Title:Tournament of Hearts (The Librarian Gladiator-Book One)
Author: Dustin Bilyk
Publisher: Perfect Wave Design House 
Published Date: January 1st ,2015
Rating: 4 Stars
Synopsis: Hamelin, a town separated from the rest of the world, has a deadly problem. Fierce, flying beasts ravage the countryside and cull the sparse human population, forcing the majority of Hamelin’s citizens to live within the safety of her boundaries for fear of being snatched away and torn into pieces. With no help in sight, the Town Council look to their gods for salvation and unearth a chilling answer to their problems. 

The Tournament of Hearts – a much-celebrated, barbaric event that pits four gladiators against each other in deadly combat. Winning The Tournament brings rich rewards, fame and glory for one’s bloodline. Losing, however, results in a deadly trip to the Sacrificial Altar for you and all of those who share your blood: man, woman and child. The sacrifice is said to be a blood offering to the gods in payment for reprieve – a necessary evil for the greater good of all. 

Neven Fairchild, adolescent town historian and librarian, is chosen by random draw to fight for the survival of his bloodline. Utterly inept at doing much other than reading and writing his histories, Neven must find the courage deep within himself to defeat his stronger opponents, for he discovers that much more than the lives of those he loves hangs in the balance. An evil lurks, waiting for its moment to deliver the death blow, and Neven is all that stands in its way, whether he likes it or not.


Disclaimer: I received an ebook copy of this book from the author via "For Love of a Book"

Initially, what first drew me into this book was the subtitle "The Library Gladiator" because I have always respected librarians. Well, how off I was on the content of what was about to come while reading this book. With every page, I was scrolling furiously because there was so much intense-action that was fast-paced, some of it flying over my head before I could even register the facts. Couple that with my typical speed-reading, and I definitely got confused on some parts of the chapter. That's probably my only reason why I didn't give it a full stars, because I believe that every book needs some slow and fast parts, and here there was minimal lull in the waves regarding plot, and that bothered me while trying to catch up with the surroundings. 

This book outlines Neven Fairchild struggle of survival and journey to accepting his faith. It really explores what it actually means to "go out of your comfort zone" and "recreate yourself." The writing of some scenes seemed so vivid and real that I couldn't help but place myself in exactly that situation, and so both of the books I was gasped in anticipation, let's be honest. None of the characters had any special connection with me, and for that I was sorely disappointed because that's a main factor that I search for in books, and this one just didn't do it for me.

I do have to say, that some parts of this get very graphic with various types of injuries, which made my stomach turn and cringe a little bit in certain situations. This book isn't for the faint-of heart, because you are going to reading images that may stick in your mind for some time after.

Overall though, this was very hard to stop reading or put down, even though life dictated that I had to. I also really am grateful that the author didn't end a major cliffhanger, or then I would have to wait for a long time because the second book came out. I would definitely recommend it to fantasy adventure looking readers who aren't afraid to look outside the book in that genre.