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Review: Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey

Hearts At Stake (Drake Chronicles, Book 1) 
Author: Alyxandra Harvey (@ LJ/Website
Release Date:  12/22/09

Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers

Age Group: Young Adult (14+)

Source: Local Public Library

Go Buy It! Amazon/Barnes&Noble/BookDepository

Overall Feelings: 

"Solange Drake always knew she was destined to become a vampire queen. And as the only female vampire ever born, not made, she is surrounded by danger on all sides--from vampire suitors who want to join with her lineage to bounty hunters who are set on destroying her and her family. When she is kidnapped, it's up to her older brother Nicholas and her human best friend, Lucy, to save her. But can Lucy save herself from Nicholas, who tempts her with his every look? And what will be Solange's own fate if she surrenders her heart to the vampire hunter helping her survive the deadly intrigue at the royal court?

Let the Drake family be your guide into a secret vampire society full of epic battles, gothic seduction, undead drama, and wicked humor."

Plot & Ending: Translation to the above: Solange is a walking human/vampire target, pulling toward her vampires and humans alike from all sides. She hardly gets a moment of peace. Being that she's the first born female vampire, she is special...and wanted dead by anybody who deems her a threat. Talk about danger, huh?

I liked it. This book, I mean. Not enough to make me want to eagerly pursue the series, but there was a pretty good plot behind the whole story. Throughout the entire book, it's assumed that Solange is after the throne, where vampire society's unofficial queen sits. Then, there's the vampire hunters working to kidnap her, as well as kill her family. One particular suitor is after Solange's hand, and it would seem that he refuses to take 'no' for an answer. Not to mention he's a pretty powerful dude, like way up in the vampire hierarchy. 

I really liked learning about the Drake family, all their quirks, and how they are as vampires. The clan is made up of ten immediate family members, and it's funny to watch how overprotective they are of Solange. Each of Solange's brothers are absolutely gorgeous, fairly funny, and somewhat tempramental.

I'm gonna be honest. I really went out of my way to read this book because of Nicholas and Lucy. Lucy is Solange's long-time best friend and Nicholas is one of Solange's brothers. I loved watching them go at each other's throats, while fighting the attraction humming between them. There are some pretty steamy scenes between the two of them, let me tell you. They're my favorite aspect of the book.

I was actually a little (okay, maybe a lot) confused by the ending. I don't get why the person chosen to become the next vampire queen wasn't who I expected. I mean, where could you possibly take the novel with that twist? And I don't get why Kieran, Solange's love interest and vampire hunter, kept away from her for so long, then, out of the blue, he shows up again. On top of that, I got the feeling of being rushed. I very much dislike that. While I don't like a slow ending either, I like it to be thorough so that I can really enjoy the moment. I didn't get that this time. So, that disappointed me.

Other than that, I thought it was a nice, decent read. Not blow-your-brains out awesome, but still good. I recommend reading this one, and who knows you may just turn out to like it better than I did. 

Characters: Like I said, I loved Lucy and Nicholas's characters. Lucy is extremely sassy and witty throughout the novel. Nicholas has a sort of wicked humor and immense sarcasm. The two of them together...you'll be hooked. Solange, the girl the story revolves around, didn't really stand out to me. She didn't intrigue me at all. There was nothing unique about her personality, though I did love reading about her and Kieran and their growing relationship (but, I think that's just the romantic in me). All the of the characters are really well-developed, but nothing about them is exactly memorable or deep.

"'Were you scared during your bloodchange?' [Nicholas] stilled.'Yes...' 'What got you through?' I whispered. 'Do you remember?' He nodded but wouldn't look at me. When he didn't elaborate, I turned to face him. 'What? Is it a secret? Don't I know all the deep dark Drake secrets by now?' He shifted uncomfortably. 'I guess.' 'What then?' 'You.' I swallowed, stunned. 'Me?' 'Yeah.' He stood up and went to the door, where he paused for the barest second. 'You got me through.'" --Lucy and Nicholas (104-105)

"Nicholas rolled toward me, landing at my elbow. His eyes were fierce. He grabbed my chin and kissed me hard. It was over before I had time to react. 'Stay down,' he ordered. 'Duh,' I shot back, and returned the kiss, just as quick and just as hard before he dove away to gather stakes from a sleeping guard. He rose from a crouch and threw them like deadly confetti." --Lucy and Nicholas (236-237)

"I was trying to drag myself over the bier, but Kieran was already slicing a shallow cut across his forearm. He held it to Solange's mouth, urging her to drink, whispering. 'Drink,' he begged her. 'I can't lose you now, not after all this. Drink, damn it.' For some reason, the way he spoke to her, gently and desperately, had tears burning on my cheeks." --Lucy (244-245)

Cover: The cover features Solange, I believe. It's okay. Not my cup of tea. It doesn't scream "Read me!" when I look at it. Though I do like the font of the title, the way it sort of looks like dripping blood. That's pretty neat. And does anybody like the way Harvey spells her first name: Alyxandra? I do. 


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