Heart of Thorns

Heart of Thorns

In the ancient river kingdom, touch is a battlefield, bodies the instruments of war. Seventeen-year-old Mia Rose has pledged her life to hunting Gwyrach: women who can manipulate flesh, bones, breath, and blood.Not women. Demons. The same demons who killed her mother without a single scratch. But when Mia's father suddenly announces her marriage to the prince, she is force...

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Title:Heart of Thorns
Author:Bree Barton
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Heart of Thorns Reviews

  • Anissa (FairyLoot)

    Loved this so much!

  • Melanie

    Hello, friends! This is going to be a hard one to review. I honestly feel like this is a solid 2.5 star read, but some aspects make me want to raise that rating and others make me want to lower it. I will say the end of this book is phenomenal. Like, easily the best part. And it was so good that I want to continue on. But the rest, especially the

    Hello, friends! This is going to be a hard one to review. I honestly feel like this is a solid 2.5 star read, but some aspects make me want to raise that rating and others make me want to lower it. I will say the end of this book is phenomenal. Like, easily the best part. And it was so good that I want to continue on. But the rest, especially the earlier sections, were some of the most predictable reading I’ve ever read.

    Again, I’m super torn on this one. This book does tackle a lot of important themes, and I would say that the heart of this novel is honestly feminism. This book shines a spotlight on inequality between men and women, and how women in this world basically developed magic because it was the only way to somewhat counterbalance it.

    This book stars a young girl named Mia, who is getting ready to celebrate a marriage that her father has chosen for her. Mia is contemplating running away, so she won’t be forced to marry a prince that she barely knows. But Mia has a sick sister who she has to take into account, because she can’t bear to leave her. But her sister wants nothing more than to stay, safely tucked away in the castle, while hoping for her chance at love.

    Mia’s father is a renowned hunter of Gwyrach, which are woman who are believed to be witches, who are said to be able to stop a man’s heart just by laying their hands on their skin. They are also said to have powers to enthrall those around them and make them do their bidding. So, in this world, all women are forced to wear gloves, and it is considered unthinkable to be seen without them.

    But this story is truly about Mia’s mother, who was killed when Mia was very young, and found dead with not a mark upon her skin.

    truly centers on Mia trying to figure out who killed her mother, and why they chose to do so. And Mia is able to finally leave the castle and hope to search for clues once her wedding day ends with a murder attempt.

    Together, Mia, and the promised prince that she knew barely anything about, go on an adventure where they find out a lot not only about Mia’s mother, but about the entire corrupt world they live in. And Mia finds out who she really is, and what she can really become, only if she chooses to embrace and love what she is, instead of hating it because of what she’s grown up learning.

    for talk of illness, graphic depictions of dead bodies and parts from those dead bodies, physical abuse, assault, sexual assault (unwanted touching), war themes, torture, violence in general, cruel death of an animal, a lot of blood visuals, murder, and too many rape attempts and talk of past rape attempts.

    So, the promised prince’s name is Quin, and he honestly was my favorite character in the entire book. Not only is he bisexual, he is just kind, and caring, and thoughtful, and empathic. He also really loves dogs, and this is another very important quality that I personally look for in people. And speaking about more sexual representation, Mia’s mom was for sure not straight and was in a relationship with another woman. There is also a big side character that is gay. There is also a little bit of disability representation in this book, from another character that I really liked. Again, this book does have a lot of good, it just also has a lot of predictability.

    Sometimes while reading, I felt like this was maybe a middle grade book. Because the writing is well done, but the clues are so glaringly obvious it makes for a poor reading experience. Hence why the end was so amazing, because it actually has twist after twist that I didn’t see coming. But I’ll be honest, the first 75% of this book is somewhat boring to read. At least, it was for me.

    Again, I still think this is a really good start to something that could be amazing. Between the feministic themes, to the bonds of sisterhood, to the lengths we are willing to go for the ones we love, I want more from this world, these characters, and this author. Also, this is Bree Barton’s debut novel, so I’m going to cut her a little slack for the predictability. And I honestly am excited to continue on with this series.

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    Buddy read with

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    ! ❤

  • Alana • thebookishchick

    This was a bummer for me, you guys. I was really looking forward to this one and it just really fell short for me. The premise of this book was

    good, and when I read the synopsis I was instantly sold. But unfortunately, this one just didn't do it for me.

    For starters this was

    trope-y, and don't get me wrong I love a good trop

    This was a bummer for me, you guys. I was really looking forward to this one and it just really fell short for me. The premise of this book was

    good, and when I read the synopsis I was instantly sold. But unfortunately, this one just didn't do it for me.

