Book Reviews

The Eldritch Heart by Matthew S. Cox at Curiosity Quills Press

Genre Lesbian / Fantasy / Royalty/Nobility / Young Adult / Romance / Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Reviewed by Kym Palmer on 01-August-2017

Book Blurb

Princess Oona Talomir adores the little things that come with her station: a handmaiden, a lavish bedchamber, scores of fancy dresses, and the obligation to win a decades-long war.

Oh, did I mention assassins?

Before her birth, seers foretold she would bring an end to bloodshed with a neighboring kingdom. Ever since she was a little girl, the enemy has been trying to kill her so she could not grow powerful enough to destroy them. As a result, Oona has spent most of her sixteen years hidden away in the castle. With the war going against them, the burden of her crown becomes too much to bear, yet one thing lifts her spirits amid the gloom.

Her servant girl, Kitlyn.

Terrified to confess her forbidden love, Oona panics when her father makes a demand she cannot abide: marry a prince to forge an alliance necessary to save her kingdom. He is handsome and honorable, but he’s not Kitlyn.

Unable to admit why she cannot obey, Oona does the only thing she can think of, and runs away. Alone and unprepared in the wilderness, she prays the gods will let Kitlyn find her—before the assassins do.

Book Review

This book is a YA fantasy containing everything you’d want from a good fantasy novel. There are feisty heroines, evil nobles, war and politics, and excellent worldbuilding.

Princess Oona has been kept locked in the castle and its grounds for her own safety since she was a young girl. Now sixteen, her life is under constant threat from assassins from the country her father, the king, is at war with. It’s a war that has lasted twenty years and shows no signs of stopping. Oona’s only ray of sunshine is her handmaid, Kitlyn. They were friends when they were young, always playing and learning together, but as the untitled Kitlyn grew up, she was placed in service at the castle.

Oona has a secret, one she wishes she could act on but fears the consequences in her land, where same-sex relationships are considered unnatural. When Oona’s father attempts to negotiate an arranged marriage for her with a handsome prince from an ally country, Oona panics and flees the castle, leaving Kitlyn a cryptic note to follow her. But will Kitlyn read that note before anyone else does, and can Oona survive in the wilderness on her own in the meantime?

I loved this book! As a fan of fantasy and YA, it was great to see them combined in such a fantastic way. Both Oona and Kitlyn are wonderful characters – they are each feisty in their own ways, and their forced and rapid growing up as their adventure unfolds is paced beautifully. They both learn, individually and together, just how cruel the world can be sometimes, but also how much love and honor there can be to counteract that.

The worldbuilding is wonderful – just enough detail to really imagine the castle, the land, and its surrounds, as well as the other countries involved in the tale, but not too much detail that I got lost in who was who or what was where. The list of secondary characters is fairly extensive, but again, it’s not overwhelming. Each new introduction is perfectly placed, and each character is unique and interesting. There are heroes and villains, with each coming from surprising places. There’s plenty of action, a small but appropriate amount of violence, and again, just enough description of the politics to keep me guessing as to who was doing what and why.

The relationship between Oona and Kitlyn is beautifully done, and it is age-appropriate, which I applaud. Their love is fierce but believable, their devotion to each other truly heart-warming and delightful to read. There’s humor throughout the book, and some good passages where moral issues are brought to the fore in a way that avoids soap-boxing. The author’s writing style is superb – there’s such a good flow to the book that I found it easy to sink into it for an hour without coming up for breath.

Highly recommended!





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by the author for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 647 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 01-August-2017
Price $5.99 ebook
Buy Link