Weak Heart Review

Book cover for Weak Heart by Ban Gilmartin.


Book cover for Weak Heart by Ban Gilmartin.

Simon Scannell, Staff Writer, Page Designer, Associate Editor

Prepare yourself to get wrapped up in the story of Thomas, a magician who can’t seem to get anything right, Isla, a selkie trying to find her best friend, and the Isle of Mab, one mystery wrapped into another.

Weak Heart, written by Ban Gilmartin, an Aberdeen native (For those unfamiliar with European geography, Aberdeen is a port city in northeast Scotland) and is described as a queer fantasy horror writer.

“I’m from Aberdeen, Scotland and I love my country and our rich mythical history and I wanted to bring that into a story in a fun, new way. I think people get a very stereotyped view of Scotland and it’s people and our history, and I wanted to create media that broke that mold and show a Scotland that’s more than Loch Ness monsters and Braveheart,” Gilmartin said.

This book is one mystery wrapped into another, and right as you think you know what’s going to happen something comes out of the blue but manages to make much more sense than what you were thinking before.

“I think there are some very spooky elements but it’s got magic and myth. It’s also funny at parts, I think, and I tried to take some tropes — love at first sight, friends to lovers, etc — and turn them on their head,” Gilmartin said.

This book is incomparable to any other and leaves you feeling haunted. It paints beautiful scenes and the characters are incredibly lovable, yet all have their flaws. Isla is the most lovable of all of them and her character playlist reflects. She’s brash and perfect and makes you think of warmth and briney sea water.

Weak Heart is available on Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble for $4.99 as an ebook, and for free chapter by chapter at weak-heart.com.

“This book beyond lived up to expectations; it pried into my soul within the first chapter, and I don’t think it’s leaving anytime soon. It paired melancholy and grief with banter and life to create a haunting beauty. Every bit had me grinning like a maniac or on the edge of sobbing—or sometimes both at once, which was confoundingly glorious,” Megan on Goodreads said.

On the website there are pages for FAQs, chapters that have been posted already, and pictures of a select few characters. If you scroll down the page you can find out how to say certain words shown in Weak Heart. One example of this is a baobhan sith, pronounced baa’van-see. Next to each of the featured characters’ art is a playlist for them.

“I knew each character had a specific Frightened Rabbit song that really fit their arc, so I started there. Then I tried to build up using genres and vibes that fit each character. I really just pulled from my own music library and any time I heard a song I’d be like ‘this is so Thomas!’ or ‘That’s a Tanis song!’” Gilmartin said. These playlists are available on Spotify.

If you enjoy getting wrapped up in a story and not being able to leave even after finishing the story, this book is for you. Normal life will seem boring after finishing, like an old routine you’ve almost forgotten.

“Literally feels like I’ve been waiting my whole life for a book like this,” Goodreads user Megan Heyguh said.