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Heartmender

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In the land of Barracks, the economy thrives on the barter of their citizens' most precious commodity—a human heart. Each year, the Heart Reign festival is thrown for those who have become of age to trade their hearts for their deepest desires. And this year is Adelaide Tye's year to trade. After despising Heart Reign for years, Addie endures her Extraction and In the land of Barracks, the economy thrives on the barter of their citizens' most precious commodity—a human heart. Each year, the Heart Reign festival is thrown for those who have become of age to trade their hearts for their deepest desires. And this year is Adelaide Tye's year to trade. After despising Heart Reign for years, Addie endures her Extraction and discovers that her heart isn’t gray and dying, like all other hearts in Barracks, but bright red, alive, and teeming with power. With a warning from the extractor of hearts, Addie rushes through Heart Reign to make her choice—trade her heart to Schism, the monster who took her brother years before, or go in search of the Mender—a mythical man said to purify hearts and save her own heart. Either decision will rip her away from the one man who has always been by her side. Knowing there is only one real choice to make, Addie jumps through Schism’s red door and is thrust into a dark and dangerous realm where she is faced with making a trade she may not survive. For fans of Stephanie Garber's Caraval and ABC's Once Upon a Time.


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In the land of Barracks, the economy thrives on the barter of their citizens' most precious commodity—a human heart. Each year, the Heart Reign festival is thrown for those who have become of age to trade their hearts for their deepest desires. And this year is Adelaide Tye's year to trade. After despising Heart Reign for years, Addie endures her Extraction and In the land of Barracks, the economy thrives on the barter of their citizens' most precious commodity—a human heart. Each year, the Heart Reign festival is thrown for those who have become of age to trade their hearts for their deepest desires. And this year is Adelaide Tye's year to trade. After despising Heart Reign for years, Addie endures her Extraction and discovers that her heart isn’t gray and dying, like all other hearts in Barracks, but bright red, alive, and teeming with power. With a warning from the extractor of hearts, Addie rushes through Heart Reign to make her choice—trade her heart to Schism, the monster who took her brother years before, or go in search of the Mender—a mythical man said to purify hearts and save her own heart. Either decision will rip her away from the one man who has always been by her side. Knowing there is only one real choice to make, Addie jumps through Schism’s red door and is thrust into a dark and dangerous realm where she is faced with making a trade she may not survive. For fans of Stephanie Garber's Caraval and ABC's Once Upon a Time.

46 review for Heartmender

  1. 4 out of 5

    Laura A. Grace

    I don't read Christian fiction much anymore, but when I do, I'm always reminded why it was exclusively all I read ten plus years ago (and why I love it). This book may not be considered "Christian fiction." However, the allegory woven through Heartmender is one that inspires and encourages as the Christian novels I use to read.  So many different things I could say, but I'll focus on one. We are never alone. Regardless of what kind of choice we make (o I don't read Christian fiction much anymore, but when I do, I'm always reminded why it was exclusively all I read ten plus years ago (and why I love it). This book may not be considered "Christian fiction." However, the allegory woven through Heartmender is one that inspires and encourages as the Christian novels I use to read.  So many different things I could say, but I'll focus on one. We are never alone. Regardless of what kind of choice we make (or don't make), as a Christian, I know without a shadow of doubt, Jesus is with me. Though Addie's story is only fictional, her journey testifies to that there are forces of light and darkness around us. That we can choose to be "mended" by someone greater than us and who loves and cares for us. The choice we make to serve either one will reflect our inner hearts, actions, and thoughts.  Her beginning journey might have been full of uncertainty, fear, and doubt, but she becomes a character that I aspire to be in real life.  Brave, loyal, and trusting in faith. I'm so excited for this story to be out in the hands of readers because I believe that regardless of a reader's view or perspective of faith, I think this story can be appreciated as a worthy fantasy and encourage any reader. (I know I'm already itching to get my hands on book two!) It's one of my favorite reads this year and will be recommending to everyone I know. *(I received an ARC from the publisher. All thoughts expressed are my own and was not required to write a review.)*

