The prophecy stated that the vampire tribes would be united under the rule of a daughter born to an ancient family. The Drakes are that family, and Solange is that daughter. Solange will change from being mortal to being vampire in a matter of days, on her sixteenth birthday. In the meantime, she's fighting off the "suitors" who are attracted by her lineage and pheromones, and the vampire hunters who are after her family. As if her situation isn't difficult enough, she also has to deal with all seven of her gorgeous vampire brothers and her impossible best friend, Lucy.
Solange and Lucy have been best friends for their entire lives. Lucy is also the closest human to the Drakes and is basically a member of their family, which tends to make for some rather interesting exchanges. When Solange is kidnapped, it's up to Nicholas, her older brother, and Lucy to find her and save her before time runs out. But can Lucy save herself when every glance or touch from Nicholas makes her go weak at the knees? And despite her almost impossible situation, what will happen if Solange decides to give her heart to the beautiful, but dangerous, vampire hunter who's helping her survive? A lot of drama and amusement for the reader, that's what!
Our story is told in alternating voices and I'm going to start by saying that despite the fact that the story is mainly about Solange and her family, Lucy has got to be my favorite! She's spunky and full of bite and I love it. She's so funny and vibrant that she balances Solange very well. I found Solange to be quite amusing herself, but she's a lot more subtle than Lucy and while being very sweet, I was drawn more by Lucy and her love interest than I was Solange's predicament.
There's something to be said for a book that is totally well-written and engaging that it has me running into things as I walk through the house because I don't want to put it down. I loved the characters, Lucy and Nicholas are totally my favorites, and they're hilarious, especially when they argue and bicker and try to hide their totally hot attraction to one another. Solange and Nicholas' mother, Helena, and brother, Logan, are totally in second place as to favorites. There are a lot of characters in HEARTS AT STAKE, but they all stand out in their own ways and I really like being able to remember characters after the fact and still know why I like them.
I really loved all the vampire lore, and Alyxandra Harvey not only found a new take on vampires, but also was able to separate her vampires and her story from all the TWILIGHT hype that is obviously here to stay for awhile (and don't get me wrong, I love TWILIGHT and all, but come on). But I do need to point out that within the first few chapters I saw the words "twilight" and "the Host" used and while not references or anything, it still made me giggle...a lot. The lore that Harvey brought into the story was so interesting and there's all kinds of little vampire subcategories so to speak, like the Host, the Hounds, and then the scary blue skinned ones (and no, they are not at all Smurf-ish or from Pandora) called the Hel-Blar.
I found HEARTS AT STAKE to be very enjoyable and fun and I absolutely loved it! I flew through it in just a few hours and ate up every page. The bruise on my shin can sorely attest to that, since I ran into the coffee table while reading because I didn't want to stop. The writing is fantastic, the characters are simply awesome, and I can't wait to read the next book - I've marked my calendar and am totally excited.
Reviewed by: Samantha Clanton, aka "Harlequin Twilight"