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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Review: Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey

Title: Hearts at Stake
Author: Alyxandra Harvey
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: 12/22/09
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.

Plot: 2 Stars
While the story kept me engaged, it seemed a little far-fetched. Every time something went wrong, the Drake's couldn't catch a break. Before they could make any sort of progress, something else went against them. This group defect, that group went rogue, this treaty was broken, that alliance just formed... It seemed like the author tried to throw in as much politics as possible, but it practically made my head spin.

Pace: 3 Stars
There was never a time when the story started to lag, but the alternating points of didn't always work for me. They worked when Solange and Lucy were in different locations or if one was unconscious. But there were times when the jump seemed too abrupt, like there were two separate story lines we were jumping between. I also didn't feel as engaged with each character since we only got about 110 pages with each.

Characters: 2 Stars
I felt like there were too many characters and not enough time to get to know them. Solange had seven older brothers and I only remember the names of four of them. Nicholas was the only one that spoke more than two or three times. I also thought that the relationships that blossomed throughout the book came right out of left field. One second they hate each other, and the next they're making out. There were too many races of vampires. They're all introduced in the beginning, but when a couple races come into play at the end, I had completely forgotten about them.

Cover: 3 Stars
I bought the paperback version (the hardcover was not available at the bookstore). From what I've seen from pictures on the internet, I like colors of the hardcover's cover better. The blues were dull and the model wasn't that pale on the paperback. For those that understand photoshop lingo, it looked like someone set a navy blue layer to exclusion (meaning the blacks turn navy blue and the whites turn light tan).

Overall: 2.5 Stars

Disclosure: I bought this book for my own enjoyment.

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