Review: Heartstone, Elle Katherine White

June 27, 2017 Reviews 0 ★★★★

Review: Heartstone, Elle Katherine WhiteHeartstone by Elle Katharine White
Published by Harper Voyager on January 17th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 352
Source: Library
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four-stars

A debut historical fantasy that recasts Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and 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.

Pride and Prejudice, with Dragons, you say? Where do I sign?

I wanted to love this book so much. I mean, I’ve read quite a few P&P retellings now, and even watched one, but none of them really hold a candle to the original story, do they? But this… this has everything I love in a story – enemies-to-lovers, a manor-house-type setting, and dragons!

I did enjoy the story, but it took a while to get into it. Heartstone does exactly what it sounds like it does – takes a beloved story and drops it into a high fantasy setting. All the characters are there, with slightly altered names, and all the events, from the dances, the dinners and the visits to far-flung estates, the ill-fated proposals and outraged denials, the pride and yes, the prejudices.

Mr Bingley Brysney is a wyvern rider and Mr Darcy Daired rides a dragon. They arrive at Merybourne Manor to assist with a gryphon infestation. At first, Aliza Bentaine is horrified at Daired’s rudeness, but heartened by the way her sister, Anjey, gets along with Brysney.

So far, so P&P, right? How does the fantasy element come into it? Well, there are a host of fantastic creatures, from the smallest hobgoblins, upwards to lamias, gryphons and giant worms. Much of the early part of the book is world-building and relationship-establishing, so it does tend to drag a little, but as the story goes on it gets better and better, and there’s a truly epic finale that brings all the fantasy elements together.

Even though the modern fantasy writing style makes it feel like fan fiction at times, ultimately Heartstone is an engaging and inventive read, and should appeal directly to fans of fantasy and of Jane Austen.

Anni lives in Brisbane, Australia with her young family. She loves everything fantasy and science fiction and believes sleep is really very underrated.

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