Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey
Pub. Date: December 22nd, 2009
Series: The Drake Chronicles #1
Age Level: 14+
Synopsis via GoodReads
On Solange’s sixteenth birthday, she is going to wake up dead. As if that’s not bad enough, she also has to outwit her seven overprotective older brothers, avoid the politics involved with being the only daughter born to an ancient vampire dynasty, and elude Kieran Black—agent of an anti-vampire league who is searching for his father’s killer and is intent on staking Solange and her entire family.
Luckily she has her own secret weapon—her human best friend Lucy—who is willing to defend Solange’s right to a normal life, whether she’s being smothered by her well-intentioned brothers or abducted by a power-hungry queen. Two unlikely alliances are formed in a race to save Solange’s eternal life—Lucy and Solange’s brother Nicholas, and Solange and Kieran Black—in a dual romance that is guaranteed to jump start any romance-lover’s heart.
Hearts at Stake is an action-packed, sharp-witted, suspenseful, and romantic page-turner of a story; a truly delightful and captivating read.
I really enjoyed both Lucy and Solange's characters but I have to say that Lucy was definitely my favorite. Despite her sometimes impulsive and reckless nature, she was a very fiery, loyal, and kick-ass kinda gal. Sure she had her faults but she also recognized and owned up to them; I really appreciated that quality about her. Solange was just a bit more of a subtle and level-headed character compared to Lucy but that still didn't stop her from expressing her opinion on what everyone was expecting of her. Both characters had very distinct personalities and they complimented each other well. Now when it comes to Nicholas and Kieran, the two romantic interests, I'm not really sure who I prefer. Nicholas was more of a protective, sweet, and sometimes snarky good guy while Kieran was the surprising, dangerous, bad guy gone good. I really liked them both but I'm not sure who I'd pick. The actual romance had it's great moments but it had it's awkward ones as well. In a way I guess this made it a bit more authentic but I also feel it could have been much better developed, especially had the book been longer.
Hearts at Stake had this enticing, darkly gothic, and royal ambiance about it from the secret underground tunnels, to the interior architecture, to even some of the clothing; not to mention the ancient vampire prophecy and family dynasties. The political intrigue of the vampire world was well crafted though I thought some of the fight scenes were somewhat lacking; things always seemed to be a bit to quick and easy for the Drakes when they fought other vampires. I thought the technique of ending most all the chapters with cliffhangers was both clever and unwise. On the one hand, it kept me turning the pages, excited to find out what would happen next. On the other hand, it occasionally left things feeling a bit disjointed. However, I think in the end I saw it as more of a benefit than disadvantage. The writing was over all well done though and I enjoyed it.
The ending was satisfying and tied most everything up well but I admit I wanted more, especially from Kieran and Solange. Of course, the ending also left me very excited for Blood Fued and I can't wait to see how everything with the Drake family continues.
All in all, Hearts at Stake was a fun, fast-paced read that was well worthwhile, and though it had a few slight flaws, I felt that they somehow did not take away from how much I truly enjoyed this book. I highly recommend this to anyone who is a fan of the paranormal genre. Part of me is already aching to re-read it and that is always a very good sign. Can't wait to get my hands on Blood Feud.
#1 in Series: B
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Friday, August 27, 2010
Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey
Posted by ~The Book Pixie at 8/27/2010 04:30:00 PM