Heart of Mist – Helen Scheurer (Review)

Title: Heart of Mist (The Oremere Chronicles #1)
Author: Helen Scheurer
Publisher: Talem Press, 2017 (August 31)
Genre: YA Fantasy

Purchase link: Heart of Mist – Amazon

**I received a copy of this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review**

This review can be found on my BlogTeacherofYA’s Tumblr, or my Goodreads page

My Review:

Once again, I didn’t mean to go AWOL…this book took me a long time because I have been busy…and then after I finished it, I picked up Black Bird of the Gallows. And let’s just say I can already tell that one is going to be a rave review! 

But I must give credit to where credit is due, and that is to Heart of Mist. You know I’m already a big supporter of smaller presses, but this book could be up there with Throne of Glass or Kiss of Deception. I was pleasantly surprised, and not just by the simple yet gorgeous cover. 

It’s simple but elegant, and it gives away nothing…this is a book I would love to own physically because it screams “READ ME – I AM SO PRETTY SO MUST BE GOOD INSIDE!!” The minute I saw this cover I knew. I knew Heart of Mist was for me.

So let me tell you about Heart of Mist…I think you’ll be imtrigued if the cover didn’t reel you in. 

Bleak is a freak.

Sorry, I just had to say that because it rhymed. And because it’s true. 

She is a drunk. A “gutter rat.” But Bleak could care less what others think about her. Hell, Bleak isn’t even her real name. No one really knows the mysterious girl adopted by the popular Bleak Senior…but when he was around, others left her alone. Now that he’s passed on, Bleak is the subject of rumors and ridicule. Yes, she wakes up often, too drunk to remember the night before. Yes, she has strange, mismatched eyes that unsettle the townspeople in the village. 

Yes, she is secretly a mind reader. There are valid reasons why Bleak is an outcast. But she doesn’t care. As long as a bottle of liquor and the sea are nearby, Bleak is fine. 

She keeps her abilities a secret and tries to drown out the thoughts of others by getting drunk. It’s the only cure she has at her disposal. And since the Ashai, the people with magic, are banned and exiled, she knows no one must know about her ability. Not even her best friend Bren, the boy whose thoughts are the loudest. 

So when Bleak is summoned by the Commander of the King’s Army to see the King, Bleak knows she’s done for: someone knows her secret. She is whisked away from Bren and taken on horseback away from everything she’s ever known…but without a family, no one fights for her other than her best friend.

One night while on the trail, Bleak is attacked by one of the guards…right in the middle of Valian forests. The Valians are a mythical warrior people….mythical only because no one has seen one in years. But when Bleak is attacked, the Valians swing in and save her….

Only to abduct her themselves.

In a land where magic exists but is banned from the people….in a world where a toxic Mist spreads like the hand of Death himself…Bleak is sought by the King and the Valian matriarch. Though she knows she has magic, all she wants is a cure. 

But all they want is Bleak. They want her magic….

…she might be the key to destroying the Mist.

Unfortunately, some don’t want the Mist destroyed…they want it to spread. 

Is it Classroom-Appropriate?

Yes. There is a questionable scene where Bleak is “attacked” (as a woman by a man, if you get my drift), but it’s not explicit. The book may not have as much use in discussions, but the storyworld is well-developed and there is an interesting dynamic among the Valians. The Valian tribe is controlled by women and the men are domestic while the women are warriors. This would be an interesting way to show a difference in gender roles in culture. Also, the stigma of magic makes many hide their true identity, which is also an interesting area to explore. So though it isn’t meaty in material, material is there. 

I could see this being used in a fantasy unit…if done right, I could see an enjoyable classroom experience. Bleak’ drinking and addiction to escape her problems is also a real-life issue that crosses over across genres. So instead of passing on this one, I encourage teachers to use it! It’s well-written, exciting, and switches POVs between Bleak, a Valian, the Commander, and a young boy. Both girls and boys would enjoy this book with fight scenes and light love. 

I give Heart of Mist ★★★★☆ for classroom use! With creativity, this book could be a hit. 

Age Range

The book is an easy read, so I find no problems with allowing actress to younger readers…there are subtleties, however, that might not be picked up by a younger and less-experienced reader. The attack scene isn’t descriptive enough to make me wary, but the alcohol abuse and Bleak’s personality, plus the dynamics between Bleak and Bren might be lost on a younger reader. 

