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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Heart of Mist by Helen Scheuerer is the first book in The Oremere Chronicles. After the death of her guardian, Bleak has drowned her sorrows and spent her time in search of a cure to end the magic she possesses to read minds. Her plans are derailed when the Commander of the King's Army arrives with a summons to bring her to the King. Along their journey, Bleak catches the attention of a powerful society of warriors that hold the answers to the source of her abilities. Not knowing who to trust, Bleak has to trust in herself to discover the secrets of the hidden society, to brave a king against magic, and find the truth of her past.
Most of the characters seem to have a tragic quality about them. Bleak has been abused and treated like nothing in the society she grew up in. She only has one friend and does everything she can to keep him at a distance. Henri is a warrior and Queen of the Valin that's also rough around the edges, a bit lost since the loss of her sister, and pushes the one closest to her away. Commander Swinton has many secrets, follows every order without questioning, is very gruff and has a darkness within him, and has a broken heart due to the loss of the love of his life. The last prominent perspective is young Dash, the son of a stableman and best friend to the blind princess. His story gives a touch of lightness and childhood friendship, but there's some darkness to his story as he's a world apart from his best friend. He's driven by his dreams of being a knight and his friendship with the princess. The four end up tied together in a surprising way, forming a connection in magic.
Helen Scheuerer has a brilliant eye for detail, with lovely prose and carefully woven together threads of plot, and brings flawed characters in shining moments for a chance to be heroes. Heart of Mist is a breathtaking first book, riddled with adventure, tragedy and loss, friendship and trust, and hidden in the darkness there's hope.