Fantastical Adventures in White Hart

White Hart by Sarah Dalton

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4/5 STARS

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Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Author: Sarah Dalton
Published: February 2014
Publisher: Sarah Dalton
Pages: 394 {e-book}

Original review on Goodreads

**To view spoilers, click on the provided link where you’ll be redirected to my review on Goodreads where the spoiler is hidden at the same point in the review.**


Initial Thoughts on Finishing

This was actually so good! I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this book – it’s a wicked tale of adventure with intriguing characters and an outcome that you WON’T see coming. I loved Mae so much, she’s such a great character and I seriously cannot wait to pick up book two and continue the story!!


White Hart by Sarah Dalton

So this book surprised me with how awesome it was, let’s start with that. There is exactly one reason why I decided to pick this one up (and when I say pick it up, I mean download it off iBooks because it was the free book of the week – don’t you love that?) was because of that cover. Have you seen it? Are you looking at it? Are you drooling? I’m in love with this cover – the green coloured one, not the greyscale one. It’s so vibrant and beautiful and a really good match for the story that is inside. I loved the characters in this book, especially Mae because I’ve been obsessed with that name with that exact spelling since forever, and I thoroughly enjoyed all the tricky little challenges that they came across. People, we need to be talking about this book more.

“We are not always shaped by our parents, Cas. We’re shaped by our choices.”


What Happens

White Hart is a fantasy YA novel about a young girl called Mae who’s a bit of an oddball in her village. It’s set in a medieval world where she and her father are very poor and collect wood from a supposedly haunted woods (or at least, potentially dangerous woods) to trade at market. Because they go into these woods the rest of the town treats them like a smelly sock. Which is a shame because Mae is obviously very cool and (brace yourself) she has a white stag. Or a white hart (it’s a thing, I Googled it – it’s a old term for the creature). Obviously he looks magnificent and obviously I now need my own horse-sized white stag to gallop around on. His name is Anta, naw.

Sadly, Mae’s mother died when she was young (in fact it might’ve been in childbirth, but I forget. Don’t quote me on that) so she’s been raised by her dad alone. She’s also harbouring a bit of a secret because she’s craftborn – in other words, she has MAGIC. Except she doesn’t tell anyone that because in this land the prince is to marry the craftborn (there is only one each generation) for the land needs the magic of the craftborn to thrive and thus sustain the population. But Mae doesn’t want to marry a prince so only her dad knows.

“When you live on the edge of a cursed forest, you do a lot of staring into the dark.”

So what’s the plot of this story? Another girl in the village is pretending to have these powers and so get’s promised to the prince BUT a band of brigands charge in to steal her (Ellen) and in the process also murder Mae’s father. *much gasping*. So the prince (who is in town and chatting to Mae because Mae is rude interesting and therefore already building a friendship with her) and Mae discover this treachery and set off on a quest to seek vengeance! Marvellous, yes? Indeed.


Why I Loved This

I went into this book 100% blind and didn’t really know what to expect from it. I was mostly hoping that there would be lots of cool things and some magic because those were the vibes I was getting from the cover. But the plot is so wicked and the characters are super funny and I just loved Mae to pieces. This is exactly the type of book that I go weak at the knees for – they travel through the forest/woods following this group who kidnapped Ellen and as it turns out the forest is magical and plays tricks on them. Think of The Hunger Games in the final book (no spoilers, relax) with the different segments of the arena – yeah? Got it? No? Oh. Well basically different parts of the forest have different creatures, do different things, and pose different threats. And our beautifully idiotic characters must confront all of these if they are to save Ellen and avenge Mae’s father’s death.

And also Casimir (the prince) is adorkable.


Mae

So why is Mae so awesome? She’s a stubborn, feisty, loveable, badass, kindhearted heroine who ain’t gunna let anyone tell her what to do. Her situation is certainly trying as she tries to keep her magical abilities a secret from the prince and keep them alive whilst struggling with inner self doubts about herself. Having grown up her whole life in a village where everyone treats who poorly has got to have a serious knock on your confidence. But Casimir, ever the valiant knight (well, not really, but shh) treats her kindly and like and equal and I love how he took all her insults in his stride. I also can’t even express how anguishing that almost romance is between them – YOU BOTH CLEARLY NEED TO HAVE A SNOG AND WORK THINGS OUT. Sheesh.

The other thing I really liked about Mae’s character is the way that even though she’s the poor girl in this book the confrontation of wealth and nobility doesn’t render her speechless or overly spiteful. She remains true to herself and adapts to her surroundings. Perhaps this is a small and insignificant point, but I appreciated it.


Quests

The best thing in a fantasy book has got to be a plain and simple wicked quest. I love how stimulating this book is for the imagination – an artist would have a heyday drawing all the beautiful images in this book. I love the way you can practically feels Dalton’s imagination seeping through the pages because, *chortles*, it’s just plain awesome and seasoned with just the right amount of the fantastical.

It made for such compelling reading the way each step of the journey threw something new in the faces of our characters, strengthening them and testing their limits. We slowly learn things about their characters and get to yell angrily at them when they make foolish decisions. I’m also quite the fan of Sasha (not that I’m telling you who she is).

“Welhewan is charming us,’ Sasha says in an unsure voice. ‘It is trying to soothe us with its lullaby. Do not let yourself . . . Oh, a butterfly. Look how beautiful it is! No, don’t look. The forest is making us happy, and we cannot let it.”


A Quick Dip into Spoilers

CLICK TO SEE SPOILER


Summary

I am so so so excited to continue this series and find out what happens next. We’re left on such a humongous cliff hanger it’s practically inducing a fear of heights in me. I loved this book so much more than I thought I would and everything happens just how you need it to. I highly recommend this book for people who enjoy fantasy and adventure and some superb learning experiences.

// GOODREADS // BUY //

View all my reviews


 You might also like . . .

If you enjoy adventurous heroines who are a new level of stubborn, The Wrath and the Dawn is for you.

If you like characters who are out of place but doing quite well, Red Queen is for you.

If you like books in a medieval setting with a tyrannical/crazy king, Defiance is for you.


 Have you read White Hart?

What did you think? Let me know below!


End Note

~~ Kirstie ~~

2 thoughts on “Fantastical Adventures in White Hart

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