Monday, February 25, 2013

REVIEW of HEARTS AT STAKE by Alyxandra Harvey: A Little Too Rare But Still Good

Hearts at Stake (The Drake Chronicles, #1)

Hearts at Stake (Drake Chronicles, #1)
by Alyxandra Harvey

1st is Kindle edition cover, 2nd is Paperback cover
Published May 23, 2010 by Walker Childrens

Find a copy at Barnes & NobleAmazon • and other bookstores

(Technical rating:  3.7 - rounded to 4)

On Solange’s sixteenth birthday, she is going to wake up dead. As if that’s not bad enough, she also has to outwit her seven overprotective older brothers, avoid the politics involved with being the only daughter born to an ancient vampire dynasty, and elude Kieran Black—agent of an anti-vampire league who is searching for his father’s killer and is intent on staking Solange and her entire family.

Luckily she has her own secret weapon—her human best friend Lucy—who is willing to defend Solange’s right to a normal life, whether she’s being smothered by her well-intentioned brothers or abducted by a power-hungry queen. Two unlikely alliances are formed in a race to save Solange’s eternal life—Lucy and Solange’s brother Nicholas, and Solange and Kieran Black—in a dual romance that is guaranteed to jump start any romance-lover’s heart.

Even fans of the genre who’ve seen it all will find a fresh read with kick-butt characters and family dynamics that ring true for all brothers and sisters—vampire or otherwise.
Looking for a cute, quick read on vampires? Then this book should fit the bill. It's humorous and engaging. I just wish it had more substance... and less typos.

You may be loathing yet another vamp book but this one has generations of vampires born then turned AND some are types are made. There are actually three or four types of vampires. JESSICA DANCES ON THE DARK SIDE is similar only with the born-then-turned aspect.

Told from two different POVs (Point Of View) can annoy me, and this was no exception. I wish we had stuck with Lucy's POV or included Nickolas'. THAT would have been very engaging. AS you can probably tell, my favorite characters were Lucy and Nickolas with their smart-mouth banter and interesting chemistry. Lucy is loyal and brash, headstrong and fierce. Having grown up with Solange and all her brothers, Lucy is like their extra little sister... except for Nick. He's grown up... and so have his feelings for her.

There is quite a bit of political intrigue. The current Queen is convinced of the prophecy regarding Sol and is determined to hang on to her throne. Add in a human anti-vampire league out to kill and you have a mess on your hands. That said, the pacing was choppy and the information fillers interrupted the flow. Harvey does a good job keeping the mythology entertaining, however overall the book needed more muscle and depth. The characters need to be more multidimensional and the plot lines were too simplistic. Think of it as expensive fast food... not "drive thru bad" but not "sit down and pig out" awesome either. 

Nick and Lucy's budding romance is much more believable than Sol and Kieran's. With Nick and Lucy, they have known each other their whole lives and grew into it. What you get with Sol and Kiernan is the traditional light speed YA love. You know the type.. Romeo-and-Juliet-West-Side-Story-love-at-first-sight thing. Though not really believable but still amusing to read. 

I think if Harvey stuck to one main character, defined the story more, developed the characters and had a long sit down with the editor, this book series would flourish. 
It's a quick, romantic vampire fix that I would have normally rated a three, but it was endearing enough to round up to four. Enjoy.