Smoke and Mirrors: The Trueheart
Publisher: Self Published
Publication date: 10th October 2020
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy
Format read: Paperback
Source: Courtesy of Smith Publicity Services
About the book
How could Corbin possibly do what he was supposed to do? After Corbin's mother died, Maxim Moritz Grobian took him, penniless orphan that he was, under his wing and taught him the magic that was their heritage. Corbin owed Max everything, and now Max had given him a mission. Corbin was to bring Max's estranged daughter to New York. Lorelei was the only one, Max insisted, that could used the Heartstone, a crystal of phenomenal power, to keep mages safe from the Inquisitors that hunted them and allow mages to finally take their rightful place in the world.
A wothy goal, thought Corbin initially, but now that he had actually met Lorelei all he really wanted to do was to run for the hills. Both afraid of hurting her and endangering himself, he needed to stay away from her not befriend her to do Max's bidding. Besides his instructions were more than to just befriend her. He was supposed to make her fall in love with him!
There was no way, absolutely no way he was going to do that - not after what she told him.
In Smoke and Mirrors: The Trueheart we follow Corbin, a young orphan boy, as he first discovers his magic at the tender age of 10 when consumed by sadness at his mother's death he turns into a crow and flies off with a crow that was perched on his window. He is soon befriended by a mage who, seeing his potential, makes Corbin his protege.
The story is written in an uncomplicated style which seemed to be geared towards a younger audience 12+ however I found it lacking in good role models. Corbin was very self-centred and vain. I'm not adverse to teens kissing but Corbin was kissing his friends' girlfriends and there didn't seem to be any animosity or concern over this. There was also much talk about the easy girls he used to date. I feel stories with teens need to have at least one strong female. Hyacinth and Lorelei were nymphs so it was understandable that they were obsessed with looks and were flirtatious (although I think this was a little overdone). The other female was Maggie and I was disappointed that she wasn't more assertive with the boys.
I have to commend the world building. This was well executed. Detailed but not complicated.
In my fantasy reads I want to see the magic. I want to feel real danger and I want the antagonist to be mean right from the start. He did come through in the end with a kidnapping and threat of torture but I felt it was too late.
I would have liked a lot more showing and less telling. Corbin tells us he is having magic lessons, we are told he lived with the crows for two years and how he ran with the wolf pack but what I really wanted was to live these scenes.
I think Smoke and Mirrors: The Trueheart has a fantastic premise and exceptional world building. I would like the next book to concentrate on the mission and why it's important. With more magic, more danger and a bit less on personal issues I think this could be a great series.
I don't usually mention cover art but I think this one is captivating.
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