Elle Katharine White
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 batt≤ 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.


Reviewed: 2018-08-17

This was a pretty quick and fun read. At first I was taken in by the threat of the gryphons and the mysterious Riders, all of whom do not ride dragons. But the more that I stayed with the story, the more the characters jumped out at me. While I don't think that we got to know each of the characters fully, I liked being around them.  The mother determined to have one of her daughter's wedded, the daughter willing to play nicely until she unexpectedly falls in love, the other daughter in the shadows of the family wanting to go out and face her own adventure.  There were the riders themselves, the brooding clearly unhappy lord, the enthusiastic love smitten best friend and the grieving sister who moves as a warrior in the shadows until her defining act in battle.  I am doing my very best to not just rave and gush about this book, but it's hard. I really enjoyed it. It was a fun adventure story with a romance that didn't take the focus off of the main story. 

This story is not perfect.  I would have liked to have seen more action, rather than be told about it. (But it kind of works since we are seeing the story through Aliza's eyes and that is how she would have experienced the action.) I would have liked to know a bit more about the riders, there is a revelation that comes as a surprise simply because we didn't know what to look for, and neither did Aliza. It wasn't a major thing, and it was presented in an  "oh there is that" kind of way.  The final battle wasn't as epic as I was expecting it to be. While there are questions that I still had at the end, it all came rushing together with the illusion that all was said and done. But, there is a second book, so really it's just a pause and rest in the story. It's not a cliffhanger, the characters think that it's over and they are prepared for their happily ever afters. 

Despite the flaws, it was enjoyable and I would definitely recommend it. I am looking forward to the next book.

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@starrk completed #heartstone... on 2018-05-29
@starrk began #heartstone... on 2018-05-26