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Reviewed by Foluso Falaye for Readers' Favorite
Armed with a map that knows everything, Nerissa Eliott is determined to find her sister and keep her promise to her sick father. However, she is directed to Brevlyra, a cursed land no one remembers how to get to. To make matters worse, she has to travel on a ship with the infamous pirate Cyrus Crow, who might kill her to gain favor from the queen, as his ship is the fastest in Penreine. Also, she must learn to control the strong magic within her, as well as the magical sparks she feels for the pirate, who is supposed to be her enemy. These challenges pale in comparison to the monsters, the queen's wrath, and all the dangers of the sea they must face. Heart of the Sea by Moriah Chavis follows a gifted heroine's spine-chilling, suspense-filled adventure involving pirates, mermaids, and dangerous, magical waters.
With well-timed flashbacks and deep introspective words, Nerissa's struggles with regret, loss, family issues, doubt, and her other worries are communicated clearly to the reader. However, she also discovers the thrilling sensation of magic and infatuation. Moriah Chavis takes her time building the love story between the two rival protagonists as she drops hints about their feelings for each other, such as the statement, "His breath warms my cheek." I couldn't get enough of the sensational love hints mixed expertly with the magical elements of the sea, the mind-blowing action sequences, and the frightening surprises that made me question if the protagonists would survive their journey. Heart of the Sea is the perfect excuse for young adult fantasy fans to escape from the real world for a satisfying dose of sea adventure. Everything else can wait!