Title: Realm (Heroes of the Horde #3)
Author: Jennifer Hartz
WARNING: This book is third in a series, so this review might contain spoilers of the first two books. Read at your own risk.
With one of the Heroes Of The Horde kidnapped by the demons, the remaining five members attempt to rescue her. But the most likely location of their kidnapped friend is inside the demon realm. The only Heroes member to breach the demon realm is the very one who had been taken. How can they enter the realm to save her?
Relationships crumble and morale is weak. The Heroes have reached a breaking point. Surprises lurk not only in the demon realm, but in the very midst of the Heroes as their powers grow. Throwing even more tension into the mix is a newcomer to the group who may hold the key to eradicating the Horde once and for all.
After the last book, Siege, ended on a cliffhanger, I jumped at the opportunity to read Realm. I had planned to read it in quick succession with the previous book, but then college happened and that didn’t. But when I finally found some spare time over a break, I devoured the story in an afternoon.
Once again, the biggest problem I had with this book was the sheer amount of main characters. Jennifer Hartz did a much better job balancing the Heroes members than I think she did in the last book, but I still sometimes had a hard time keeping track of who was doing what (and occasionally even who was talking). Adding in another Heroes member didn’t help. That’s not to say I didn’t like the new guy, because I did. But it didn’t help me keep track of characters.
This plot seemed twofold to me. First, there was the whole Caitlyn-is-missing, demon-fighting plot. There’s a lot to learn about demons and the demon realm, too – for about the first third of the story, there’s Caitlyn’s first-person narration from inside it, then the Heroes find a portal and are in and out quite a bit. (The finding-the-portal part kind of annoyed me, because I put together the pieces almost before they knew there was a puzzle.)
And the demons are getting smart. There’s a lot of demon-fighting and battles and stuff, and a hint of somebody who may be a main antagonist in future books. Plus, the first death of a Heroes-ignorant civilian, who also happened to be a love interest – even though I didn’t know the person really well, I had to put the book down and stare at the wall for a minute.
The second part of the plot was all the tangled romantic things. They were messy in Unleashed, even messier in Siege, and by the time we get to Realm, they resemble the Gordian Knot. One couple I’ve been shipping since Unleashed falls apart, there were two Heroes member and ignorant-of-Heroes person relationships, and the Heroes gets a new member who throws a wrench in the romantic works because now there’s NOT an even number of perfect couples among them. Romance isn’t usually my thing, but this romance – I’m going to say co-plot, since it’s bigger than a subplot – is somehow keeping me interested and rooting for various couples.
So I thought this was going to be a trilogy and this was the last book … I was wrong. There is more. Or, at least, there had better be more, because it ended on a cliffhanger/twist that completely threw me for a loop. Plus there’s so freaking many loose ends, and I feel like Pastor Alex is going to get really important in the future.
So, long story short, book four had better happen soon. Because I am looking forward to continuing this series.
I received a free review copy of Realm from the author. Her generosity in no way influenced, or sought to influence, this review.
The Heroes of the Horde series:
For a run-down of my grading system, check out this page.