, for multiple reasons.
Her mouth was set in a hard line, and she turned the wheel. She must be mad. Truly and utterly mad.
Other Main Characters
Bleak’s best friend, Bren was quite a nice character to have. He showed that there was always someone there to support Bleak and that he’d do anything to protect her. But, I feel like his wanting to help her will be his ultimate downfall in the end.
There is also the sweet Princess Olena who is blind, but not weak. People mistake her for being weak, however, she is quite intelligent and I feel like she will have a role to play in the rest of the Oremere Chronicles. She is quite hilarious, and I feel like her role will get larger as time goes on. Her friendship with Dash is so sweet and I don’t ever want it to end.
Perhaps one of the only decent males in Heart of Mist (aside from Dash and perhaps Swinton. Bren is 50/50), Fiore is such a kind guy towards Bleak and although there are hints of romance, there wasn’t much. I feel like Fiore and Bleak would make a good couple or even good best friends. Fiore is Swinton’s best friend but you can definitely see Swinton’s jealousy when Fiore begins to make friends with other people and it’s HILARIOUS.
Thank you for reading my review! I was lucky to be able to submit some questions to Helen Scheuerer for her to answer on my blog, so I hope you enjoy the little Q&A below.
An Interview with Helen Scheuerer
Describe your writing space, including what you eat/drink while you write!
I’m lucky that I have a pretty large desk with lots of space to spread out. My desk fluctuates between being super neat and tidy to being absolute chaos. Over the years I’ve realised that I need to work with two screens, so I have a laptop and an external monitor – which is a lifesaver when it comes to preventing neck pain!
I’m also a massive tea drinker. Making a cuppa is the first thing I do every morning, and there’s a 99% chance that if you spot me working, I’ll have a mug of tea next to me. I tend not to snack while I work though – I’m paranoid about getting food in my keyboard!
What was your fondest memory of writing Heart of Mist?
For better or for worse, I’m very focused and I think that means sometimes I forget to take a step back and appreciate things. One of my fondest memories was actually when I received the final map design for Heart of Mist. I’d been working with the designer for months, but hadn’t really thought about the big picture… Opening that final file was a big deal – for once I actually paused and took in the realm I’d created… It was an incredible feeling.
Addiction, Loss, and Identity were poignant themes in Heart of Mist. What inspired these themes in the book?
To be honest, I never set out to explore specific themes. To me, themes are an aspect of reading that are entirely up to the reader’s interpretation. As I drafted and redrafted Heart of Mist, the characters became more and more defined, and these sorts of themes became a natural part of the story.
The Valian Warriors are completely badass and awesome! What were some of your influences to create such amazing fighters?
Haha, thank you! I’m so glad you think so, because that’s how I feel about them too! The main inspiration I had for the Valia kindred were the warriors of Sparta. The kindred’s vigorous training regime was definitely inspired by Spartan society, while the matriarchal society definitely echoes the spirit of the Amazonian warrior legends.
Are you able to sort your main characters into Hogwarts Houses?
This is my favourite interview question ever! Hmmmm let’s see…
Bleak – Slytherin (but chooses Gryffindor!)
Henri – Ravenclaw
Swinton – Slytherin
Dash – Gryffindor
Bren – Hufflepuff
Olena – Ravenclaw
Fiore – Gryffindor
(Can you tell I’m a Gryffindor?)
Who would win if all your characters were entered into The Hunger Games?
Definitely Henri. I’d certainly want to be her ally, that’s for sure!
Do you have a favourite location within the Upper Realm?
Hmmmm… That’s hard, because in Heart of Mist, we only see a small section of the Upper Realm… I do have a soft spot for Valia Forest. It’s really vivid in my mind, and I could really see myself reading among the treetops!
If you were ever claimed by the mist, how long do you think you’d last?
Haha, another great question! Not long at all. I’d love to think that some amazing survival instinct would kick in and I’d somehow manage to outmaneuver the mist, but let’s face it – I’d probably be a big wimp.
How did you keep yourself motivated while writing?
I was incredibly lucky to have two amazing writing friends by my side the entire time I was writing Heart of Mist. My besties Kyra and Claire did NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) with me, and we checked in daily to see how we were all progressing on our book projects.
Heart of Mist is actually dedicated to them, that’s how much they helped get me through the writing and editing stages. The importance of surrounding yourself with supportive people can’t be stressed enough!
Through your work on Writer’s Edit, you’ve helped dozens of writers including myself along on their writing journeys. As I’m hoping to publish YA Fantasy myself, do you have any tips? I’m especially looking for tips on building an author platform.
That’s so exciting! Congratulations. I’m always so thrilled to hear about other YA fantasy books, and I’m stoked to hear that Writer’s Edit has helped you on your writing journey!
In terms of author platforms, I’d say – it’s never too early to start. A lot of authors think that they have to be published or have a book out to be growing their online presence, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s much better to start early, to start to gain a readership before you’ve got a book out.
I’d also suggest choosing one or two platforms and dedicate yourself to perfecting these, rather than trying to do too many things at once. That’s a common mistake – signing up for a tonne of different social media accounts and then struggling to maintain them all. It’s far more beneficial to choose one or two and do them well, and gain a loyal readership through these.
Personally, I love Twitter. It’s so easy to find a community you fit in with, and particularly in the YA community, everyone’s really welcoming and supportive.
About the Author
Helen is also the Founding Editor of Writer’s Edit (www.writersedit.com), an online literary magazine and learning platform for emerging writers. It’s now one of the largest writers’ platforms in the world.
Helen’s love of writing and books led her to pursue a Bachelor of Creative Arts, majoring in Creative Writing at the University of Wollongong and a Masters of Publishing at the University of Sydney.
Helen now works as a freelance writer and editor, while she works on the second book in The Oremere Chronicles. (taken from her Goodreads Author Page)
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Are you going to be reading Heart of Mist when it releases on August 31st?