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.
I was so excited to be sent an Advance Readers’ Copy of Terry Maggert’s latest novel, Heartborn. Heartborn is a YA fantasy novel, centring around two teenagers; Livvy, a human girl with half a heart, and Keiron, an angel sent to save her.
Without spoiling everything, the book is set in two worlds, and in many ways seems like two separate stories. Much of the fantasy element comes from Keiron’s family, the Windhooks, and their world. This universe is well built and I’d love to see more of it – the novel finishes almost before the real action begins, and we don’t get to see the ramifications of the changes that occur within the book’s timeline. This world is definitely up there with some of the best YA fantasy I’ve read, and often has a feel of James Patterson and, to a lesser extent, Terry Pratchett.
The real world, however, is where I have an issue (don’t we all?). While Maggert’s fantasy writing is brilliant, the real world definitely let the side down for me. It started off being quite clichéd and ended just feeling really rushed and confusing. The characters follow the pretty standard “outcast girl is picked on by self-obsessed girly girls who like makeup more than books and can’t spell their own names” trope – despite almost all of the real world scenes happening inside a library, presumably in a school holiday. If you hadn’t guessed, there is a romance aspect and again that follows a typical YA pattern – fast, intense young love that seems to occur simply because he’s a guy and she’s a girl. The two worlds were merged quite clumsily and I’m still not entirely sure how certain people knew certain things towards the end of the book.
I feel like as a whole this book would actually have benefitted immensely from being longer – I was left feeling like I needed more explanation and more of the story in general. The real world narrative would’ve worked better for me had it been more spread out, and I wish we were given more information on the fantasy world. The concept is strong and Maggert’s fantasy world was wonderfully built and massively compelling. The Heartborn universe is definitely one I’d like to see more of, but unfortunately I didn’t feel like the narrative was as polished or clear as it could have been.
See you soon,
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