A review by write_of_passages
The Heart's Blood Arrow by Kai Butler


This book immediately started as a breath of fresh air. After the last book’s cliffhanger, I immediately worried this would devolve into a very overused romantic plot line, but such was not the case. Parker and Nick’s characters and their strength shown through so beautifully in this book that I truly spent the whole book feeling such joy at how they were working together in work and romance. Glorious.

Would I go back in time and still read this book, knowing what I know now?

See below for the four criteria I use to decide whether and when to read a book

CHARACTERS: As mentioned, Parker and Nick really shine in this book. I could see the way Parker has grown into his role as Windrose bleeding into how he’s able to handle the human world challenges that occurred as well. And don’t get me started on Nick. This book had multiple moments where their responses could have devolved into something trope-y and cliche and they didn’t. I think I reread those glorious moments multiple times they were so incredible. Their relationship also deepened further throughout this book in a way that was just so wonderful to read. It’s a joy to read these characters, their strengths and vulnerabilities, and common sense and healthy love such a contrast to many books I’ve read in the past.

PLOT: This book moves away from the Fae realm, which I didn’t mind. The plot pacing was perfectly balanced as well. Ultimately, I think it was just so refreshing to see so many moments where the plot could have followed so many tropes of the genre, but it didn’t. And each moment was a glorious slap to the face and breath of fresh air as I read them. I also felt there was a wonderful balance between plot-driven and character-driven in this story, more so than others. This plot did not rely as heavily on the whodunit aspect of the mystery, but rather, really seeing the main characters come into their own, as singular people but also as a found family/team.

EMOTIONAL INTENSITY: There is no good/bad here. Sometimes I just want a low-investment entertainment read whereas other times a high-stakes 'I need a therapist to recover' is what I need.

3 out of 5. Mid. Right in the middle. Not too much and not too little. So much of the intensity came from the joy of reading a plot that kept offering such new and refreshing takes while also offering exactly the moments where my reader heart needed the small fulfillment. And each of those moments was delivered.

CATHARTIC FULFILLMENT: Is the emotional journey worth it? Do I finish this book feeling that I've crested the wave of the climactic moment and everything has been settled, leaving me settled and fulfilled?

99%. We’re dealing with some hefty antagonists in this one and so that final 1% is, as usual, the slightly-unbelievable outcome of no lasting effects of needing to recuperate/recover. But overall, I was immensely pleased with this one.