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Reviewed by Aimee Carol Dixon for Readers' Favorite
Princess Oona Talomir is quite strange. Her somewhat testy manner and appreciation for the finer things in life mark her as a pampered girl, even as her pure heart and dedication to her gods hint at the strong woman she will become, provided the assassins don’t get to her first. The kingdoms of Lucernia and Evermoor have been at war since before Oona even existed, but she finds herself in the thick of it all thanks to a vague prophecy declaring the heir of Lucernia’s king will end the war. She contents herself with her pretty dresses and her studies, but it is her best friend, Kitlyn, who truly makes everything bearable. Kitlyn has her own troubles; being found wandering alone as a child and taken in by the king himself as a playmate for little Oona may have opened doors to learning Kitlyn may otherwise never have reached, but it also left her at the mercy of the other servants, all too eager to take out their jealousy in small, petty ways. As the bond between the girls blossoms into something far deeper than friendship, they must cling to each other or be lost in the coming storm.
The Eldritch Heart by Matthew S. Cox is a novel resplendent with the trappings of mankind and nature’s glory alike, with twists and magic beyond simple imagining. The world of The Eldritch Heart is filled with both darkness and light, making it more authentic to me. Cox spends ample time letting you adjust to your setting, which with all the places you see is key to really getting the full effect he’s going for. Cox weaves religion and the way it is so often strangled by humanity’s pride and perceptions all throughout The Eldritch Heart in such a way that you cannot help but feel the sting of it. Though a bit rough at first, Cox soon finds his groove and the journey is all the better for it. I may not have approved of how lightly some people got off in the end, but The Eldritch Heart is an excellent work nonetheless, and a truly inspiring story of truth and lies, love and hate, and the cost of being different.