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kell Jasmer

    Narnia meets Dante’s Inferno in this Christian-inspired YA fantasy Meet Adelaide Tye, an outcast girl who will do anything to save her brother, even when it seems hopeless. Addie has a strong heart, but she struggles with anxiety. Enter Silas, the strong/silent type who takes care of her (and her grandmother, because he’s that sweet), despite the social stigma. Addie is quickly thrown into another world entirely, full of terrifying creatures that may once have been human. Here we mee Narnia meets Dante’s Inferno in this Christian-inspired YA fantasy Meet Adelaide Tye, an outcast girl who will do anything to save her brother, even when it seems hopeless. Addie has a strong heart, but she struggles with anxiety. Enter Silas, the strong/silent type who takes care of her (and her grandmother, because he’s that sweet), despite the social stigma. Addie is quickly thrown into another world entirely, full of terrifying creatures that may once have been human. Here we meet the mysterious Claire, who reluctantly becomes Addie’s guide through a series of tests mirrored after the seven deadly sins. You might think you know what’s coming next, but there are several plot twists that lead up to a strong climax with high stakes. Heartmender explores real issues like anxiety and feeling alone. There are also messages of the power of familial love and the importance of relying on God’s strength when you are weak. I gave 4 stars instead of 5 because I think it needed another pass-through of editing to tighten and strengthen the language. With that, I think it would really wow. (I’m optimistic for book 2. The excerpt at the end of book 1 already shows improvement in this area.) Overall, this story is fast-paced with vivid descriptions, relatable characters, and a strong message of hope. I quite enjoyed it and would recommend it for those interested in Christian-inspired YA fantasy.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jason C.

    Heartmender is a touching story with twists that I did not see coming. I wasn't fully sure what to expect with reading Heartmender. In the book Addie is desperate to save her brother Lyle after he disappeared years ago during the Heart Reign, when people can trade their hearts for what they most desire. She is old enough to participate, and she has a daring plan that will take her to places beyond what she could imagine. The story is beautifully written, and the senses are fully utilized as we f Heartmender is a touching story with twists that I did not see coming. I wasn't fully sure what to expect with reading Heartmender. In the book Addie is desperate to save her brother Lyle after he disappeared years ago during the Heart Reign, when people can trade their hearts for what they most desire. She is old enough to participate, and she has a daring plan that will take her to places beyond what she could imagine. The story is beautifully written, and the senses are fully utilized as we follow Addie on her journey. We feel, taste, smell all the different challenges faced with great description. Addie must pass through several obstacles to get close to her goal, but the temptation and danger grows with each step. The book has the feel of a fairy tale, with an allegorical twist. There's so much to like in the story, from Addie's tenacity, the build-up of suspense, and the heart (pun intended) of the story's themes. It's definitely one I'll recommend. *I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review-there you go, lawyers*

  4. 5 out of 5

    Angie Grigaliunas

    I started and finished this book today. Once I opened it on my kindle app, I couldn't put it down, so it became my afternoon. The world is imaginative, haunting, and really makes one think about the weight of choices - not just our own but the choices others make too. The beautiful symbolism throughout captured me. Addie is a flawed yet dynamic character I couldn't help but root for, and I'm so intrigued by the others (Silas especially, as well as Claire, Lyle, the Rexus, the Mender, Ophidian, S I started and finished this book today. Once I opened it on my kindle app, I couldn't put it down, so it became my afternoon. The world is imaginative, haunting, and really makes one think about the weight of choices - not just our own but the choices others make too. The beautiful symbolism throughout captured me. Addie is a flawed yet dynamic character I couldn't help but root for, and I'm so intrigued by the others (Silas especially, as well as Claire, Lyle, the Rexus, the Mender, Ophidian, Sana, Nana, James...) that I can barely stand it! Where is book two? Ugh! I need it!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lydia

    Fast paced, filled with rich imagery and biblical symbolism, it was a very nice read and an interesting spin on the ideas of fleeing from temptation, and resisting corruption. Overall, a wonderful start for Ms. Romas' first endeavor into the wonderful world of fantasy. Can't wait to see what she'll write next.

