Thursday, June 7, 2018

Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf #YALit #Fantasy #Romance

Series: Bring Me Their Hearts (#1)
Format: Hardcover, 400 pages
Release Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Source: Publisher Surprise
Genre: Young Adult Fiction / Fantasy
Ages 14 And Up

A lush, unique new fantasy trilogy about a girl tasked with stealing the prince’s heart…literally, from the New York Times bestselling author of the Lovely Vicious series.

Zera is a Heartless – the immortal, unageing soldier of a witch. Bound to the witch Nightsinger ever since she saved her from the bandits who murdered her family, Zera longs for freedom from the woods they hide in. With her heart in a jar under Nightsinger’s control, she serves the witch unquestioningly.

Until Nightsinger asks Zera for a Prince’s heart in exchange for her own, with one addendum; if she’s discovered infiltrating the court, Nightsinger will destroy her heart rather than see her tortured by the witch-hating nobles.

Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the royal court as much as it loves him – every tutor too afraid to correct him and every girl jockeying for a place at his darkly handsome side. No one can challenge him – until the arrival of Lady Zera. She’s inelegant, smart-mouthed, carefree, and out for his blood. The Prince’s honor has him quickly aiming for her throat.

So begins a game of cat and mouse between a girl with nothing to lose and a boy who has it all.

Winner takes the loser’s heart.


Bring Me Their Hearts, by Sara Wolf, is the first installment in either the Bring Me Their Hearts (Goodreads) or Ruthless Song (author's web page) trilogy. 19-year old (stuck on in a 16-year old immortal body) Elizera aka Zera is a Heartless or a witch's servant. 3 years ago, Zera learned a hard lesson about how unfair the world really is when it killed her parents, and left her for dead. A witch named Nightslinger gave her a second chance at life and immortality. In return, Zera's heart was put in a jar, and has been stuck there ever since. A Heartless has an insatiable hunger for raw meat. 

In Zera's case, the monster inside makes her remember the day that she lost control and killed. She can't seem to put that day to rest. Zera longs for anything that isn't a tree or deer droppings. She longs to have Nightslinger return her heart to her, as well as the 2 other Heartless under her control. Then, Zera is given a mission; a mission that could mean the return of her heart and a return to being a human once more. All she has to do is travel to the city of Vetris, infiltrate the court of the kingdom of Cavanos as a potential bride to Crown Prince Lucien d'Malvane and steal his heart. Literally. Easy Peasy! 

30 years ago, there was a war, The Sunless War, that was fought between witches, their immortal Heatless, and humans who had better weapons. The Witches lost. Now, it appears there's a new war brewing between the worshippers of the Old God (witches) and the New God (humans). Witches believe that if they can get their hands on Lucien, they can sue for peace from King Sref and avoid another unnecessary conflict. Zera learns the ins and outs of being a noble from a fallen nobel, Lady Y'shenneria, who stood with the witches and lost everything. 

Between trying to stay inconspicuous and seduce the prince in order to achieve her purposes, Zera discovers a connection with the humanity she thought was lost, and comes to care about people that should only be means to an end. But the dangerous game she plays can only have one outcome: either Lucien loses his heart, or she does. The more time Zera spends in Cavanos, the more she grows closer to people like Fione, the niece of Archduke Gavik who abhors witches and especially the heartless, as well as her target, Lucien, who is more than he seems.

Even though one could consider Zera to be a villain, she really does have another side to her that she fights daily to stay in control. If she gives in, the monster with claws and sharp teeth and murder in her hands, and a gnawing, relentless hunger to feast on blood, will get out and nobody will be safe. Zera's narration is filled with snark, attitude, sarcasm, wit, and a dark humor which I actually enjoyed as being refreshing. She has a tendency to say inappropriate things but it ends up being lured to the mystery behind Lucien and who he really is. 

As we discover, he isn't in a mood for another war and would do anything to stop it from happening. He too has a side that is pretty impressive seeing as most nobles would turn up their noses at those less fortunate than themselves. He, like Zera, also experienced a painful loss that has driven him to search for answers. I loved his connection to Malachite, the Beneather who protects Lucien. Their relationship is more brother in arms than master and servant. I loved Lady Y'shenneria as well

She has the patience of a Saint when it comes to dealing with Zera and her snarky attitude. Even when things seemed as though Zera is about to do something stupid, she treats Zera as a part of her family, and that's impressive considering that she lost her entire family in the Sunless War by standing alongside the Witches. Reginall is another character that I liked. He understands what being a Heartless means, and how the hunger is never really satisfied. There are even hints at how Zera can help herself.

There's no flash romance between the Zera and Lucien. It gradually grows between tension filled conversation, witty comebacks, and a desire to save the people of Cavanos from evil within their own ranks. I think it's fair to say that the rumor about this author and her heart shattering endings is absolutely true. Even though there are hints along the way, the author still surprised me. I definitely am eager to read the sequel. Especially since I want her to enlighten me at what really happened, and why after all this time, this scene had to happen now.  

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