Holloway, James (Jim) (interior)
|User Summary:||You are secretly a magic user in a kingdom where magic is forbidden until a little bird convinces you to seek greener pastures.|
HeartQuest both picks up and drops off a little here. The illustrations and writing are a tad less interesting than in the previous books (*SPOILER?* The girl who's been raised as a slave her whole life finds out she's actually a princess. Who knew?), and the characters are stodgy and lifeless. On the other hand, for the first time in the series I felt like my character was the prime mover throughout the quest. Finally a decent balance was struck between the heroine and her love interest both being capable characters without either being overly so. That probably sounds like a dumb thing to be grateful for, but not being able to enjoy the main draw of the book, I had to find satisfaction somewhere.
A good entry in the series. You play the red-haired Maiale, a girl raised as the adopted daughter of a band of conquering barbarians. The barbarians have banned magic as witchcraft, so you must keep your powers a secret. When a thrush brings you a mission you set out, meeting a wandering prince with the un-royal name Shaw.
Generally a good flow with different type choices, although the love interest is never in doubt (although one odd choice has your adoptive father falling in love with you!). Shaw is much more likeable than the love interest in book #2. Unfortunately, you don't get to see much of this society which has banned magic due to the book's limitations.
Another solid book from this series.
This book is not as bad as the next one in the series, but it's not the best. What does it suffer from? Well, you figure out pretty quickly in repeated run-throughs of the story that not using your magic is basically a GAME OVER. I really can't think of one time that it is good to stay your hand when the choices suggest using magic. Maybe on your first read through you might think that it would be good to hide your identity as the titular Secret Sorceress from your traveling companion, but each and every time he discovers it he is totally cool with it, and if you don't help him in battle, he dies a horrible death and you do too, or are doomed to a fate worse than that: left loveless and alone! Nooo!
Anyway, I also have a beef with the several of the story paths ending up in thinly rewritten versions of the same conclusion. Yes, I know the ultimate goal is the Cavern of Enchantment, but why not have a page that generically tells of you arriving there, and then move on to a lot of various paths from there? But no, they waste a lot of pages by rewriting the same scene with slightly different events. You'll see what I mean. It's weird and useless.
Not that I want all the paths to end up in the same place (like Isle of Illusion), but if they had compiled all those slightly different versions into one story path, it would have left room for a few different endings or even some different events. The book is guilty of having paths that start out totally different and thread through the book with seeming promise, then suddenly veer back to a path you took in a previous reading. On re-reads, I encountered those darn leprechauns way too many times. And the ants. And the Tower of Desolation. Wasn't a lot of new stuff to see on rereads. Just different ways to get to the same place.
Though I will say I love the idea of finding out you're secret royalty. I first read this book when I was 10 and at 30, I still daydream that maybe, just maybe there's a scepter somewhere waiting for me to claim it!
|Special Thanks:||Thanks to Fireguard for the plot summary.|
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