Tuesday, January 10, 2017

#Tuesday Review - Heartstone by Elle Katharine White #Epic #Fantasy #Retelling @HarperVoyagerUS

Series: Standalone
Format: Hardcover, 352 pages
Release Date: January 17, 2017
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Source: Edelweiss
Genre: Epic, Fantasy, Retelling

A debut historical fantasy that recasts Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and 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.

Elle Katharine White's Heartstone is a story that reimages Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. This is a world where there are two types of beings exist; Tekari, sworn enemies of humans, and Shani, friends of humans. There is something dangerous coming, and nobody quite knows what it wants. Instead of using zombies to tell her story as in Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, White uses a variety of beings from gryphon's, gnomes, wyverns, hobgoblins, & dragons. 

23-year old Aliza Bentaine, her three sisters (Moira, Angelina (Anjey), Leyda) and her parents, Moira & Robert, live in Merybourne Manor on the small island of Arle. As the second oldest daughter, and one who doesn't take her own beauty as something to strut around and preen about, Aliza has been trained as a herbmaster and healer under her Uncle Gregory. She is also a fairly talented artist who loves to indulge in woolgathering. Due to ever increasing attacks by gryphons, and the loss of Aliza's youngest sister Katarina, Lord Merybourne hires hunters to come in and rid the island of the gryphons.

The Riders, as they are called, are led by Alastair Daired. Daired belongs to the House Pendragon which has an impressive history of Riders & their Shani. Daired's Shani is a dragon named Akarra. Each of the riders are attached to what are called Shani. Nobody is supposed to ride someone else's Shani. After eliminating Arle of Gryphons, everyone seems to relax. They even start to have parties, and Aliza travels a bit to see her Aunt & Uncle. 

That is until Aliza meets a mysterious hooded man with a warning. That is until something even more dangerous rises up and threatens to devour everything and everyone its path. While Arlean's, Riders, and Rangers battle for their very lives, Aliza must make a life or death choice to save the man she has fallen hard for. There is also romance between Anjey and another rider named Brysney, while the youngest daughters are as different as fire and ice. Leyda wants an adventure, while Moira is the book smart know it all on almost all subject. I actually found myself connecting to Moira's character because she is a social wallflower just like me. She rather read books, than socialize with others.  

Heartstone is told in the first person narrative by Aliza. One could say that Aliza is this story's Elizabeth, while Daired, the dark, handsome, grouchy, & arrogant male protagonist, can be compared to Darcy, but with his own Dragon. While there may be an eventual connection between Aliza and Daired, they are separated by his family, his duty, and his not so intentional cruelty that puts her off. Heartstone takes some unusual roads to the finish line. A finish line that will see the most socially awkward proposal ever.  

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