10 March 2011

Book Review: Hearts At Stake by Alyxandra Harvey

Release Date: December 22, 2009
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
My Edition: UK paperback, 256 pages
Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars
Recommended? No.

The Blakes are rather different to your usual neighbours. They are vampires and some of the members of the family date back to the twelfth century. One of the children, Solange, is the only born female vampire known and, as such, she poses a direct threat to the vampire queen. Her best friend Lucy is human, and when Solange is kidnapped Lucy and Solange's brother, Nicholas, set out to save her. Lucy soon discovers that she would like to be more than just friends with Nicholas. But how does one go about dating a vampire? Meanwhile, Solange finds an unlikely ally in Kieran, a vampire slayer on the hunt for his father's killer. - Goodreads Page

When I first heard about this book, I was excited. A book about a vampire being kidnapped, and a vampire and human teaming up to go save her? Oh yes, this sounded great. I feel that the story had huge potential, and the plot was a good one, but the execution fell very flat for me.
I think that there was far too much going on in this book, and the author seemed to rush through it. If the book had been a couple of hundred pages longer, maybe it would have been a better read. But with the way this was written, I had just gotten into the flow of a chapter and then it would jump to the next one, leaving me struggling to keep up.

Another point that I'd like to make is that the mythology of this book is greatly overlooked. There are a couple of pages at the beginning in which the mythology of vampires, and the current state of the Drake family is explained and then that's it. For the whole book. The reader seems to be expected to understand the history, politics and the current state of affairs, after just reading these few pages. It was like cramming in a whole history book before a big test. It just didn't work.

The perspective rotated between Lucy and Solange's point of view. This seems to be a common attribute in YA literature now, doesn't it? Usually it is done well, but I don't feel that this is the case with Hearts At Stake. This is because I struggled to tell the difference between the two characters. Their 'voices' were pretty much the same, and their personalities were too alike. As the story progressed, it was like it was the same person talking. I think that the book could have just been written from Lucy's point of view and it would have been a better story.

The characters in this story were far too bland for my liking. They didn't have much that could draw me in and keep my interest, and I feel that this is another point in which the book massively failed.

The romance between Nicholas and Lucy was an interesting read, and I was really rooting for the pair of them. Nicholas was rather swoon-worthy!

Overall, while this book definitely had potential, it fell very flat and I wasn't able to enjoy it.

1 comment:

  1. What a shame. It sounded like a great plot with potential.


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