  6. 5 out of 5

    M.H. Elrich

    I absolutely loved this book! Everything about it worked together: the characters, the plot, and the setting. This is a perfect combination of fairy-tale and Christian fantasy that I absolutely adore. If you like either of those two genres, you will enjoy this book. There's so much to talk about for this book, but I'll try to stick to the highlights. Let's start with the characters. Addie, the main character, is absolutely awesome. Her love for her brother and her journey to overcome her anxiety I absolutely loved this book! Everything about it worked together: the characters, the plot, and the setting. This is a perfect combination of fairy-tale and Christian fantasy that I absolutely adore. If you like either of those two genres, you will enjoy this book. There's so much to talk about for this book, but I'll try to stick to the highlights. Let's start with the characters. Addie, the main character, is absolutely awesome. Her love for her brother and her journey to overcome her anxiety was an absolute delight to read. I could understand everything she went through, and every temptation she faced. Her battle to overcome evil and preserve her heart was just absolutely beautiful. I rooted for her every step of the way. There are several other characters of note: Addie's grandmother, best friend, and companion in her quest to free her brother. Each of these has a unique voice and personality. I absolutely loved how the author makes their relationships with Addie so poignant and wonderful. I also can't wait to see how the romance develops in book two! Character isn't the only awesome thing about this book, the plot is as well. The plot centers around a quest that reminded me of Dante's Inferno, where the character has to go through a type of hell. In this version, Addie faces the seven deadly sins in order to reach her brother. Her companion helps her face each one, but the true victor is the Mender, the person who is a Christ-like character in the story. Even though this book doesn't mention the Bible explicitly, the symbolism that is interwoven in this plot is too powerful to ignore. Christian elements are beautifully incorporated into the story. Speaking of Dante's Inferno, the setting of the book is the Barracks and the realm Schism sends her to. Schism's realm is like Purgatory, but it is never implied as a way to reach heaven or hell. It just reminds me of Purgatory because it seems like either an in-between place or hell itself. Either way, the scenery is well-described so that I could picture what was happening as I read. The descriptions were neither too long nor too short, they were the Goldilocks of story descriptions. If you love fairy tales or Christian fantasy with great characters, plot, and setting, you'll love this book! Forgot to mention content: This is definitely PG-13. There is no explicit sex or language, but there is a bit of gore and sexual implications.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rachael Neely

    Heartmender is a refreshing take on Christian fantasy. V. Romas Burton builds a deliciously dark world sprinkled with Hope. As an avid fantasy reader, I am always on the quest for unique fantasy worlds, magical constructs, creatures/races, and character development. Heartmender definitely delivered -- and remained completely Young Adult appropriate! The story line is fast paced and its many twists and turns kept me on my toes! V. Romas Burton does a wonderful job introducing new mysteries while Heartmender is a refreshing take on Christian fantasy. V. Romas Burton builds a deliciously dark world sprinkled with Hope. As an avid fantasy reader, I am always on the quest for unique fantasy worlds, magical constructs, creatures/races, and character development. Heartmender definitely delivered -- and remained completely Young Adult appropriate! The story line is fast paced and its many twists and turns kept me on my toes! V. Romas Burton does a wonderful job introducing new mysteries while revealing answers to existing ones. My favorite aspect of Heartmender is the strong symbolism sprinkled throughout the story. In every chapter I was reminded of God's unending love and patience with His flawed, sinful children. I love the emphasis on choices and that God sees the whole picture even when we are blinded by our immediate circumstances. I definitely will be saving a copy for my children to read when they're older!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Make sure you have cleared your schedule before starting Heartmender. Once you’ve picked it up, you won’t want to put it down until you’ve finished. Heatmender plunges readers into its imaginative, mysterious world where people choose their fate in exchange for their extracted heart—and that’s only the beginning. What makes Heartmender great is its intricate plot, fast-paced writing, and characters that will break your heart in the best way possible. I cannot wait to read more!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lauricia Matuska

