Authors: Terry Maggert
Genres/ subjects: YA, fantasy, paranormal, romance
Her guardian angel was pushed.
Keiron was never meant to be anything other than a hero. Born high above in a place of war and deception, he is Heartborn, a being of purity and goodness in a place where violence and deceit are just around every corner.
His disappearance will spark a war he cannot see, for Keiron has pierced the light of days to save a girl he has never met, for reasons he cannot understand. Livvy Foster is seventeen, brave, and broken. With half a heart, she bears the scars of a lifetime of pain and little hope of survival.
Until Keiron arrives.
First, and completely shallow I know – just look at that freakin’ cover! Absolutely gorgeous! I listened to the audiobook, but I’d definitely buy a paper copy to put that beauty on my shelves.
Okay, moving onto the actual plot – most of the story splits pretty neatly into two separate parts:
One half is the more traditional fantasy with lots of world-building about the society and culture of the angelic warriors. It focuses on the political intrigues of Keiron’s family — House Windhook — and features action-packed combat Trials as they take on the villainous Crescent Council. This part has an epic-style feel to it, with large scale repercussions and world changing power struggles.
The flip-side of the coin is Livvy’s story, her work in the library and her meeting with Keiron. This part is slower and more reflective, really delving into her character and past. I found Livvy to be a really interesting lead character. She’s complex — much of her personality is affected by her medical condition, but she’s incredibly likeable and I think we’ll see great things from her as the series continues. The romance between the two is well written, and even although the dreaded ‘instalove’ is employed, the romance is subtle and only a small part of their characters.
This story was completely different from what I was thought it would be. I was expecting a relatively bland paranormal romance, along the lines of the sea of Twilight knockoffs out there. Heartborn is so much more than the typical YA paranormal story. The plot is engaging, the characters are deep and complicated and there’s a killer plot twist. Maggert has a very lyrical and descriptive style of writing with some beautiful turns of phrase that somehow manage to avoid purple prose.
My only real problem is that it’s clearly the first in a series and it really feels like it. There’s loads of unanswered questions about the backstory and character motivations, but I’m hoping they’ll be answered in the sequel which I’ll definitely be picking up.
Narrator: Julia Whelan
Length: 6h 20m
Audio Release Date: October 3, 2016
Whelan is a very good narrator and gives an enjoyable performance. She has a low, soothing voice and an unobtrusive accent that is pleasant to listen to. She speaks clearly and slowly — I didn’t ever feel that she’d skimmed over passages or missed out important information. It made the story easy to follow along with, which I think is critical to a good audiobook.
She provides a good variety of voices considering how many characters there are. Sometimes the characters could have been a tad more differentiated, especially in the scenes between Windhook and the Council, but as generally little description is given to the characters, she worked well with what she had.
The recording is well produced, clear and well-paced – a pleasure to listen to.
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Terry Maggert. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.