Book Review: THE HEART COLLECTOR AND OTHER STORIES by Melinda Salisbury

Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - companion stories

Synopsis:

the heart collector.jpg

When rats invade golden Tallith, the king summons a rat catcher from across the seas. But the rat catcher brings with him more than just his trade; a beautiful daughter who will bow to no man. And when Prince Aurek decides he wants her, he triggers a chain of events that will reshape the world for centuries to come…

A boy wakes up in the ruins of a castle, the prone body of a white-haired man on a bier beside him… He is the Bringer, the Heart Collector, cursed to return every one hundred years to seek out the heart that will wake his father forever. And this time the girl he finds might just be the one…

Once upon a time, in a land of gold and glory, a baby boy was born to a beautiful woman, and a wealthy man. His parents called him Mulgreen Grey, and he was destined to live a fairy-tale life; adored, envied, and wanting for nothing. But not every fairy tale has a happy ever after… 

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Review:

These three companion stories are set in the world of THE SIN EATER’S DAUGHTER and have been collected together in an ebook. The three stories are THE KING OF RATS, THE HEART COLLECTOR and MULLY NO-HANDS.

THE KING OF RATS elaborates on Aurek’s backstory – the arrival of the rats and then the rat catcher and his family. There’s nothing new in the story, the basics familiar from THE SIN EATER’S DAUGHTER, but it’s interesting to see the story a little more hashed out and more detail given to Aurelia.

No one comes out well in this story, except maybe Aurelia and the rat catcher’s daughter, who are treated more like inconsequential pawn. The king and rat catcher are greedy, and Aurek cares only for seducing women. I found it interesting that only Aurek and Aurelia had names, everyone else was known by their title – the king, the rat catcher’s daughter etc.

THE HEART COLLECTOR follows the Bringer as he wakes every hundred years to search out a girl for the Sleeping Prince to eat.

There was a very naive feel to the Bringer. He’s little more than a child, led by a tugging feeling and a sense of just knowing what he needs. He also possesses a curiosity about the way the world changes as he sleeps. I loved the little detail that every awakening is in a body similar to the last girl he lured away – made it even eerier.

The stories of the girls are sad, because you know they’re going to be eaten. Dimia’s abduction confused me a little, wondering why she’d agree to go when she knows the stories (she even admits that). Why did she say she’d come willingly rather than bespelled? Also, she and the Bringer share a kiss, which just felt wrong. He’s taking her to her death, and they don’t know anything about each other.

MULLY NO-HANDS is entirely new. It’s referenced once in THE SLEEPING PRINCE, I think, about a greedy little boy who’s punished for it by an impulsive witch with a temper. I really liked that the boy’s flaws are allowed to grow due to his parents’ poor parenting – they indulge him and never try to correct his behaviour. In that respects, it’s also a cautionary tale for parents too.


Read my reviews of other books by Melinda Salisbury

The Sin Eater’s Daughter (this series):

State of Sorrow:

Standalones:

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