March 5, 2014 by mmileti
Release Date: March 5, 2014
White Hart is a young adult fantasy story from an independently published author. It contains elements of epic fantasy, adventure, and a touch of young love. The tone changes throughout the novel from dark fantasy to traditional fantasy, and even though this is not a common plot device I found I enjoyed the change, as it was consistent with the book’s themes.
The story follows a young girl named Mae, who is the only person in her generation to possess nature magic. She is needed desperately by her Kingdom to be a catalyst for bringing magic back to her world, and when the young Prince comes to her village, she hides her magic from him so the King does not force them to marry in order to have magic users in the royal bloodline. Mae, the Prince, and her best friend in the world (which just happens to be a rare white stag) end up on a journey together through the magical and frightening Waerg Woods where they encounter life-threatening situations at every turn. Mae struggles to hide her secret while at the same time using her powers to get them through the deadly and supernatural forest with their lives.
The best thing about this book is Dalton’s level of imagination. The Waerg Woods are beautiful, and the creatures that live within them are completely original and fantastical. I love the forest’s allure combined with its danger, and the wonders that it contains never become stale to the reader. The castle is also extremely original, and adds a bit of steampunk into the story. The plot is fast-paced, and it engages the reader through the entire book. Despite its fairy-tale tone, the story is very original, and includes twists that I never would have guessed.
Even though I enjoyed this book, it was often very difficult to sympathize with Mae’s character. She never thought things through, and constantly made decisions that no rational person would. She let her anger carry throughout almost the entire book, and every time she was warned of certain death, she would plod on ahead in the chance that it would lead her to revenge a little faster. It was hard to believe that someone would decide to go through a part of the forest that she was fully aware contained no food, no water, and an extremely deadly creature, just because it might shave a little time off her trip.
In addition to my problems with Mae, the ending of this story really disappointed me. I understand the unconventional ending, and I am a big fan of endings such as Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy. I love the ending to that trilogy because even though it is unconventional, it feels so realistic, and it is consistent with the tone of the series. The ending to this novel felt like it could have easily been avoided, and was simply a plot device to add a twist at the book’s ending. It also ended extremely abruptly, and not in the kind of way that makes you want to read the next book. Instead of creating a cliffhanger, the author made me not want to read any sequels.
Overall, I enjoyed this story despite being frustrated by the main character. The story’s setting was wonderful, and it was well paced. If it was not for the way the story ended, I may have even wanted to read Dalton’s work in the future.
I would rate this story a 6/10.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review.