Cover Image: Hearthfire

Hearthfire

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Member Reviews

I’m going to give it to Emmie Mears – she has one hell of a creative mind! 
The down side of being creative, however, is that sometimes the mind doesn’t know when to stop. Personally, this was the main flaw I found in Hearthfire.
This world that Mears has created is so vast and unusual that I completely understand the need for descriptive text (which was absolutely beautifully done by the way. No one will ever say that this author can’t turn a phrase!) but I found that there was so much focus on building the world up that the plotline and characters were overshadowed. I kept finding myself losing focus on what I was reading and would have to constantly go back and reread paragraphs. 
I also applaud the author of the use of non-binary pronouns. This is something we are just starting to see more and more of in books but still isn’t very common. While the pronouns system was a refreshing change to what we tend to see as the norm in novels, the lack of explanation and the inconsistency of use made it a bit awkward to read. Sure, you get used to it after a while but it took me a lot longer than it should have to realize that these were not typos. 
The Journeying as a coming of age tradition was unique and I loved the concept as well as the characters’ relationships with each other and those they meet along the way to find their Names. Again, however, I found that the exciting adventure I was hoping to see was overshadowed by excessive use of descriptive writing and the book dragged on rather than pulled me in. I think the use of “less is more” philosophy would have made for a more captivating read. 
I think Mears did a fantastic job of creating a world that I would like to read more about and there is no question of the author’s talent when it comes to putting her creativity to paper. The writing style absolutely blew me away but, personally, I would have loved to have seen more when it came to the characters themselves and the journey they were on rather than focusing on the world and creatures in it. 
I have no doubt that there will be many, many lovers of YA high fantasy that will devour this novel, but I don’t feel that it’s for me. For as much as there were parts I enjoyed there was an equal, if not greater, amount that kept me from immersing myself. I will keep an eye out for this author in the future, however, and will be keeping an open mind when the next book in this series comes out. I think it will be interesting to see how this series progresses. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book to read and give my own, honest opinion.
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This review will be very brief. 
I read the book and it took me some time. The things I liked: plot. The things I did not like: book drags a lot. I was missing the "thrill for adventure" feeling and unfortunatelly, the author failed for me to be entertained enough. 
3 out of 5 rating here because of these aspects.
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Hearthstone is a humbling tale tackling responsibility and choices in a way that revolves around community, relationships, the environment, and, most interesting of all for myself, gender (I’m really not well versed in the particulars of gender identity and fluidity, but always eager to learn). I enjoyed reading it (and understatement? Yes), the dynamics and changing relationships between the characters, the descriptions of magic and a land so different to ours. It was longer than I anticipated, which I was soon glad of, growing pretty quickly attached to the characters we follow across multiple POVs. Would recommend. Now just to wait for the next one to answer the many (many) questions I have.
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Hearthfire is a story about three adolescents who are about to take the ritual to adulthood, the journeying, but find themselves questioning the old traditions and ways of living. The novel is an ambitious attempt to disucss about the current state of our world - our selfishness at the expense of others, and in the end, at the expense of the Earth. Heartfire takes the readers through adventures, which are full of surviving, murders, and new alliances. But. The famous but. 

There is no doubt that Emmie Mears is a talented writer. She writes beautiful prose, rich and observant,  and the setting was unique. However, this novel was too descriptive for me.  There was a lot of description in Hearthfire, often about even the most minuscule things. I found my concentration wander off and skipping paragraphs - I don't want to read about the same things over and over again but in a slightly different context. I love when the writer sets the scene, but Mears overdoes it. There was little dialogue which means a majority of the story was a description of what the characters did. And they did a lot of hiking and surviving. Even when the twists came into the picture, they felt only a little bit exhilarating. I didn't fully feel the most shocking and exciting scenes. In the end, despite the marvelous concept, the story felt flat. While the writing was the greatest strength of the novel, it was also the greatest weakness.  

 The story did start off strong - there was a bit of mystery of what this "Journeying" was and there was interesting relationship dynamics in place. In addition, the introduction of the new system of pronouns was interesting and ambitious (but fell a bit short for me - I found myself struggling a bit with the pronouns as the system wasn't very well explained and it wasn't consistent). But once again, the overly descriptive writing overshadowed everything else. I couldn't really connect with the characters as the readers don't really get the one-on-one moments to fully understand what the characters are going through. It didn't help that despite the superficial differences of the characters, their voices didn't feel very distinct from each other (three point of views). I realized halfway through the novel that I didn't really care if the characters got killed or not. I didn't develop any kind of sympathy for them. 

The last thing that I had a problem with was the world itself. It was unique for sure but this also meant that the author had to create everything from the ground up. I felt like I never got information enough to get a wholesome picture - only superficial information of the geographics and some trivia of the historical background. The world building was unfinished, unpolished. It was definitely intricate and thought out in theory, but the execution could have been a bit more Pow! and Bang!. I think all of my critique ties back to the fact that I didn't care for the overly descriptive writing because it took so much away from the connection I felt for the characters and the writing concetrated on the shallow descriptions, not so much to take the story futher. There was only so much dialogue and when there was dialogue, I felt like it didn't really bring in much about the characters motives and emotions. 

I think a lot of people will enjoy Heartfire, but it wasn't for me. I give credit to the very cool idea of the magic system and how the whole book was a critique of how we overuse our natural resources and how we do it at the expense of others. I started with very high expectations, but they were only partly fulfilled.
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