Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep

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Title: Dark Heart of Magic (Black Blade #2)
Author: Jennifer Estep
Release Date: October 27, 2015
Publisher: Kensington
Pages: 368
Source: Bought
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Overall: 4 STARS

Something Wicked This Way Comes...

As a thief, I stick to the shadows as much as possible. But when the head of the Sinclair Family picks me to compete in the Tournament of Blades, there's no escaping the spotlight—or the danger.

Even though he's my competition, Devon Sinclair thinks I have the best shot at winning what's supposed to be a friendly contest. But when the competitors start having mysterious "accidents," it looks like someone will do anything to win—no matter who they hurt.

As if I didn't have enough to worry about, mobster Victor Draconi is plotting against Devon and the rest of my friends, and someone's going around Cloudburst Falls murdering monsters. One thing's for sure. Sometimes, humans can be more monstrous than anything else...  

My Thoughts: 
After absolutely loving Jennifer Estep's Cold Burn of Magic, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the sequel and enter a world of magic, monsters, and feuding crime families once again. Dark Heart of Magic is filled with thrilling action scenes and a mystery to unravel as the annual Tournament of Blades is kicked off in Cloudburst Falls, the most magical town in America.

When Lila is chosen to compete in the tournament, she takes the sudden attention cast on her in stride. As a former thief, Lila is more comfortable slipping into the shadows, but she's no longer content to fly under the radar. Victor Draconi, head of the Draconi family and the man who murdered her mother, is plotting behind the scenes, and whatever he has planned spells trouble for the other Families.

Lila has sworn vengeance against Victor, but a more immediate concern has arisen: someone is hunting monsters and draining their blood. As the competition heats up at the Tournament of Blades, Lila must track down a murderer and avoid Victor's close scrutiny. Lila might be a fiercely independent girl, but she'll need the help of all her friends this time.

Whereas Cold Burn of Magic was focused on introducing the world of the Black Blade series, Dark Heart of Magic is all about developing Lila's relationships with her friends and family. Ever since her mother's death, Lila has kept everyone at a distance, guarding her heart with an impenetrable wall, but now she's slowly learning to open herself up again. And Devon Sinclair! So sweet. So kind. So patient! I really do ship these two together so much.

If I had to say anything negative about Dark Heart of Magic, it would be that I thought Lila was rather slow to connect the dots. It was a little obvious who was murdering monsters in Cloudburst Falls, and I wish the mystery was more difficult to unravel. The signs were right in front of her, and by calling attention to the feeling she was missing something vital, it became even more apparent was going on. I guess I was hoping for more of a challenge...?

I always love Jennifer Estep's writing style, and Dark Heart of Magic delivered another suspenseful, fast-paced read that had my eyes glued to the page until the very end. Urban fantasy fans won't want to miss the latest addition to the crazy addictive Black Blade series. I'm absolutely excited to read Bright Blaze of Magic next April 2016 to learn how Jennifer Estep will conclude the trilogy! How will Lila defeat Victor Draconi?! I NEED TO KNOW.   

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