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Urban Fantasy Review: Trueheart by Mel Sterling

Trueheart by Mel Sterling (Portland After Dark #1)

Ecopy thanks to the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
Loyalty. Desperation. Grief.

Eight months ago a mysterious drug killed Tess Gordon’s brother, and now it’s spreading through her rehab counseling clients. They all claim they're not addicted, the drug leaves no trace except its drained victims, and the cops aren’t interested. Aching with loss, Tess vows to find the source. What she finds instead is Thomas.

Slavery. Duty. Enchantment.

Thomas, the half-fae guardian of the goblin market, has plenty of problems—and just got another one. Pressed into the service of the Unseelie Queen, all he wants is his freedom. But Tess won’t go away, and the human girl is in way over her head.

One perilous late-autumn night, the fae and human worlds collide. Tess's and Thomas's separate tasks are inextricably tangled. Now, a half-fae and a human rehab counselor must walk the knife-edge of obligation, love, death and transformation--with the entire Unseelie Court, including the malevolent Wild Hunt, out for their blood.

Welcome to Portland, After Dark...

Amazon kindle US/UK


* * * 
I am so glad Grace Draven reached out to me to recommend Trueheart for review. I don't think I'd have taken on the new author in the last month otherwise, considering how hectic the blog has been. And I would have missed a discovery of a very good debut in urban fantasy genre.

Straight off the bat, I guarantee that if you enjoyed books like War For The Oaks, October Daye series  and the infamous Merry Gentry courtesy of Laurell K. Hamilton, Portland After Dark will make you feel right at home.

While I felt that the book was unnecessary short and would have benefited from the double the amount of the word count, the imagery was lush and intricate, the emotions strong and raw, and the feel of the book itself rich and dark, twisted and complex, - all the things I usually want to see in my fae stories.

 Thomas is half-fae/half-human. Deceived and enchanted by Unseelie Queen in the past, he remains her slave until his service will grant him his freedom. It's a fine line between behaving well and guessing the queen's mood right, playing his role of a bitter, jealous lover, while he hates his captor and does everything in his power to keep the remnants of his humanity. He survives until he meets Tess who unfortunately has something that the Queen wants back.

Tess is passionate about her work and tries her best to help addicts to recover. She is level-headed, isn't prone to drama and doesn't suffer from TSTL heroine syndromes. The gal has courage and flexible mind, and when her investigation into a new type of drug brings her into Thomas's world, she doesn't spend much time denying the existence of fae, but tries to do something useful instead.

Trueheart is about staying true to yourself and the consequences of such decisions. It's packed with action, it's beautifully imagined, it has likable heroes with undeniable chemistry between them, and it makes you crave more. Excellent debut, and I'm really looking forward to more books from this author!

* * *
Я так рада, что Грэйс Дрэйвен попросила меня в прошлом месяце прорецензировать Верное Сердце. Если бы я получила запрос от незнакомого мне автора в декабре, я бы совершенно не обратила на него внимания, учитывая насколько занят этот месяц на блоге, и пропустила бы прекрасный дебют в жанре городского фэнтези.

Сразу скажу, что если вам полюбились Война за Дубы, серия Октобер Дэй и скандальная Мерри Джентри от Лорелл К. Гамильтон, то Верное Сердце придётся вам по душе.

У меня хоть и были претензии к короткому сюжету, который бы очень выиграл, если бы его увеличили в два раза, сами описания мира были настолько красочными и живыми, эмоции такими болезненными и честными, герои - многогральными, да и автор совершенно не чуралась тёмной стороны фэ и их маккиавеллиевской хитрости, - что читала я эту книгу с большим удовольствием.
Томас - наполовину фэ, наполовину человек. Одурманенный и очарованный Королевой Тёмных Фэ пару веков назад, он стал её рабом и любовником, вечно на грани между жизнью и смертью в зависимости от её капризов и жестокости, и научился выживать любыми методами, скрывая свою ненависть под маской ревнивого любовника и преданного слуги. Только встреча с Тэсс, которая сама того не зная, преградила путь планам Королевы, начинает ломать его фасад и заставляет его следовать сердцу.

Тэсс - прекрасная героиня, преданная своему делу, решительная, рассудительная и храбрая. Когда встреча с Томасом заставляет её увидеть мир фэ, она не тратит времени, отрицая происходящее, а активно участвует в событиях. 

Верное Сердце - книга, полная экшна и с шикарнейшим построением мира. Между Томасом и Тэсс так и сыпятся искры, и герои они очень симпатичные читателю. В общем, прекрасный дебют, и я с нетерпением жду последующих книг от Мел Стерлинг.
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