    For starters this was

    trope-y, and don't get me wrong I love a good trope (I mean I've only screamed about tropes in, like, my last ten reviews) but there were so many tropes and so little development. They were just thrown at you with a bunch of extra info and then on to the next. It was like an Oprah show during Christmas. "You get a trope, you get a trope, you get a trope, don't think we forgot about you in the back - here's another trope for you". I think fewer tropes and more development within those tropes would have been a little better for this story.

    Second, the MC was forgettable and sometimes rather annoying. Honestly, if her name wasn't Mia I probably would have forgotten it by now. The rest of the characters were basically just as forgettable, except for Mia's mother and sister. I do have to say I really did love reading about Mia's mother and what happened to her leading up to her murder, it was probably the only highlight of the story for me.

    Third, the pacing or whatever that was? I mean this was really my biggest problem and struggle with the book. Parts of this book were so descriptive that it just felt off. Once Mia learns she is a Gwyrach and is being taught about her magic she goes through "training" as would any other YA girl learning about her unknown magic. Except that training is, like, a pretty decent amount of this book and it's literally the span of one day. One day of training. I was so thrown off by this because I thought this was something that was happening over the course of days, not less than 24 hours. It was really weird because you just spend so much time reading about the training and then realize it was literally one day out out the characters life.

    I do have to say, despite the things I didn't care for some of the plot twists were actually unexpected for me. And I do love me a good unexpected plot twist because I am the queen of overthinking and usually figure these things out early on. You can also expect a strong focus on feminism/sisterhood once you power through about 45% of this book.  And I generally did enjoy the fact that this book really focuses on perspective a lot. Where Mia is from Gwyrach are considered demons, but what about other kingdoms? Also, this book does have bisexual rep in it, however, it is pretty minimal at this point.  I think from the ending of this book we might see more of that rep in the next book, or at least I hope.

    All in all, there were more letdowns then lovable parts of this book for me. I'm not sure how I feel about picking up the sequel at this point. I am generally curious as to how the multiple cliffhangers of this book will be wrapped up, but who knows how I'll feel after waiting a year for the sequel to come out.

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  • Lenna • Sugar Dusted Pages

    2.5 RTC

    It was going to be a solid 3 until this lovely line:

    "You're beautiful when you lie." He quickly added, "Not to diminish you or suggest that beauty is an indicator of your worth."

    FOR. PETE'S. SAKE. Just tell the story and stop trying to shove your microwaved feminism down my throat.

  • Emily May

    There have been many times when I've disagreed with Kirkus reviews, but whoever wrote the

    and said:

    nailed it.

    needed more editing and fewer tropes. It needed more memorable characters and fewer info-dumps. And it really just needed to be a bit less... polite. There's absolutely zero juicy goodness in this book, and asid

    There have been many times when I've disagreed with Kirkus reviews, but whoever wrote the

    and said:

    nailed it.

    needed more editing and fewer tropes. It needed more memorable characters and fewer info-dumps. And it really just needed to be a bit less... polite. There's absolutely zero juicy goodness in this book, and aside from the briefly-mentioned bisexuality of the love interest, it just doesn't do anything special or new.

    It's interesting how we've rebranded the same old tropes. Some years back, when feminism was still a dirty word, this exact same story would never have been sold as "a fiercely feminist fantasy" but as a fantasy with a "kickass heroine". Back then, I got private messages from women saying how "brave" I was for calling myself a feminist on my profile (yes, really). Now "Feminist" is a t-shirt slogan, feminism is itself edgy and cool, so we can use it as a marketing tool. But, *whisper yells*

    !

    There is nothing uniquely feminist about this.

    consists of a vaguely-sketched world in which women are treated like shit until a badass female heroine rises up to challenge the system. This is not new. This is almost every YA fantasy novel of the last ten years. And, honestly, the attempts to be "feminist" and include LGBT relationships were not done well, in my opinion. It read really awkwardly and saw characters tagging on afterthoughts to appear so woke:

    Why even choose to write in inclusivity like an "oops"? Why not just say "I've never had a husband or a wife" or even just "I've never had a husband" because we already know the MC is straight. And I applaud anyone who can read that first quote without rolling their eyes.

    So, the plot. Basically, Mia is being forced into an arranged marriage with Prince Quin when an assassination attempt forces them both to go on the run together. Up until this point, Mia has wanted nothing more than to seek revenge against her mother's killer - one of the Gwyrach: terrifying magical women - but it is on her wedding night that she discovers she is one of them. Armed with her mother's journal, Mia must find out the truth about the Gwyrach, her mother, and herself.

    There's a lot of

    that would have benefited from further editing. The world-building we are given is introduced through conversations in which the characters awkwardly recite the history of their land and politics for no good reason. And the pacing is weird and uneven. At one point, I thought several days had passed and then Mia was thinking about the events of the night before and I realised it had been less than 24 hours.

