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Reviewed by Dhisha Kukalakuntla - Teen Reviewer for Readers' Favorite
Heartmender by V. Romas Burton is about young Adelaide Tye, an outcast in her community at the Barracks. After losing her brother, Lyle, during Heart Reign to a mysterious vendor, Addie never left her house. Silas, a steady, expressionless boy, has been caring for Addie ever since Lyle disappeared. After seven years without her brother, it’s time for Addie’s Heart Reign, where she’ll trade her gray and dying heart for something she desires. But, when her heart gets Extracted, Addie finds out that her heart is the complete opposite of what it’s supposed to be: a big, bright red heart—a pure heart. This book follows Addie as she journeys through a land she previously thought was nothing more than folklore, makes an unlikely friend, and battles in her desire to find and save her brother.
Heartmender was much more than your average girl-saves-the-world fantasy story. There were lots of underlying messages within the story that made the book worth the read. For example, in the world that V. Romas Burton created, hearts can die and can be used as currency to buy something one desires. However, a recurring theme is how trading one’s heart away made them emotionless—a shadow of oneself. Even though they got the wealth, beauty, or jewels they desired, they lost the one thing that made them human. Another valuable concept I enjoyed reading about was the different human desires that Addie had to overcome while in Ophidian’s world. Overall, it was a great read, and I hope to read the next book in the series.