    Heartmender is the tale of Addie, a teenage girl who lives in a world where hearts are extracted before they can become hard and dead and are then traded for the bearer’s greatest wish. However, Addie’s heart is neither hard nor dead, and her greatest wish is not to be granted at the fair. In order to obtain her wish, Addie must protect her extracted heart from those who seek to possess it and must overcome a series of trials that very few survive. I was drawn to Heartmender because o Heartmender is the tale of Addie, a teenage girl who lives in a world where hearts are extracted before they can become hard and dead and are then traded for the bearer’s greatest wish. However, Addie’s heart is neither hard nor dead, and her greatest wish is not to be granted at the fair. In order to obtain her wish, Addie must protect her extracted heart from those who seek to possess it and must overcome a series of trials that very few survive. I was drawn to Heartmender because of its eerie, surreal tone and the realistic but kind depiction of crippling anxiety. The more I read, the more I enjoyed this story, especially for the way it resonates with the cinematic otherworldly feel of Mirrormask and Pan’s Labyrinth. The artistry is hauntingly surreal yet truthful for its depiction of a young woman who must overcome the trials of life that blindside so many of us. An enchanting allegory, Heartmender is a story that will be greatly enjoyed by readers of clean YA fantasy.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Cammie

    I saw the premise in a tweet and I fell in love. This is an incredible story with so many layers of beauty and darkness. Nothing happened how I thought it would and the entire story kept me guessing. And I'm still thinking about it, months later. Fantastic debut!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was absolutely fascinated with this book, at the beginning. I loved the whole concept, plot, theme, and characters of this book but it’s definitely lacking something to me. It is a very interesting book because it never really says what time period it’s set in, which reminds me of the book “Liesl & Po.” I get major Steampunk or dystopian society vibes from both of these books. I picture modern but historical early 1900’s, meshed together. I literally read this book in two days, which I NEV I was absolutely fascinated with this book, at the beginning. I loved the whole concept, plot, theme, and characters of this book but it’s definitely lacking something to me. It is a very interesting book because it never really says what time period it’s set in, which reminds me of the book “Liesl & Po.” I get major Steampunk or dystopian society vibes from both of these books. I picture modern but historical early 1900’s, meshed together. I literally read this book in two days, which I NEVER do. It was that good...as I said, at the beginning. Toward the middle and at the end, it lost my interest. I didn’t like the whole “seven choices” parts. The Seven Choices is supposed to be like the seven deadly sins, which is a great concept, considering this book is, I believe to be, a Christian allegory. I just found these chapters sort of boring. I know they are important to the story but something was just off to me. I LOVED the backstory of Silas and who he really is. I wanted to read more about that. It’s like we find out about that and then nothing else is said about him. I was hoping that at the end of the book Addie would see Silas again but she doesn’t. She’s starts out on another journey...like what?!! I wanted her to see Silas! Anyway this brings me to the next thing I was disappointed about. I honestly didn’t understand the whole Mender/Rexus/Magisters thing.. and why were they calling her Bellata? I guess I missed something. She never questioned why they called her that name. She said it sounded familiar but she never asked them why they called her that. I was confused.. Maybe it just went over my head? I don’t know but I didn’t really like how she just gets thrown right into another journey. Overall, I enjoyed this book. I was disappointed with the ending but I do see why it’s written this way. It’s a series, which I didn’t realize when I bought this book, so it has to end by leading the reader into the next book. I believe this book would have been better as a stand alone. I feel it should have ended with the bad guy being defeated, Addie returning to Silas and to a changed homeland with no more Heart Reign or heart extractions. This is just my opinion but overall, I was impressed with this story, mainly the beginning though.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mary Gray

    Few books have stolen my heart like this one. I LOVED so many aspects of this book--the creepy, opening prologue, the larger-than-life nature of Heart Reign, the doors that symbolize the seven deadly sins, the siti, and Eman's inspiring words at the end. I kept highlighting quotes, because I felt there were so many valuable teaching moments. I feel like the world would be a better place if more people read and internalized this book! Oh. And I loved Ophidian's throne room at the end.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Claire Banschbach

