Title: Dark Heart of Magic
Author: Jennifer Estep
Series: Black Blade #2
Genre: Young Adult Magic, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Pub Date: October 27, 2015
My Copy: Courtesy of NetGalley and Kensington
Something Wicked This Way Comes . . .
As a thief, I stick to the shadows as much as possible. But when the head of the Sinclair Family picks me to compete in the Tournament of Blades, there's no escaping the spotlight--or the danger.
Even though he's my competition, Devon Sinclair thinks I have the best shot at winning what's supposed to be a friendly contest. But when the competitors start having mysterious "accidents," it looks like someone will do anything to win--no matter who they hurt.
As if I didn't have enough to worry about, mobster Victor Draconi is plotting against Devon and the rest of my friends, and someone's going around Cloudburst Falls murdering monsters. One thing's for sure. Sometimes, humans can be more monstrous than anything else...
A totally great second book in this series. I really found myself rooting even more for Lila in this book. Lila has a lot more to deal with in this second book and you totally fall even more in love with the characters and world.
We also learn a lot more about the families in ways we never expect. Lila’s relationships also deepen and we get some information about Lila’s mother that even Lila didn’t know. I like how we get to meet some new characters such as Victor’s wife and Deah’s mother who is going to be an interesting character. Plus we get introduced to Katia, who seems nice at first, but she definitely is a character who adds a lot to this story.
I like the fact that there is a tournament. This tournament is a competition where members, guards who are selected by the head of the families to compete. The winner gets the prestige and prize money, plus a nice gold trophy to take home. This competition is front and center in this book. So when the competitors are chosen, Lila is stunned to find out that she has been selected as one of the people chosen to compete. I really found this very interesting. We also learn that maybe some of the competitors are ruthless and will do anything to win, even try to sabotage the competitors and contests in really bad ways. There is also the fact that someone is murdering trolls. The Trolls are not bad, but they are creatures that are being hunted and murdered in not so great ways. We don’t know why this is happening, but it does leave some of the characters on edge.
There is also a bit of Felix romantic problems that are becoming a bit of a mess. I like that this is bought up. Katia is from a different family. She used to date Felix the previous summer. So of course him dating Deah, means that Felix finds himself in a very interesting situation. I also like the friendship that seems to be growing between Lila and Katia. Yet nothing is ever simple in this world. Having friends can be great. Lila is someone who still feels guarded in a way. We learn that Katia needs to win this tournament for her own reasons. She has gone head to head with Deah and always come out on the losing end.
Then some other interesting things happen as well. We learn that Victor’s wife and Deah’s mother has the power to see the future and is a little off her rocker at times. We learn that Deah’s mother is Lila’s aunt. Celeste mistakes Lila at first with her mother. That quickly changes though. She reveals a lot to Lila and tells Lila that blades and bones are coming. This is one of the more interesting things that happens. This also means that Lila and Deah are cousins. Also that Victor has files on various members of the family and is up to something. Nothing is ever as it seems in this world.
Through out the competition we learn that people are fighting hard. People do get murdered. We also learn that Katia is the one who has been murdering people because she has been murdering the trolls for their magic. She has been taking their magic to win her matches. When Deah beats her again, she is sick of it and decides to take Deah’s magic and what ensues is that both Lila and Deah have to work together to defeat Katia. Plus we learn that Victor is really bad and has no problem sacrificing his own family. Lila really does grow a lot in this book.
I also like how Lila realizes that life can be short and does decide to pursue a romantic relationship with Devon. She knows that this might be a bad idea, but decides to go for it. Who knows if their time will be cut short by death or even something else. She needs to follow her heart, or she will never know what life will bring. I really found that this was a great second book.