There is some diversity in love – we have an LGBT relationship between two characters – but it is not really explored too much. So material-wise,the book is tame. It’s the level of complexity within the characters that makes me recommend more of a 13 and up audience. Fantasy lovers and SJM fans should enjoy this. If a younger reader enjoys it, there’s nothing but Bleak’s drinking that makes me hesitant, and not enough to warn against reading it.

End Result:

I LOVED IT, if you couldn’t tell by now! 

My heart fell in love with Bleak – though sometimes I want to shake her and just make her realize people care about her. The book gets really good near the end, with a cliffhanger that will make you like this:

And I’m never like this. Usually I’m excited for the next one, but not like THIS. LIKE I NEED TO KNOW. And I don’t know how long I have to wait.

I’m starting to really hate reading series books one at a time. Maybe I should just wait for a whole series to come out, like Schwab’s ADSOM series, or the Grisha books, and read them then. I hate this waiting. Luckily, Black Bird of the Gallows is amazing so far, but then what happens then? ANOTHER CLIFFHANGER I’M SURE!!

It never ends. 😂😫😂😫😵

So I guess it doesn’t surprise you that I’m giving Heart of Mist ★★★★★. Well-deserved ones, in fact.

So I’m off to recover via a book rebound…it’s like a rebound relationship: I’ll forget all about my feels here for another book, and when that’s over, I’ll be feeling the feels twice as hard (note to all of you: I do NOT recommend rebound relationships…they are a temp fix, and it’s gonna be a lot worse when that one ends). 

I currently sucked into BBofG…what are you reading? 

Oh, and I have pics to share of my visit at the SJM signing for Tower of Dawn…then I am going to see Bardugo on the 30th! So lots of good books have been coming in…would you guys like a book haul post? I’ve never done one: I feel like it’s showing off. But maybe you’d want to see? I DID just recently acquire a galley of a new Meyer book that comes out in November….hint, hint. If you’d like to see, check out my Instagram @teacher_of_ya!

47 thoughts on “Heart of Mist – Helen Scheurer (Review)

    1. Yeah because it’s really surprisingly good! I’m still confused as to why books like this aren’t published by the big pubs!! I think these editors aren’t seeing some incredibly good books!
      If you ever decide to add to it, I would encourage you to add it to your TBR! 😘🙌

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Awesome review!! I’d only seen this title in passing but you have me really excited to seek it out! I love finding good books hidden amongst all the bigger players, it’s such a fantastic surprise! Although it does confuse me because sometimes big publishers will crank out books with lots of hype only for me to feel it’s sort of average, and then I’ll stumble across a book from some small press and be like holy cannoli why is this book hiding?!
    Anyway, really good review and I will be adding this one to my TBR! I also look forward to your review of BBotG 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know; what are these large pubs DOING? They are picking some mediocre books and skipping some outstanding ones! I feel like if a book gets enough buzz, maybe a large press will pick up the book? I would certainly love to see some of these amazing authors get as famous as Julie Dao and Jodi Meadows! And SJM!
      Oh I’m so happy to encourage others to add good books like this to their TBR. I will be reading some more “mainstream” material soon bc I have some great ARCs, but man, it’s going to be hard to top this one!
      (And BBotG is amazing, too!)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, those pics I’m thinking of putting up tomorrow: it was either that or combine the events. But I really want to share the crazy experience so I can’t wait! I want to post right now!! 😂
      I’m SO EXCITED for Bardugo bc at least I get to meet her!! Like in person! And get books signed!! 😍😍😍

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How do you find all these cool books I haven’t heard of? Also, why do they all have gorgeous covers? Do you look for books with gorgeous covers? (I totally buy books based on the covers. I feel like it’s not a bad strategy since covers are marketing and they are marketing what I want to read.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, they seriously come to me! I’ll be honest: it’s a factor when I agree to review. The book has to sound good AND have a kick-ass cover. I’ve learned that at least then if I don’t like the book, I can look at a pretty icon on my tablet or have a pretty book on the shelf, lol!
      There’s too many good books out there to not be picky in some way…my way just happens to involve covers lmao!
      Another book I received for review, Evan Pendle and the White Wraith (or something like that?) had a horrible cover but a great synopsis. I didn’t pick it up for a long time. Finally, I was sent an updated version. With a new cover. And it’s amazing! So I’m prob going to give it a read now!
      Unfortunately we do judge books by their cover – there’s just too many not to! 🤷‍♀️


