Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Review: A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith

by Lindsay Smith
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release Date:October 25th, 2016
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
A time-travel story that alternates between modern day and 19th century Japan as one girl confronts the darkness lurking in her soul.

No one knows what to do with Reiko. She is full of hatred. All she can think about is how to best hurt herself and the people closest to her. After a failed suicide attempt, Reiko’s parents send her from their Seattle home to spend the summer with family in Japan to learn to control her emotions. But while visiting Kuramagi, a historic village preserved to reflect the nineteenth-century Edo period, Reiko finds herself slipping back in time into the life of Miyu, a young woman even more bent on revenge than Reiko herself. Reiko loves being Miyu, until she discovers the secret of Kuramagi village, and must face down Miyu’s demons as well as her own

A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith is a title I wouldn't have discovered if it hadn't been for Raincoast Books. After first reading it's synopsis, I was hooked! I find the YA genre often lacks titles that take place in other parts of the world, featuring unique and diverse characters, so A Darkly Beating Heart's Reiko immediately stuck out for me and I was eager to take a dive into Lindsay Smith's world.

A Darkly Beating Heart's protagonist, Reiko, is flawed. She's angry and often lashes out at those closest to her, and looks for any means necessary to not only hurt herself but those who reach out to her. After a failed suicide attempt, Reiko is moved to a historic Edo-period style village to live with her family in hopes of finding a means to change her perspective on life. There, she begins to find herself slipping through time into the early nineteenth century, into the being of Miyu, a woman who is pent on revenge, but will this cause Reiko to finally face her inner demons, or will it finally push her over the edge?

A Darkly Beating Heart, at first, failed to keep my interest. It was exceptionally disheartening, considering I was especially excited to dive into the title. It took me several tries, and quite a few chapters, to finally set into the grove of not only Reiko's narrative voice, but also her descriptive surroundings. It wasn't until about halfway through A Darkly Beating Heart, that I finally found a period of connection, a period where I couldn't wait to discover what Miyu, or rather Reiko had planned. Furthermore, although I enjoyed Lindsay Smith's writing, and the delicious addition of time travel to the tale, I, unfortunately, felt that something was strongly lacking toward the end of the novel. I strongly felt that the title wrapped up far too quickly in the end, and in that case might have potentially left out quite a bit of potential character development for Reiko.

Despite my issues with A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith, I still found the title to be quite enjoyable. Readers who are interested in reading a unique take on time travel are highly recommended the title.

3.5 / 5 Cupcakes

This title was provided to the blogger by the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review. No payment was received/accept in exchange for this review/post. The blogger requests that this review not be reposted or edited with the blogger's permission. The thoughts and words expressed in this review/post are explicitly the blogger's.


  1. Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts about the book. I've read similar reviews on Goodreads about ADBH. Disappointing but I might give it a try in the future. Thank you!

  2. Excellent review!