Author: Elle Katharine White
Genre: fantasy, retelling
Published: expected January 17 2017
Source: publishers via edelweiss
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.
A creative mix of the fantasy genre and a beloved classic, Pride & Prejudice & Dragons & Wyverns -- I mean Heartstone -- by debut author Elle Katharine White is a fun and entertaining book for all kinds of readers. Fans of Jane Austen will see the familiar Regency atmosphere and society culture, the callbacks and plotlines set down by Pride & Prejudice influence. Fantasy readers will find the adventures steady in coming and featuring creatures like talking wyverns and dragons to keep interest high. A nice balance is struck, and while Heartstone is inspired by other stories, it is definitely an original.
The fantasy elements of Heartstone are admittedly more engaging than its Classic inspiration by virtue of talking, bonded dragons and gryphon battles. I did enjoy the P&P influence that extends throughout the entire narrative arc, but it also made some elements of the plot rather predictable. Don't get me wrong -- I shipped the main ship in every form (hate you, intrigued by you, love you) between Aliza and Daired, but we all knew where the romantic subplot was heading from the outset. The fantasy plots, on the other hand, are allowed much more leeway and exploration.
The author adapts and blends the original story into her own engaging, fun creation but feels a tad overlong and a tad too easily predicted. Despite my few issues, and helped by dragons and wyverns and a good ship, Heartstone was a fun read and a solid debut novel.