Heartfire

Heartfire

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments of this series. You can read my reviews of these novels [here] and [here].

Heartfire was written by Kate A Boorman and first published in 2016. It is the final part of the Winterkill Trilogy and is preceded by Winterkill (2014) and Darkthaw (2015). The story continues where Darkthaw leaves off and I would strongly recommend reading the novels in order if you want to have the faintest idea of what’s going on.

Emmeline has settled into life with the osanaskisiwak. Although she still feels like a bit of an outsider within their community, the First People have gratefully accepted her skills as a healer and are eager to teach her their ways. Tom has also found a place among them, finally able to find love with another man as he’s always dreamed of. The only thing missing is Kane. Em misses him terribly but she has not heard from him since they parted ways.

However, things take a turn for the worse when the First People start to be stricken by the Bleed. The disease has never affected them before but now their medicines seem to be failing. To make matters worse, Kane and Genya arrive at the settlement with words that the Dominion are near and have set their sights on the osanaskisiwak, knowing that they have the cure for the Bleed.

Em heads out to meet with the leader of the Dominion to cut a deal. They will offer the cure for the Bleed so long as the Dominion agree to leave the First People alone. The only problem is that it is all a gamble. The First People do not have the cure on hand anymore. Em releases that the only place they can get it is the Forbidden Woods, however that would mean returning to the Settlement that she left behind…

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Darkthaw

Darkthaw

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for its prequel, Winterkill. You can read my review of this novel [here].

Darkthaw was written by Kate A Boorman and first published in 2015. It is the second part of a planned trilogy and carries on directly where Winterkill (2014) left off, following Emmeline and her allies as they travel away from the Settlement for the first time. The final part of the trilogy, provisionally titled Heartfire, is due for release later this year.

La Prise has finally arrived and Emmeline is excited about the changes that it brings. Finally, it’s safe for her to travel through the forest to Matisa’s hometown. However, she soon discovers that the journey is not going to be as straightforward as she first imagined. Tom is unable to join her, forced to remain to care for his ailing father. Kane is also reluctant to come without his mother and brothers, raising tension among the party for fear that they will slow everyone down.

However, the biggest challenges lie outside the walls of the Settlement. The world is not how Emmeline envisioned it. The Dominion has begun its gradual crawl into the West, keen on bringing law and order to the ungoverned land. Ahead of them come all manner of outlaws, all intent on seizing control for themselves before the Dominion arrive. In addition to these, Emmeline discovers the truth of the malmaci, not a spirit but a disease that thrives in standing water. Only Matisa’s people know how to prevent the agonising death that this sickness brings.

Death and danger wait at every corner as Emmeline struggles to travel across the strange new lands and it’s not long before her party is divided. Lost in the woods with only the bad tempered Isi and Kane’s young brother for company, Emmeline battles to reunite her friends. However, she is also forced to face her own doubts. Is travelling to Matisa’s home really worth risking the lives of everyone that she’s ever cared about?

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Winterkill

Winterkill

Winterkill was written by Kate A. Boorman and was first published in 2014. It combines elements of a fantasy, dystopian and historical novel to tell the story of a teenage girl coming of age in a remote and highly religious settlement. The novel is the first part of a planned trilogy and is followed by Darkthaw (2015). The final part of the trilogy – provisionally titled Heartfire – is expected to be released in late 2016.

Emmeline’s people have lived in the settlement for eight generations, banding together for safety after they were forced to leave the Western world. They have survived sickness and deadly winters by following their devout Councilmen, who put their faith in the virtues of Bravery, Honesty and Discovery. Anyone who is caught defying these precepts is declared Wayward and executed at the Crossroads to prevent them from causing damage to the community.

As an outcast in society, Emmeline knows that most people expect for her to become Wayward. She is stained – atoning for the sins committed by her grandmother long before she was born. As her sixteenth birthday nears, she knows that she will soon be of the age where she can be bound to a man. She wants nothing more for it to be Kane but when Brother Stockham – the leader of their community – starts to show an interest in her she starts to panic. Wedding the Councilman will absolve her of her stain but can she stand to be married to someone she does not love?

At the same time, Emmeline begins to have strange dreams that call her into the woods – the voices of a long dead race begging her to find them. Yet the woods are out of bounds and if she’s caught exploring them, Emmeline knows that she’ll be declared Wayward for sure. Yet that would be the least of her problems. The woods are also home to a terrible entity called the malmaci. If she ventures too far into the unknown, she could just as easily fall prey to the monster…

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