Review: Heartwood Box

I love this author’s work, especially the Razorland series, but this book did not live up to the expectations I had in my head. I kept wondering if this was a mislabeled “magical realism” story as it felt like one. I don’t always enjoy magical realism but pushed through this. It certainly was a fantasy but it was “light fantasy” at best, and certainly not “horror”. There was not a not thrilling or horrific about the story.

I did enjoy the characters. Aguirre is always so good at developing complex and flawed characters. She is able to weave such wonderful chemistry between them. She must have magic in her blood.

The plot was the weakest part of this story. There were just too many things happening and none of them felt fully flushed out. Was it a romance? Historical fiction? Magical realism? Fantasy? Coming of age? It just did not know what it wanted to be when it grew up. I struggled to figure out the reason behind the story. Some parts went on forever while other parts were mentioned for barely a paragraph. It was confusing.

Thankfully this is a stand-alone as I would not read the next book if this were a series. I will still always read everything Ann Aguirre writes, but I just cannot recommend this one to other readers.

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