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Jack of Hearts: Volume 1 (A Novel of the Seven Courts) Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Length: 262 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled Matchbook Price: $0.99 What's this?
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Product Details

  • File Size: 713 KB
  • Print Length: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Bell Bridge Books (April 30, 2013)
  • Publication Date: April 30, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #434,895 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Ricardo Bare was born in Madrid, Spain, the son of an American fighter jet mechanic and a Spanish damsel. Roman aqueducts, crumbling castles, Moorish arches, churros and chocolate, and carving slices off a leg of jamon serrano that hung next to his aunt's kitchen door are still etched in his childhood memory.

It was probably finding an old copy of John Carter of Mars in his grandfather's attic that first seriously ignited his love of reading and eventually led to his high school English teacher recommending he join the creative writing group after finding that a "free writing" exercise she'd assigned turned into a long description of battles between monsters and knights wielding magic swords.

Deeply connected to his love of stories is his love of games. Ricardo grew up playing computer games, board games, and table top RPGs, cutting his teeth on the Commodore 64 version of the The Bard's Tale. Many years later, he joined the video games industry as a designer where he helped create the award winning Deus Ex series. Most recently Ricardo worked with Arkane Studios on Dishonored, 2012's Game of the Year.

Eventually he found his way to Texas, the land of tongue-scalding food and infernal summers, where he now lives close to Austin with his beloved family.

Ricardo writes in the slim spaces left between making games, time with his family, and trying to grow all the ingredients necessary for salsa and gazpacho in his backyard garden. He's written dozens of short stories, a few of which have been presentable enough to be shown in public. His first two novels, Jack of Hearts and Fool of Fate are published by Bell Bridge books.

He hopes readers will take as much enjoyment from his works as he's had in creating them.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I picked up this book on the recommendation of a friend and soon found myself drawn into the dark story of Jack, the boy with no heart. This is Ricardo Bare's first book but I sincerly hope he continues as I'm dying to find out more about the lonely adventures of the hero. I'll be recommending this to my friends.

On a more technical note, the editing was perfect and the story well written, without annoying grammar or spelling errors that so often detract from many of the books we see published today.
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Format: Paperback
Jack of Hearts by Ricardo Bare hooked me with its beautiful cover art and the tagline - "Some boys throw their hearts away. Jack let a witch take his." Yes, I bought the book for its cover which is never a good idea unless you will be satisfied with owning a small piece of art, however, in this case, the contents of the book lived up to the promise of the cover. Lucky me!

The book is essentially a chase scene as the titular character, Jack, at the behest of the Lady of Twilight pursues the wizard, Moribrand. The Lady's reason for wanting the wizard dead remains unknown to Jack, nor will he ask her. He lives by the simple credo - obey the Lady, but do not act like the Lady.

During the course of their travels, Jack's and Moribrand's fates become increasingly entangled with each other and a small cast of characters including the Salt Baron Jacosta, the giant Minnow, and Cassandra, a young girl imprisoned in an unknown location who communicates through a mirror that Jack finds and carries with him. Each character feels well-developed and as richly drawn as the world they inhabit. Bare did a particularly good job with maintaining Jack's numb detachment as the heartless boy while at the same time revealing small cracks in his emotionless demeanor. Through a series a flashbacks, Bare relates Jack's painful history which lead him to give his heart to the Lady of Twilight, and if your own heart doesn't ache for the boy, you're made of sterner stuff than I.

The idea of Jack giving his heart to a witch reminded me of ABC's "Once Upon a Time," and there are several traditional Snow White elements at play within the book. Jack of Hearts, however, is not a retread of the old, familiar fairy tale. It is wholly original, standing firmly on its own as the beginning of a great tale. I look forward to returning to the land of the Seven Courts and spending more time with Jack and his companions.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Ricardo Bare has a rather unique imagination and poetic yet simple wordcrafting. I read a lot of fantasy and science fiction, and this book sort of reminds me of Lois Lowry's Giver books in that the worldbuilding feels more like wandering through a dream rather than coming to understand how the world works and why. I didn't really enjoy the Giver books as much as many for this reason; I need more structure in my unreality. It's as if there was some cataclysm that changed the world, but it's never explained and does not matter to the story, but the sense that things were once otherwise remains an unexplained nagging puzzle. Some of the lyrical qualities and oddness reminded me also of Patricia McKillip, who I enjoy greatly.

The character building was decent, though there was little surprise in revelations about Jack's past, and more of a feeling af just TELL me, already and move PAST it. However, overall it was engaging and worth reading, until I got to the "end". Although I could see from the cover it would be part of a series, I do have certain expectations for how much a story arc should be resolved for one to call a book a book. This is not a complete book; the change in circumstances at the end did not feel like any kind of resolution, but more like an increase in the tension that leads up to a climax. There are threads that feel randomly dropped (the cave wizard, the flashback cart) that may get picked up in later books, but are distracting and for me annoying.

In the end, I felt cheated by a lack of resolution for any main arc.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
3.5 stars. I don't read much fantasy anymore, but I enjoyed Jack of Hearts. The story follows Jack's hunt for the magician, Moribrand, at the request of the Lady of Twilight.

But even though Jack has no heart--literally (he gave it to the Lady)--he shows heart in his actions along the way. He discovers the Oracle, Cassandra, held in a mirror, and takes her with him on his journey.

While this reads as a young adult novel, there were some violent things that occurred, like the giant, Minnow, eating a live animal that turned my stomach. I'm not sure the book would be good for the very young.

I also felt there were some similarities with Stephen King's story, The Gunslinger. Jack is like a combination of both young Jack and Roland, as the Lady has provided him with special capabilities. And Cassandra seems much like Susanna, who was trapped in a wheelchair. And he's chasing a magician who has his sights on a dark tower in the distance. Is this really meant to be fan fiction?
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