    1. Yeah, it’s kind of indie and kind of not, you know? More of a small press than an independent one. I’ll be reviewing some more “popular” books soon, but when the smaller presses come calling, I feel the need to answer!
      This one is worth the time. It’s also pretty – so there’s a bonus!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I know! I have a couple of friends who also read this, and I was surprised to know that they knew about it! I was thrilled bc the more bloggers to read a book like this, the more the book spreads like wildfire! I hope this book blazes its way through to the mainstream readers out there. 😊
      I’m hoping you read this and let me know what you think of it!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review for this book Stephanie, and oh I’m so glad to see you enjoyed it as well. 😀 The fact that your comparing it to Throne of Glass (which is an all-time favourite series of mine) and The Kiss of Deception trilogy (which granted I wasn’t as massive a fan of but I know you loved) definitely has me intrigued. It sounds really good and I agree with you on the cover as well. It’s simple but so striking. 🙂
    I hope you enjoy the second book even more, is it long to go until it’s release do you know?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It must be because I can’t find any info on it…Helen said she’s working on it now.
      I just finished Black Bird of the Gallows, though, and that was incredible! I’m getting some majorly good reads! Now I have to check the calendar to see what’s next lol.
      I think I have a sequel to one of my all-time favorite indies coming up – if there’s ever a book that’s indie that I would like everyone to read, it’s this one. The first one is called Moonburner and the sequel I’ll be reading is Sunburner. I think we are going to do an INTL giveaway the first week of Oct, so that’s one that I hope you enter. It is the first book that really made me question why indies aren’t as popular as mainstream books, you know?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sometimes Goodreads isn’t up to date on sequel releases I guess. 🙂
        Oh that’s good to hear, and hopefully the next book you pick up will be just as good.
        If it’s an international giveaway I will definitely enter, especially after hearing such praise for this book from you. I 100% trust your opinion when it comes to books Stephanie! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you! I trust your opinion 💯 % too!! It’s going to be physical copies for US and ebooks for INTL bc of shipping: it’s really unfair that shipping to you guys is so expensive when I have so much I want to send you guys! There are friends I have all over and I miss sending them my books and stuff.
      Sammi gets me all kinds of cool stuff but at least her shipping is just as expensive as mine. Apparently it is only like £8 to ship anywhere for you guys!!
      Be that as it may, I stand behind this one so much. I may have read it awhile ago, but it stuck. It really has been bugging me that I didn’t have a sequel and now there’s a sequel! I hope it’s not so long in between if there’s a next book: the wait kills me! 😣😣😣

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah shipping to other countries is always so expensive. It’s why when it comes to bookish stuff, like my subscription boxes and bookish candles, I always look for UK companies because it saves me so much money not to have to worry about shipping.
        Still when it comes to books eBooks are just as good as physical copies (actually they’re better for me because I do so much reading on the train.)
        Well then here’s hoping the next book comes out even quicker for you! 😀 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I can’t help it: I’m addicted to physical books! I used to LOVE ebooks but I love the way I can look at the books and see their prettiness! 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh so glad to see this one made you fall in love, Stephanie! Bleak sounds like an awesome character, very human, very relatable in so many ways, very interesting. Not like the cookie cutter characters we get in so many other YA books. Plus, THAT COVER *_*
    I totally agree about waiting for the whole series to be out before reading it! I suffer like hell every time I try to go against this method, as the cliffhangers and the waiting just destroy me! I did that with the Grisha series and Shades of Magic too (still need to read book three, though), and was so happy about it! It sucks that you have to avoid spoilers all the time and you can’t really fangirl with the rest of the community but oh well… Every rose has its thorn, I guess ^^
    Awesome review! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a great comment! I can totally tell you read my review and it warns my heart!! Thanks for taking the time to read it rather than just like it and move on like some people do. (It just makes me so happy! 😭)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Always room for more blogging buddies! My review is going up for Black Bird in the 28th…so that means tomorrow! I can’t wait to talk about that one!
      I also just finished a book called The Goblins of Bellwater – I am on a good book streak so far!!
      Reading anything good? 😉


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