Title: Black Heat
Author: Bex Hogan
My absolute favourite book of 2023, Black Heat completely consumed me. Three strong female leads with very different lives, all affected by – and contributing to – a war they have been powerless to prevent. What do the princess, the blacksmith and the midwife have in common, and how will their individual actions shape their common goals?
I loved every part of this book. The three women have different motives and different positions in society, and each brings a different type of strength to the story. Marzal, the princess, searches for ways to survive and protect herself in a royal court where everyone is playing dangerous games, and no one can be trusted. Rayn, the blacksmith, seeks revenge for the deaths of her family while negotiating her own survival on a battlefield dominated by dangerous men. Elena, the apprentice midwife, must trust in her abilities and find a way to protect herself and the secret she carries.
Their stories, while told in individual strands, all play essential roles in the search for peace in a war-torn country – and in the need for revenge.
The world-building is fantastic. Telling the story from three points of view, three locations, and three utterly different social positions allows the author to paint a comprehensive picture of the setting without infodumping or excessive description. We see what we need to see, and the different points of view allow the reader to witness the war and its effects, from the palace to the battlefield, and the homes of the people caught up in the fighting.
This isn’t a romance. This isn’t a story about men, or women chasing men. This is a story about female strength and perseverance in the face of a war, and a political struggle in which they have no part. Men – good and bad – appear in the story, but the focus is always on Marzal, Rayn, and Elena, and the choices they make for survival, peace, and revenge.
Did I mention that I love this book? It’s an absolute treat to read. If you enjoy strong female leads, dangerous plots and dangerous secrets, and a satisfying dose of revenge – what are you waiting for?
Have you read Black Heat? What did you think of the three women and their stories? Click through to the full blog to access the comments section, and share your thoughts! No spoilers, though – you can post those on GoodReads!
YA review: Black Heat cross-posted to GoodReads.
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