13 February, 2017

{ARC Review} Heartstone by Elle Katharine White

Heartstone by Elle Katharine White
Standalone Novel
Published January 17, 2017 by Harper Voyager
e-ARC provided by Edelweiss
A debut historical fantasy that recasts Jane Austen’s beloved Pride & Prejudice in an imaginative world of wyverns, dragons, and the warriors who fight alongside them against the monsters that threaten the kingdom: gryphons, direwolves, lamias, banshees, and lindworms.

They say a Rider in possession of a good blade must be in want of a monster to slay—and Merybourne Manor has plenty of monsters.


Passionate, headstrong Aliza Bentaine knows this all too well; she’s already lost one sister to the invading gryphons. So when Lord Merybourne hires a band of Riders to hunt down the horde, Aliza is relieved her home will soon be safe again.

Her relief is short-lived. With the arrival of the haughty and handsome dragonrider, Alastair Daired, Aliza expects a battle; what she doesn’t expect is a romantic clash of wills, pitting words and wit against the pride of an ancient house. Nor does she anticipate the mystery that follows them from Merybourne Manor, its roots running deep as the foundations of the kingdom itself, where something old and dreadful slumbers . . . something far more sinister than gryphons.

It’s a war Aliza is ill-prepared to wage, on a battlefield she’s never known before: one spanning kingdoms, class lines, and the curious nature of her own heart.

Elle Katharine White infuses elements of Austen’s beloved novel with her own brand of magic, crafting a modern epic fantasy that conjures a familiar yet wondrously unique new world.

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My Review

♫ ♫ ♫  

My love for this book is endless. Eeeeeeeeeendlesssssss, I tell you. 

It was actually just last year where I fell in love with Pride &Prejudice, and I admit, while I did like the book, it was the 2005 movie (the one with Keira Knightley!) that totally won me over. Ever since my AP lit teacher showed my class a snippet of the movie, I put that on the moment I got home. I was a goner for the story then.

Since then I've been trying to find a good P&P retelling to relive the story. Frankly, finding this story felt like a gift I didn't deserve. When edelweiss accepted me, I could hardly contain my surprise.

Heartstone includes the wonderful elements that make P&P such an amazing love story--but it goes beyond that, as any good retelling. Told in a fantasy land with dragons and other wonderful creatures, there's a bigger play at end than just Aliza and Alistair falling in love with each other. White manages to incorporate the cuteness that it those two with the danger in their world and it makes for a wonderful fantasy debut!

As much as I loved Pride & Prejudice, there were, of course, some characters that annoyed the living hell out of me, and others I plain didn't like. I knew what to expect from them, but I was so wrong. The way White wrote her secondary characters, those who would directly affect Aliza, she gave them such a beautiful and heartbreaking story! The direction she took with Leyda and with Charis, the equivalents of Lydia and Caroline Bingley. When I finished this, I couldn't help but think that White wrote a fantasy P&P (with DRAGONS!) and better characters (as in, where none of them annoyed me).

I LOVED Aliza! She was smart and brave and caring and at heart, just such a wonderful character! It's so clear she loves her family and would do so much for them. In the book, Aliza is shown to have guilt over a certain tragedy and it made my heart ache every time. I absolutely adored her and her narration was wonderful.

Alistair!!! Oh my gooooooooosh, White perfectly captured him with Darcy's attitude and personality!! It's all I can do to not straight up gush about him and them about him and Aliza. By no means is this a romance book, but there are undertones of it involving them AND I LOVED EVERYTHING ABOUT IT. Watching Alistair struggle and even do embarrassing things around Aliza made my poor romantic heart stop beating several times. In any case, Alistair was a loyal and dedicated character throughout the book and I loved him (if you somehow didn't already get that).

THE DRAGON!!!! There are more dragons but the main one was Akarra, Alistair's dragon. (Long story short: there are several riders in Aliza's town to kill off the gryphon infestation and they each have a beast they work with.) Akarra was such an important character and I ADORED HER so much! She was always kind to Aliza and loyal to Alistair--it was clear that both the dragon and the rider would do anything for each other. In time, it was like that with Aliza and Akarra as well. 

As a fantasy setting, I loved how White painted her scenes. It was vivid and beautiful and it definitely shows her skill with writing. I also loved the way she incorporated the other fantasy creatures throughout the book! There were quite a few of them and they played a part in the bigger picture of the book! I thought that was super unique--this was a retelling, but every good retelling has more to it, and White definitely did that with Heartstone.

I'm going to just stop it here. I loved this book, every single thing about it. The romance, the characters, the dragons... everything was just perfect. I definitely recommend this book if you love fantasy and/or Pride & Prejudice!

That being said, ALL THE STAAAAAAAARS!!

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