Saturday 6 April 2024


Heartwood Mage by James Haddock
Narrated by Daniel Wisniewski
Book 1 in the Heart Mage series
Genre: fantasy
Format: ebook & audiobookAudiobook

When they hanged mage Baron Homburg and his family for treason, they missed one of his sons. The fourth son, ten-year-old Dale, witnessed the execution of his family, and something inside him broke. Two things happened that day: one, Dale became a borderline sociopath, and two, his mage abilities manifested at almost full strength, especially his wood or forest magic. That night he used his new wood magic to hang the earl who ordered the killing of his family.

Now he has only one thing on his mind, killing all those involved in killing his family or seeing them brought to justice. But he also wants the inheritance of his father’s title and lands. The only person who can give him that is the king, so he must petition the king for restitution.

Before he can petition the king, he finds out that the king plans to kill him. Because if the kingdom finds out who’s responsible for the murder of the Homburg family, the minor nobles and landowners would revolt against the crown screaming for justice. Those guilty are the king’s greatest supporters, which he would have to hang. The king cannot allow that to happen.

Seeing that the nobility is against him, Dale goes into hiding and changes his name to Eric Heartwood. Eric begins killing his enemies rather than negotiating a peaceful settlement. Eric decides that since nobility doesn’t play by the rules or laws, neither will he.

But Eric has a lot to learn about people and their motives. It seems almost everyone will lie, cheat, steal, and even kill to get ahead in the world. So Eric follows suit, killing those who oppose him, until he meets a kindly merchant and his wife. They show him kindness, which tempers his blood lust, but not by much. Follow mage Eric Heartwood as his powers grow and he is confronted by enemies at every turn. He tries to reconcile what he feels is just and what society says is just. He finds that most times, it’s just easier to kill your enemies.
Source: Info in the "About Heartwood Mage" was taken from GoodReads at on 05/04/2024.

Buy Link(s):
  Audible Books

My Thoughts:
I like the story. I like the premise. And the story telling quality is compelling. I know the story is a bit blasé. But this is a fiction book. I'm an escapist reader. I like my reads to take me away from reality. So they do not have to be totally truthful.

There are little plots and resolutions along the story. It follows our main protagonist as he adventures on to find love and betrayal. Happiness and pain. I think that the author is wrong in calling him a psychopath because he is capable of empathy. He is just neurodivergent.

Louise in A Game Of Ghosts by John Connolly is a sociopath. Bill in Tuesday's Child by Dale Mayer is a psychopath. And I think our hero is none of those.

Daniel Wisniewski has a deep bass of a voice and it suits our hero.

Quantitative Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 4.5
Character development = 4.5
Story itself = 5
Writing Style = 5
Ending = 4.5
World building = 5
Cover art = 4
Pace = (8 hrs and 17 mins listening time)
Plot = 4
Narration = 5

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 cherries

Books In The Heart Mage Series:
Book 1: HEARTWOOD MAGE Book 3: (TBC)

Meet The Author

About James Haddock:
My first career was as a Warrant Officer in the US Army, I am now retired with 22 years of service under my belt. Moving into the next phase of my life, I am a full-time author and RV'er. After seeing everyone else's Country during my first career, we decided to see our own. My wife and I enjoy traveling to see the wonders of America.

I love reading and watching Sci-Fi books, television shows, and movies. To think, "what if" and "why not." I am a pantser writer, I'll get an idea, or see a photo and think, "that would make a great story!". Writing as a pantser, to me, is like reading a new story. I have no idea where the story is going to end up. Writing the way gets me excited to pick up a pen; I look forward to writing each time, and can't wait to write many more.

The Narrator

About Daniel Wisniewski:
Audio book Narrator, Character Voices, Baritone, Bass, Tenor, Heroes, Villains, Dark, Bright, Young, Old, Comedy, Tragedy, Accents, Dialects.

I am a New York based actor who has performed across a variety of platforms both domestically and internationally. I am also a graduate of Ithaca College with a BFA in Musical Theatre, have studied and worked as a dialect coach, have access to a professional grade studio, and am an experienced editor. When not performing, I can usually be found either leading my friends on a DnD campaign or playing in one myself (usually as a dashing Half-Elf bard or brazen Half-Orc fighter).

FTC Disclosure:
The ebook and audiobook were bought with private funds.
No money received for this review.

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