    Oh, and the tropes/things we see in pretty much every YA fantasy:

    ➽ Female assassin/hunter being forced into unwanted marriage with a prince.

    ➽ MC discovers own secret powers.

    ➽ Dead parent.

    ➽ Motivated by sibling love.

    ➽ Bland love interest.

    ➽ Mindlessly evil king.

    ➽ Gratuitous attempted rape scene.

    I know every genre has tropes and I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing, but I do expect books to do a bit of something new, or what's the point? There was nothing here that made me sit up, take interest and think "what will happen next?". Nothing got my blood pumping. I do also wonder if a first-person narrative would have made it more engaging.

    I got to the end and felt no urge to seek out the sequel. The dramatic conclusion was not as tense as it was clearly meant to be because - and perhaps I am wrong - the very fact that there is a sequel seems to suggest a certain inevitability that drains some tension from the final moments. I doubt I'll be finding out either way.

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  • Tanya

    Expected Pub Date: July 31st,2018

    Review 

    1 Star

    DNF @30%

    I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

    Spoilers Somewhat

    Yep I'm gone. I'm bailing quickly

    After it started off with such premise I found myself being disinterested by 25% in.

    Let me give a run down of the plot.

    It's about a 17 year girl Mia, who is an arranged marriage with Prince Quinn which is the last thing she wants to do. She wants to be a hunter who hunts Gwyrachs, magical beings

    Expected Pub Date: July 31st,2018

    Review 

    1 Star

    DNF @30%

    I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

    Spoilers Somewhat

    Yep I'm gone. I'm bailing quickly

    After it started off with such premise I found myself being disinterested by 25% in.

    Let me give a run down of the plot.

    It's about a 17 year girl Mia, who is an arranged marriage with Prince Quinn which is the last thing she wants to do. She wants to be a hunter who hunts Gwyrachs, magical beings who are witches who can kill people by touch. When her mother was killed by one when she was younger, she was determined to become a hunter so she can revenge her death. When a life or death situation arises, her life turns upside down when it's reveal that she's a Gwyrach herself. Now she's on a journey with the prince in order to uncover the secrets of her mom's journal and the truth about her new-found discovery on herself.

    Sounds good right?

    That's what I thought too for at least 20% of the book..

    I couldn't connect with the characters or the plot at all. The MC became straight out annoying and the love interest seemed blander than bread even tho I seen people compared him to Darcy and Rhysand.. ( I also heard he was Bi but I didn't even stick around to see if that was true) Mia supposed to been almost like Katniss and Cinder with trying to protect her baby sister but seem more like Scarlet from Carnival... The writing seems like the author needed to go though more drafts before this book could be considered for an arc. In other words, the author needs to fire her editor cause her editor should have told her this book works better in first person and tone down using the word "perhaps" and the phase "like a". I was changing it to first pov in my mind but that takes work and didn't feel like doing it for the rest of the book.

    It supposed to be feminist but all I got out of it 30% in is that the men treat the woman like shit through the ages as usual and this magical witches are able to enchant the men and then kill with a touch.. Also the fact the men are rulers and females can't rule even tho the previous ruler was a female and she did everything right... Hmm.. I thought having a feminist feel to a book supposed to mean that women and men supposed to be treated like equals with no female or male bashing involved. Also I read an another review where it supposed to be attempted sexual assault on a female side character ( which 30% in was the only character I was interested in) which really made me throw my hands and bail quickly. Feminist alright..

    Dear Authors

    PLEASE DO MORE SHOWING THAN TELLING.

    YOU CAN TELL ME THINGS ALL DAY BUT DOESN'T AMOUNT TO NOTHING IF YOU DON'T SHOW ME!

    Yeah The Gwyrach sounds scary but you keep telling me these women with magic should be feared but not showing me. Yeah I supposed to be believe that Mia supposed to be a hunter who hunts Gwyrach but you never show me her hunting down one maybe when she younger with her dad or with the hunters. You never show me her even training to be one.

    So more show and less tell!

    Also Authors.

    Perhaps sounds pretentious as hell. Please stop using it so damn much!

    Thank you!

  • Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔

    OMG, the cover!!! I love it!

    ---

    Hmm...title changed from Black Rose to Heart of Thorns? Alright, not bad. I like it. Now if only I could get an official release date.

    ---

    Wait I thought this was suppose to come out in 2017? Why does it say 2018 now? Ugh...

  • Sabrina The Trash Queen

    A BOOK WHERE WOMEN ARE THE ONLY CHARACTERS THAT HAVE MAGIC? 😍🙌.

    ✨ I’ve been bless!!!!

    ✨ I really hope to like this book.

  • destiny ☠ howling libraries

    I heard "bi male love interest" and "fiercely feminist", so, uh... here we are.

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