    This book was an adventure and romance wrapped up in a Dante's Inferno-esque story. It was so much fun and bit a lot of good points. I really enjoyed it. Addie was a solid character - she had so many fears and doubts, but began to push herself in so many different ways, and I loved seeing her growth. She begins her quest to save her brother despite battle crippling fears and anxieties and then discovers so much more about herself and the world as she goes. And I'm a sucker for sibling stories, s This book was an adventure and romance wrapped up in a Dante's Inferno-esque story. It was so much fun and bit a lot of good points. I really enjoyed it. Addie was a solid character - she had so many fears and doubts, but began to push herself in so many different ways, and I loved seeing her growth. She begins her quest to save her brother despite battle crippling fears and anxieties and then discovers so much more about herself and the world as she goes. And I'm a sucker for sibling stories, so I loved her overall mission to find her brother. <3 Her journey through the reals beyond Schism's door is where the Inferno bit comes in. She must navigate through different doors to progress towards the end goal, and behind each battles some form of the seven deadly sins. Each one leaves a mark on her as some are much more difficult than others for her, and that made her so much more relatable, seeing her struggling with these things that are so human. The writing style was great and was very easy to engage with. All the supporting characters (SILAS!) were great, and a couple of great twists through - one that I kind of saw coming, but still really enjoyed because I think it's going to carry over so well into the next book! Lots to look forward to in the next book. The ending didn't necessarily end on a cliffhanger, but still is set up so well for book 2! Highly recommended for those who love light romance, action/adventure, sibling stories, christian allegory that's done in a very relatable, not overbearing/heavy handed way. I received an ARC from Monster Ivy Publishing. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Muhammad Shahmaar Shams

    A unique, exciting read, includes heartmending, hearttrading, beasts, choice game and lot of emotions. But Also lacks details with insincere bits in the book. ♥ Let's discuss the plot through our main character (Addie). She has a red, dark, living heart in a world where people have gray, dying hearts. In this world, people trade their heart for their desire. It is her year to trade the heart. Addie has to find his brother took away (willingly) by Schism. She thrusts into Schi A unique, exciting read, includes heartmending, hearttrading, beasts, choice game and lot of emotions. But Also lacks details with insincere bits in the book. ♥ Let's discuss the plot through our main character (Addie). She has a red, dark, living heart in a world where people have gray, dying hearts. In this world, people trade their heart for their desire. It is her year to trade the heart. Addie has to find his brother took away (willingly) by Schism. She thrusts into Schism's  world to find her brother. She has to face seven choices, seven doors.  ♥ The entire plot gets diverse with progress along with addition of interesting characters. The themes involve light and darkness (Good and evil), sins, choices, faith and belief along with deep symbolism. ♥ The writing style is powerful but there is unnecessary complexity. The unique world and it's system is really beautiful however it lacks the details that add richness to a fantasy book. ♥ My favourite character is Dr. Magnum, even though his appearance is brief but it captivated me and look forward to him in the future book(s) in the series. ♥ There is concept of seven doors that the main character has to survive through but it seemed like the stages/challenges were there for the sake of being there. There were dark threats but no harm or consequences. ♥ I would give this book 3 stars because it was unique, original but lacking. Would I recommend it? Yes.  Would I pick the next book in the series? No. I enjoyed it? Yes. Should you read it? Yes because, well, you read the first paragraph. p.s. i love the cover because it is so delicate.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sara Jo

    Loved this book! Addie has to go through the Seven Choices based off the seven deadly sins. Such great characterization and symbology. Can't wait for the next one!!

  16. 4 out of 5

    V. Romas Burton

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Loved writing this book! Can't wait to continue!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

  18. 4 out of 5

    Niki Raye

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Romas

  20. 5 out of 5

    Laura Frances

  21. 5 out of 5

    A.K.R. Scott

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer R.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Makenna Matos

  24. 4 out of 5

    Frannie Loving

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ally Belle

  26. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

  28. 4 out of 5

    Narvai

  29. 4 out of 5

    Anna J. Jacobson

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brandi M.

  31. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  32. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

  33. 5 out of 5

    Beka

  34. 5 out of 5

    Kendra

  35. 4 out of 5

    C.S. Johnson

  36. 4 out of 5

    Bryn

  37. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Stoeckel

  38. 4 out of 5

    Maurice Jones

  39. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

  40. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

  41. 4 out of 5

    Tina

  42. 4 out of 5

    Evelyn Young

  43. 4 out of 5

    Drewcilla

  44. 4 out of 5

    Kelprim

  45. 5 out of 5

    krystina beck

  46. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

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