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Heartstone by Elle Katharine White
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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
I was disappointed by the ending, but only because the middle was so good.

There are a lot of clever modern updates used--for example, the Bennet mother isn't just a hysterical matchmaker. She's determined to marry her daughters off because it's the fastest and most effective way to get them to move somewhere safer. I also really liked Lydia's modern update, which was along the same vein. ( )
  whatsmacksaid | Sep 21, 2018 |
This was a fun read. It’s Pride and Prejudice with Dragons!
For more reviews see my blog: https://adventuresofabibliophile.blogspot.com
( )
  Serinde24 | Aug 17, 2018 |
Aliza Bentaine lives at Merybourne Manor with her parents and sisters Anjey, Mari, and Leyda. Her other sister Rina was killed in a gryphon attack, so now the Riders and their warrior beasts have come to clean out the gryphon nest. Aliza's first encounter with a Rider is with their leader, Lord Alastair Daired in the middle of a hobgoblin fight where he's getting pelted with mud by Tobble who lives in the garden with his relatives and friends. Daired stepped on Tobble's toes, and they return fire with mud and Gnomic curses. As a result, Aliza and Daired take an instant dislike to each other though Anjey and another rider, Brysney, hit it off right away. Still, Aliza keeps running into Daired and his dragon Akarra; he still riles her though she's pretty friendly with Akarra. All differences are set aside when the Greater Lindworm awakens from its centuries-long sleep and begins to ravage the countryside.
As a fantasy, this book is very good. The worldbuilding is wonderful with all sorts of beasts including dragons, centaurs, wyverns, lamias, direwolves, and banshees, different classes (Aliza is a lowly nakla while Daired is a lord), different languages, and some religion. The battle scenes are crisply drawn, the herblore fits in well, and the characters fit their roles well. There's whimsy; one passage: "The roads to Dragonsmoor were hard and rocky, and four days bouncing around a cramped carriage had given us all an unlooked-for empathy with churned butter."
However, this is more than a fantasy novel; it is also Jane Austen fan fiction. I love Austen and I've read quite a bit of Austen fan-fiction as well as the original novels. Some are successful, but most falls flat (I'm looking at that vampire book especially). I really worried that this one would be a mess, but I loved it. If you haven't read Pride and Prejudice, you'll enjoy this anyway, but knowing the story is based on that book just enhances this book. The author was very smart to stick to some basic outlines and characters. Daired (Darcy) is still arrogant, snobbish, handsome, and with a heart of gold. Aliza (Lizzie) is a bit more undefined; the book is told in her first person POV and reflects her confusion over her feelings for Daired, first her dislike, then her realization that she was wrong and her burgeoning admiration for him that grows to love.
What the author did that I really like was to change some of the characters to reflect the genre. While Austen used caricature for Mrs. Bennett, Mr. Collins, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and others to display some of the social strictures of her time, Ms. White has softened most of them and made them much more likable which is what you want in a fantasy. They may still have faults - Wydrick (Wickham) is particularly unlikeable but in a way that fits the fantasy aspect. I really liked Lady Catriona who was very pleasant and let her dragon take on the characteristics of the original Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Charis (Caroline Bingley) also receives much better treatment in this version.
There's some romance (it is based on Pride and Prejudice after all) though only about as much as one would expect in a fantasy book. But it's not too mushy for fantasy readers, but enough for the Janeites: "He leaned close, his forehead almost touching mine. "I wrote it once, and I mean it still. Whatever happens in the next few days, I want you to know that I wish you every happiness the gods can bestow. If I don't-"
"No." I brushed four fingers against his temple. "May Odei give you strength, Janna give you courage, Mikla keep you safe, and Threll take your enemies. You're coming back."
The author has a sequel coming at the end of the year, and I can't wait. Meanwhile, Heartstone is a book that's going on my reread list. It's that good. ( )
  N.W.Moors | Mar 3, 2018 |
What more can one person ask for? There’s dragons, adventure, and sword play.

This a beautiful blending of world building, things that might make a slight bump in the night and smidgen (might be a bit more) of pride and prejudice. The written word in this story flows from one to the the next.

Just remember anyone can improve themselves if they want to. ( )
  DaffiMere | Dec 5, 2017 |
This was an excellent fantasy with lots of romance. When Merybourne manor is invaded by gryphons, the local lord gathers together enough money to hire a group of Riders to clear them out. While Aliza Bentaine is grateful to the riders, one of them, Alistair Daired, just rubs her the wrong way. She first meets him when he kicks her hobgoblin friend Tobble and calls him vermin. Daired is rude, arrogant and haughty. A romance does bloom between one of the other Riders and Aliza's sister Anjey though which delights Aliza and Anjey's social climbing mother who wants nothing more than to marry her daughters off to Riders.

After the gryphons have been defeated, most of the Riders leave and when the king calls, the rest leave too. Anjey and her Rider promise to write to each other every day but no letters arrive. Aliza is angry and sad for her sister. Time passes and Aliza travels to visit her best friend who has married and is living near a Daired family home. There she meets Alistair again whom she blames for sabotaging her sister's relationship by intercepting the letters. He denies it and confesses his love for her in a somewhat tactless manner. She rebuffs him but can't seem to get him out of her thoughts.

When a terrible lindworm surfaces endangering Aliza's home and all the Riders, she learns what her true feelings are for Alistair Daired. I loved the slow building romance. I loved all the various creatures especially Tobble and Alistair's dragon partner Akarra. I liked the world building. I liked Aliza's adventure to save her love.

I haven't read PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and can't compare this story to the original. However, I do recommend this one to anyone who likes fantasy and romance. ( )
  kmartin802 | Nov 15, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062451944, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 20 Sep 2016 15:06:40 -0400)

"A debut novel that retells Pride and Prejudice in a world where creatures are dragons, hobgoblins, lamias, and gryphons are commonplace, HEARTSTONE takes Austen's classic tale and turns it into something new, engaging, and imaginative"--

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