Friday, May 23, 2014

LibraryThing Member Giveaway Review: White Hart

Author: Sarah Dalton
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 220
Warnings: Violence/Character Death
Rating: 3/5

"White Hart" is the story of Mae Waylander, a mysterious young woman with the power to control nature and her faithful companion Anta. However her powers are in high demand, and when a local girl Ellen is kidnapped after pretending to wield Mae's powers, she reluctantly accepts the help of  Prince Casimir and they follow her into the Waerg Woods. Along the way they discover the woods just as dangerous as they've been warned, and there are more secrets hidden behind the trees than they could have suspected.

This is a good story with several emotionally complex, interesting characters. Mae, Casimir and Sasha are all a good blend of strong and able to depend on other people. All three of them are capable of some very badass action, but they also all have some internal struggles that makes it hard for them to respond to all threats. I appreciate the sense of realism that lends to the story, especially since despite everything else, they are all pretty young. In addition, there's a small amount of romance in the story, but it takes a major backseat to the action, which I was fine with.

In general I thought this was a solid YA fiction story. They plotline slows down a little in the middle of the story, but picks up again after Mae does some soul-searching. Most of the individual action scenes were well-written, and they carried the story well. It was a nice, easy read, but it kept me interested. However I don't think it would appeal much to someone who doesn't already enjoy YA fiction and magic.

What was especially interesting to me from a gender representation perspective is that even though women were overrepresented in the main characters (2:1), the overall gender breakdown was still slightly more in favor of dudes (11:15). There weren't a lot of characters in this story because most of the book is set in the middle of a forest. Therefore the disparity could be a coincidence, but I'm not entirely convinced. Maybe if I find a considerable amount of books that go the other way?

On another note, several of the characters were significant to the plot but weren't given names, so I kept track of all characters, regardless of how well they were named. I also kept track of any character that had a name even if they didn't appear in the story, like Mae's mother, who while dead during the book played a significant role in the main character's upbringing. Either way the ratio was quite similar, so I'm going to try and follow my previous standard, characters that are named (even if not with exact names, anything more complicated than "the woman"), alive or dead.
Graphs, motherfucker. Do you read them?

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