Heartstone by Elle Katherine White
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Release date: January 17th, 2017
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Length: 352 pages
Rating: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE WITH DRAGONS
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.
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. WITH. DRAGONS.
Let's just...let's just marinate in that. Let it seep into our pores and we shall bask in its awesomeness and know that even if the book doesn't end up being that good, it can't be bad, because it is PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. WITH. DRAGONS.
Like. How am i supposed to resist that? I'm not. I can't. It's in my DNA.
Already you know from reading the concept (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE! WITH DRAGONS!) whether this is a YOU book or not. Truthfully, you don't need to know or like Pride and Prejudice to like this (but also...why don't you like Pride and Prejudice?) If you like fun, shippy, swoony high fantasy with inventive, if not terrribly deep worldbuilding, first person POV with humor, and a wuick plot, than this is the business for you, my friend. I accidentally read this in one day, and I was so happy at the end of it that I hugged it to my (dragon-loving, Pride and Prejudice-revering) heart.
This is by no means a perfect book (and it could, in fact, use much more DRAGONS) but BOY HOWDY did I love reading it! Ships and humor and dragon riders and beasties and shippity ship and yes, slightly rushed execution and kinda dropped plots but YOU KNOW WHAT if this means a surprise sequel I am heeeere for it (Seriously. Surprise sequel? Please? A retelling of a different classic literature tale? I ust love a retelling of a classic literature tale, particularly the ones with repressed sexual tension and brooding love interests WEARING CRAVATS)
Now, there are no cravats in this high fantasy retelling of P&P (unfortunately, the dragon rider warriors have long hair and braids and I had to trot out my trusty inner editor to SCRUB THAT VSUAL FROM MY BRAIN)
Anyway, this book is about Aliza Bentaine and her family, who live in a world besieged by BEASTIES (FYI, this is NOT historical fantasy, and this is NOT England. Yes, I am pedantic enough to be annoyed by the above synopsis). Aliza has just lost her sister to gryphons (poor high fantasy Kitty, we hardly knew ye) and so now the famed DRAGON RIDERS
I had so much fun with this book. I shipped it so hard, and honestly, I liked it best when it veered away from P&P and did its own super inventive things, which is odd for me because I could probably recite a good quarter of P&P from memory. There were parts of this world that were really cool! I loved learning about the land and the lore and the MONSTERS. MORE MONSTERS.
Of course, I also loved the direct spin on the plot and characters of Pride and Prejudice. P&P is a perfect book, and the only thing it's really missing are dragons. (And honestly, this book needed EVEN MORE DRAGONS. Most things do.) The book has some debut growing pains--I have particular quibbles with the ending--but it's a thoroughly enjoyable, addictive read. Aliza's voice is really funny, and so is the dialogue. It's sharp and lively and Jane-approved. I stayed up til 2 am reading this, and I regretted it not a whit.
(Though Jane would not approve of the shirtless boy.)
(BUT I DO.)
What were we even talking about