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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Book Review: Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey


Publication Date: December 22, 2009 (Walker Books)
Format: Paperback, 256 Pages
Reading Level: Young Adult

Solange Drake's sixteen birthday is finally here, but in her family, htthis day triggers the transformation from human to vampire. Her seven older brothers each made it throught the potentially deadly passage, but since she's the first female-born vampire in almost 800 yeaars, and since her birth was foretold in a prophecy that predicts she will united all the vampire clans as their queen, this birthday isn't looking quite so sweet. Solange could be killed by the transformation itself, or by one of the existing queen's followers who are after the bounty on her head.

Luckily her protective older brothers and her very kick-butt best friend, Lucy, have her well being at heart. And it will take all of them- plus the help of their nemesis, Kiernan Black- to make sure Solange survives. By the stroke of midnight, her fate will be sealed, one way or another.

With a spine tingling, adventurous plot and feisty characters, Hearts at Stake is a welcome addition to a genre so many of us just can’t seem to get enough of. I had high expectations before reading this novel and I’m happy to say they were not disappointed. Hearts at Stake is of the best vampire novels I have read in a very long time and I devoured it within a single evening.

Hearts at Stake alternates between best friends Lucy, a human teenager and Solange, the first female vampire born in almost a century. Solange knows her mere existence is the cause of a raging power struggle within the vampire community, but yet she is humble and wants nothing more than to be a normal teen. Lucy, her best friend, is the type of person we'd all want to have on our side – she’s tough, fearless and so protective of the people she loves. I found it interesting that being human didn’t in any way make Lucy unwelcome as a part of the all vampire Drake household too. Lucy’s stormy relationship with the stubborn, but oh-so-delicious Nicholas was incredibly tantalizing and also my favorite aspect of the novel. I found myself looking forward to when their characters would next reappear and flirtatiously cross paths again. Their banter back and forth was hysterical, and so many moments had me literally laughing out loud.

For a young girl trying to make sense of her situation and an ancient prophecy, Solange handled herself believably well. As her vampire "Sweet Sixteen" of sorts rapidly approached, Solange not only had a bounty on her head but a vampire hunter pervading her life to worry about. Throw in some political unrest and scores of pheromone addicted suitors, and you've got yourself a recipe for danger and excitement!

But Solange also had her family- a large, well developed and endearing cast of characters. I loved how close knit and protective everyone was toward her. Their fierce dedication to protect her no matter what the cost made them all even more endearing too. From Hyacinth, the aunt still caught up in the Victorian era with her corsets and curtsying, to Solange’s fierce, pseudo ninja of a vampire mother, I found myself intrigued by all of them and never bored for a single moment. The seven brothers all had distinctive personalities, but Nicholas was by far my favorite and the charming Logan as a close second. The history behind the vampires and the different clans was both fascinating and also terrifying to me too. Knowing that some were significantly way WORSE than others, added to the tension of the plot and kept my pulse pounding!

Hearts at Stake had everything I wanted in a vampire novel- charismatic, head strong characters, heart pounding romance and spine-tingling danger at every turn! Blood Feud, centering on older vampire brother Logan is the next addition in The Drake Chronicles. I will definitely be anxious to see what we are in store for next with this thrilling, kick-butt series!

Purchase Hearts at Stake HERE.

ALYXANDRA HARVEY studied creative writing and literature at York University and has had her poetry published in several magazines. When not writing, she is a belly dancer and jewelrymaker. She lives in Ontario, with her husband, hawk, and two dogs.


ninefly said...

it's impressive that many people have said this book has met and surpassed their expectations
I really look forward to the family aspects, and of course Lucy =)
thanks for the review!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Great review! I love the author's hair! Too cute :)

Becky said...

I have to read this. It sounds both fun and gripping. Great review.

Fantastic Book Review said...

Great Review Kim! I ditto everything you said! Bring on Blood Feud!!! I think Logan's story will be delicious! LOL!

Emma said...

Oh my god she lives in my province! *flails* Great review!

Faye said...

I really liked this book*Nick was really cute* I can't wait 2 read blood feud!

Shelli said...

This sounds great thanks!