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Heart of Hythea [Song of the Arkafina #1] Paperback – December 19, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Bladud Books (December 19, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843196417
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843196419
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,251,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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By debeehr on September 28, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are many, many things to like about this book. The author has a good sense of pacing and keeps events moving briskly; very often I would find myself getting caught up in the story and reading for longer than I had intended. At the same time the events all feel like part of the same story instead of just "a bunch of stuff that happened" (see, for example, Union of Renegades). The plot is tightly focused and keeps the reader moving steadily toward the climax. (This is *really* important--so many authors these days don't have the slightest idea how to plot or pace; see for example Twilight.) The author also has put a lot of thought into her backstory and fleshing out her world. It feels real, with a depth and history to it that many fictional worlds don't have. The depth and richness of the world also helped to keep me engaged. Prose style is generally good with a few awkward moments; in a few places, the author does end up telling us what her characters feel (e.g. "Thomas de Vigny felt angry and frustrated that his prisoner was still resisting him." Uh...duh) but overall it is pretty good.

So with all this to like, why not five stars? One word: Katrione. Katrione is the main character in the story and a major part of what is keeping me from giving this book five stars. Unfortunately, the image I picked up of her from this story is of someone as dumb as a post who consistently makes terrible decisions and critical misjudgements. In fact, I reached a point where I dreaded seeing her take action at all, because I knew whatever she did, she was going to make the situation worse.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Heart of Hythea follows the adventures of Katrione (Kat, Katkin) du Chesne from childhood through her first "trial by fire" if you will inside the Heart of Hythea.

I found it interesting and compelling. Kat is a Juvenie (Francis has invented/adopted a rich language for her world, fortunately she includes a glossary at the end) which is sort of an nurse practitioner intern who possesses special healing gifts. She also has a special relationship with Lalluna, a winged goddess who Kat calls on from time to time for help or advice. While spurning the unwanted advances from Tomas de Vigny, she reunites with her childhood idol Jacq Benet. She marries Jacq, and soon discovers that Jacq is not the simple blacksmith he claims to be. She begins using her own powers to heal the sick despite the ban on such things. When Beaumarais is threatened with destruction, Kat and Jacq both must follow their own paths, risking their love and their lives to save the city and each other.

Francis has created an interesting world with a lot of details and hidden meanings. There seems to be a pantheon of spirits wrestling for control of the world, and she gives a brief insight into their battle before each chapter. I'm thinking this will be played out much more throughout the Arkafina series. I'm looking forward to reading more of the series.
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By bukwurm on December 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
Heart of Hythea is the first volume in a four book series that falls loosely in the romance/fantasy genre. It is set in an imaginary universe called the Gyre, peopled both by humans and god-like beings called the Amaranthine. Be warned; it is sometimes difficult to tell them apart, or know who is an enemy or a friend. The story operates on several different levels and can be confusing at times, though the appendices help quite a bit. The heroine, Katkin du Chesne, doesn't always do the right thing, and her relationship with her childhood hero Jacq is bittersweet, but the end of the book is satisfying. No cliffhangers leading to the next book, but I'll be looking forward to reading it.
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