Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 253
Listen to Your Heart
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
What worked:
Lucas has special abilities that may make him a pawn between good and evil, but he also possesses admirable character traits. He’s respectful of his elders and isn’t afraid to work hard for what he wants. He can become angry and stubborn, but he learns humility and is willing to admit when he’s wrong. His father was a respected blacksmith, but the vagueness of his parents’ heritage makes his future unpredictable. He’s targeted and singled out which creates conflict with others and endangers his life. There’s an underlying mystery about his true identity and a couple of unknown factions are secretly monitoring his life.
With the deaths of his parents, Lucas searches for guidance and parental figures. He first finds a monk who is almost certain there are people in the world who will be searching for Lucas and his skills. Lucas has a vision of becoming a warrior for the king and only wants to pursue activities that he perceives will help him toward that end. He balks at some of the tasks required of him, but he eventually appreciates the discipline and wisdom he’s gaining. He later meets characters that treat him like a friend and family member, although he must discover how to detect honesty and good intentions from others. Nevertheless, there are enough empathetic characters to keep Lucas from being killed or dying from other causes.
Lucas’s quest to become a warrior creates its own conflict. His upbringing as a virtuous character seems an ideal fit to become a defender of the king and his realm. However, the king doesn’t possess those same virtues, and his leadership style is a large contrast to his predecessors. Farmers and townspeople are overtaxed, and their concerns and complaints are ignored. The king’s word is law, and citizens discover his dissenters languish in prison or are never seen again. Elite warriors are identified by their bloodlines, while the Chosen are identified or nominated at the age of ten and then brought to the castle to pass the Test. Both groups present formidable warriors, and it’s unclear where Lucas might fit in, or if he even belongs with the king’s army at all.
What didn’t work as well:
A plot about an orphan destined for greatness isn’t unique, so that affects perceptions of the book’s creativity. However, there’s a reason so many books follow the format, so is it right to question when authors use it? This book features a praiseworthy, likable young boy who is conflicted by his experiences with the world. The story chronicles his challenges and struggles, but the main attraction is the uncertainty of his past and his destiny.
The Final Verdict:
Listen to your heart. The book seems to offer another story of a child prodigy, but it goes far beyond that. The author's debut novel is able to describe Lucas’s emotional journey which will allow readers to experience his joy and despair. I’m looking forward to the sequel, and I highly recommend you give it a shot.
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