Heartstone by Elle Katharine White (Review)

by Elle Katharine White
YA Fantasy, Retellings
Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 352 Pages
January 17th 2017 by Harper Voyager


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

HEARTSTONE is a fabulous mix of fantasy and Austen's Pride and Prejudice with plenty of twists. There are lots of nods to P&P, but the author made this story her very own with dragons and monsters, danger and magic. Those who aren't familiar with the classic, will enjoy this fantasy story and those who love the classic will find a fresh new take. A story that will delight fantasy readers and dragon lovers.

I thought the story and plot were quite creative in this P&P retelling set in this fantasy world. You'll find the main themes of the classic, such as the dramatic family, the new men who temp the daughters, and the solders who come to the town. You'll also find some traditions of what is proper, but this is one retelling the veers off on its own with the setting being quite different. It was quite intriguing. I love dragons and I loved how they're portrayed here. I would have even loved a few drawings. There is an ongoing mystery and some interesting actions that Aliza takes. I loved that I recognized parts of the story and then other parts not at all. There was also a rather huge battle that was quite intense and I wasn't quite sure how everything would play out.

There were a few things here and there that were minor that could have been developed more or made more sense. As I said, they were minor and mostly I could suspend belief where I needed to.

I found that I really liked Aliza. She is an Elizabeth, but also her own character because her situation is a little different. Alastair took longer to grown on me than I thought he would. I think it's because we don't delve into his character until later in the book and there also is quite a bit going on. I enjoyed the back and forth between Aliza and Alastair, as well as the other family and friend dynamics. The romance is tension filled in parts, sweet in some, and intense in others, but didn't take over the story completely. I loved it!

In the end, was it what I wished for? I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I began this one, but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. It was a thrilling and fun ride and I'm hoping there will be more from this author.

Content: Some violence and innuendo, but clean.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through NetGalley, which did not require a review nor affect it in any way.

Do you like books with based on classic set in a fantasy world, like this one? It seems to work for me, for the most part. My favorites have been Diana Peterfreund's books, For Darkness Shows the Stars and Across a Star-Swept Sea. If you haven't read those, do! :)

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