Review: Heartstone by Elle Katharine White10:00
Author: Elle Katharine White
Published January 17th 2017 by Harper Voyager
A debut historical fantasy that recasts Jane Austen’s beloved Pride & 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.
Elle Katharine White infuses elements of Austen’s beloved novel with her own brand of magic, crafting a modern epic fantasy that conjures a familiar yet wondrously unique new world.
When I first heard about this book, I was immediately drawn to it because of the dragons, and because it seemed like a fantasy debut that was worth a read. Once early reviews came out, and I realised it was a Pride & Prejudice retelling too, I immediately preordered it, because anything linked to P&P is right for me.
In Heartstone, Aliza Bentaine lives in a Manor with her parents and sisters, and in the recent months, the manor has been attacked by gryphons, and the Lord has no other option but to hire the Riders to come and destroy the beasts. These Riders, are gentlemen and women, who have a Dragon partner, and are part of the upper echelons of society. Aliza's eldest sister, Anjey, becomes attracted to one of the Riders, who appears to like her back, and all of the Manor seem to wish for a union to take place. Aliza, however, is one of the only ones, who isn't falling over herself to impress the Riders, and one in particular, Alistair Daired, has particularly got her back up. When the Riders get rid of the gryphons, with the help of Aliza, they leave, and Merybourne Manor is left to deal with the fall out. However, that isn't the end to it all, as the gryphons were just the beginning.
I adored this book. Like I thought, it was perfect for me, and everything about it, was just what I wanted. Both the retelling elements, and the fantasy elements, were extremely well written, and if I didn't know better, I would have said this book was by a seasoned author, and not a debut. The descriptions were so rich and vibrant, and the characters well written and fleshed out.
Aliza and Alastair, of course, were my favourites, though all of the characters had qualities I enjoyed. Even Charis, the Caroline Bingley character, who I hate in about every single P&P retelling I've ever read, was such a good character, and had one of the best story lines, apart from the main story. Even the dragons, especially Akarra, Daired's dragon, were so well written, and played such an integral role in the story. The romance between Aliza and Alastair, was exactly what I'd want, and I never tire of reading about these two falling in love, in whatever manner it may be. Obviously, it was slow, and took some getting past the hatred to the mutual respect and love, but each moment of that made the book better, and the danger of the story line, with the dragons and whatnot, helped readers become more invested in their romance than ever.
I'd definitely recommend this book to any lovers of Pride & Prejudice or fantasy, and can't wait to see more from the author in future. I kind of hope for a sequel from the book, but it was so well written, and everything wrapped up, that it's just because I adored the story so much, and would never tire of more.