Dec 11, 2011

Book Review: Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey

Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey
(Drake Chronicles, #1)
Release Date: December 22, 2009
Publisher: Bloomsbury/Walker Books; 256 pages

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.

I actually got HEARTS AT STAKE at a special screening of Eclipse in NYC and I’ll be honest, I totally forgot I had gotten it. It wasn’t until I saw a friend talking about it that I looked into it again. I even went out and bought a copy of HEARTS AT STAKE until I realized it looked familiar and went searching and what do you know, there it was! I can kick myself in the bum for not reading this when I got it. What was I thinking? Oh, right – I know. Vampires just were meh for me and I really wasn’t interested in reading about them. But Alyxandra Harvey, you changed my mind on vampires.

You have vampires that are humans changed into vampires and then you people like the Drake family who are born vampires. Sort of. The father is a vampire and the mother is a human; in this world vampires can reproduce. You have human children. Sort of. At the age of 16 the human child than goes through the transition period which can be deadly. If they survive, they become a vampire. I love this idea, I really really do. I never once questioned “Wait? How can a vampire reproduce if it’s dead?” because somehow it made sense. (Unlike some other vampire’s series whom I will not mention)

This is my dream family, seriously. I would love to just write myself in there (as one of the love interests for one of the many Drake brothers, of course) and become part of this family. This book focuses on the youngest and only female child, Solange as she turns 16 and comes into her transition. But it also follows her human best friend, Lucy and one of her older brothers, Nicholas. We also meet the Kieran who hunts vampires for living but is taken back by Solange and the rest of the Drake family.

It was the perfect mix of action, drama and romance. This book is what started it for me with Alyxandra Harvey and her writing. Now I’ll read anything she publishes. She’s made a fan out of me and it started with this book, this series. If you like vampires and are looking for something besides Twilight, you want to start here. It’s a perfect vampire series and a perfect book for any YA paranormal reader!

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