Heart and Soul Fist by Chris Ing - SPFBO 2020 Book Review

Heart and Soul Fist by Chris Ing - SPFBO 2020 Book Review

Write on: Thu, 01 Oct 2020 by  in SPFBO 2020 Read 3744

Jane Choi belongs to a secret clan of spirit warriors, and she’s eager to start taking on more responsibilities. So she’s thrilled when her father says he has a special assignment for her-- until she finds out that her clan has set her up on a date with Andrew, the young soon-to-be Guardian of the Two Worlds. If their relationship works out it will help bring balance between the Mortal and Spirit Worlds and bring honor to her clan. There’s only two problems-- she’s never dated before (and doesn’t know if she wants to) and there are plenty of humans and spirits alike who would love to get their hands on Andrew’s power.

I don’t read a great deal of young adult fantasy, and when I do it’s primarily of the darker variety. So I was actually rather surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It kept my attention from start to finish, and had a number of elements that I quite liked. I don’t know if this makes sense to anybody else, but I would call this a young, young adult book. Meaning, unlike some other recent YA I’ve read, I would recommend it to young teens and even middle-schoolers, in addition to older folks. One of the biggest reasons for this is that the main characters actually felt and acted like teenagers.

Contrary to the common trope of absent parents, Heart and Soul Fist places a lot of emphasis on family and other platonic relationships, despite a good deal of the plot being focused around dating. Jane’s family is Korean-American, so we get to see some glimpses of Korean culture through her interaction with her family and their traditions. And in all of the relationships--romantic and platonic alike--there was a refreshing focus on being open and honest about their feelings. (I hate when characters have harmful misunderstandings for no reason, and was very glad this novel mostly avoided that.)

Another part of this book I enjoyed is the magic system. Though it wasn’t too complex, it did feel unique to me and made for some entertaining fight scenes. Speaking of which, this novel was an easy, action-packed read. But despite the fast pace, the author was able to fit in an interesting mystery as to who the big bad truly was. All of these elements came together well to make a great story.

I'd highly recommend Heart and Soul Fist to anyone looking for a fun, action-packed young adult fantasy.


Natasha's passion for reading was kindled by her parents and the local library that allowed her family to checkout 50 books at a time. She first fell in love with fantasy through Arthurian retellings whereas her love for science fiction began with Star Wars novels. Nowadays, she still spends her free time reading but also gaming, running a blog (natrosette), and obsessing over TV shows. Maybe if she spent as much time reading as she does looking for books to read, she'd actually make a dent in her TBR.