Heartseeker is a fun book. With its time period and magical elements, it reminded me of Shannon Hale’s Goose Girl, one of my favorite books. The main character, Only Fallow, is a force to be reckoned with. You’ll love her spunky personality and unwavering loyalty. Many characters are not quite as they seem, keeping you guessing and providing plenty of surprises. The language can get tricky so it might make it a bit difficult for 8-year-olds to read; however, if they’re willing to stick it out or ask for a little help, it’s a good opportunity (in an entertaining way) for them to learn new vocabulary and a different way of speaking. The story flows well and author, Melinda Beatty, included just the right amount of detail. Due to the detail, the visuals were impressive, from the different landscapes to the ornate castle.
Those who love stories with a light fantasy theme will likely enjoy this tale. Be prepared for a cliffhanger though, there is definitely at least one more book in the works for this series.
Review of an Advanced Reader Copy
Note on age recommendation: While it was a very enjoyable book there were a few things included that were incongruent to the setting and intended audience. The first thing is a homosexual couple that make a public appearance in the story which doesn’t fit with the time period. While I’m sure they might’ve existed, they likely wouldn’t have been public about their relationship. Also, there is an incident of adult nudity (sexual) that didn’t feel suitable for the 8-12-year-old target audience. Due to this, I’m recommending Heartseeker to at least a 16 and older audience. See content review for more details.
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by G. P. Putnam’s Sons
Profanity/Language: 2 mild obscenities.
Violence/Gore: Many (28) brief incidents including character says one looked fierce enough to eat another; verbal threats; character wishes another would hang; second-hand report of fighting resulting in death; kidnapping; second-hand report of a character dying; reference to war; second-hand report of young child getting beatings after misbehaving; reference to dog and boy drowning; second-hand report of characters getting hurt while training to be soldiers; kids fighting; character accidentally cuts self while shaving; character nearly drowns; character threatened with knife; young child tortured until passed out; adults hitting and kicking children; two incidents of soldiers attacking and characters killed.
Sex/Nudity: A few (8) brief incidents including dancing; kissing; characters bathing naked in a river (non-sexual); guy in song naked; homosexual couple; female character tells men to not look while she’s bathing; female soldier naked and male soldier looking.
Mature Subject Matter:
Kidnapping, running away from home, nudity with sexual innuendo, war references, young child tortured.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Characters make alcohol; drinking at parties, dinners and pubs; songs about drinking; young character drinking.