I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.
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 id a romantic clash of wills, pitting words and wit against the pride of an ancient house. Nor does she anticipare 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 Kathatine White infuses elements of Austen’s beloved novel with her own brand of magic, crafting modern epic fantasy that conjures a familiar yet wondrously unique new world.
Full disclosure: Pride & Prejudice is one of my favourite books ever, and I try to read/watch as many retellings as possible, just because I love it so much. That’s possibly one of the reasons why I whizzed through Heartstone, but it’s definitely not the only one! Whether you are a die-hard P&P fan like me, or you’ve never even heard of Jane Austen, Heartstone is very likely to capture you from the very beginning.
This fantasy retelling is set in a world where humans and mythological creatures coexist, some more peacefully than others. There was a great variety of creatures involved, some adorable and some incredibly sinister, and of course there were dragons! I loved how the Riders displayed their bond with their creatures, and I particularly liked Akarra, Daired’s dragon. Despite being a scaly, fire-breathing creature, she displayed a fully dimensional personality and the ability to demonstrate feelings like compassion, friendship and loyalty. In case you couldn’t tell, I LOVED her!!
The rest of the characters were also fairly well developed, although some of the secondary characters could have been explored more in depth and that would have been super. Aliza and Daired were also adorable, and there was actually slightly more chemistry than in the original. I enjoyed seeing how the story developed very independently (and with dragons! Did I mention dragons already?), but at the same time featured all the most iconic scenes from the original. Reading this book felt like going back to a place you loved after a long time: familiar enough to make you feel comfortable, while different enough to surprise you.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book! The middle part was just a tiny bit too slow, and that’s the only reason I’m not giving it a full 5 stars. Definitely recommended to everyone!