The Heart of the Circle introduces a richly developed world filled with deeply personal magic that emanates throughout the pages.
It goes beyond a brilliantly written fantasy novel to include a powerful love story, an inside look at human emotion, and a conversation on fighting back against mindless oppressors.
To start, Landsman focuses on a type of magic that goes beyond parlor tricks to get at the heart of each sorcerer. Our protagonist, Reed, is constantly flooded with emotions from those around him. We get to see the power of human emotion at a physical level through his eyes. Situations in the book go beyond storytelling, manifesting in a very raw way. It’s exhilarating, heartbreaking, and emotional to experience as a reader. We also experience the tragedy of knowing you’re going to die and choosing to live anyway. It’s an often visited story in fantasy novels that’s used expertly in the narrative. By the end of the book, I felt drained by my investment in these characters lives, in the best way possible.
The central love story is a beautiful creation.
We see two men with the ability to feel things deeper than can be imagined, each suffering from a past that has made it difficult to love another person. They slowly grow closer to each other until their relationship finally blooms into something magnificent. The emotional connection they’re able to share thanks to their abilities makes their love that much more powerful. It’s a very emotional experience to see these two people choose each other when they know things don’t look bright in the future.
Above all, we see the passion of a group of people at the center of deep prejudices who refuse to back down from demanding the freedom they deserve. Horrible things happen throughout, deaths are prophesied, and still they band together to march in the face of hate. It’s a fight song for our current time, showing how powerful people can be when they band together to refuse oppression.
Overall, The Heart of the Circle is a wonderful book that stuck with me long after reading. It’s beautifully done in every way and I thank the author for writing such a compelling and heartfelt story.
The Heart of the Circle
By Keren Landsman
Published by Angry Robot
NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.