Publication Date/Version: December 2009/Paperback
Publisher: Walker Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Received From: Around The World Tours (Thanks!)
On Solange’s sixteenth birthday, she is going to wake up dead. As if that’s not bad enough, she also has to outwit her seven overprotective older brothers, avoid the politics involved with being the only daughter born to an ancient vampire dynasty, and elude Kieran Black—agent of an anti-vampire league who is searching for his father’s killer and is intent on staking Solange and her entire family.
Luckily she has her own secret weapon—her human best friend Lucy—who is willing to defend Solange’s right to a normal life, whether she’s being smothered by her well-intentioned brothers or abducted by a power-hungry queen. Two unlikely alliances are formed in a race to save Solange’s eternal life—Lucy and Solange’s brother Nicholas, and Solange and Kieran Black—in a dual romance that is guaranteed to jump start any romance-lover’s heart.
Solange's family is one of the few who can breed, not turn, vampires. Because of this, Solange, on her sixteenth birthday, is prophesied to take the throne of vampire queen. It sounds simple, but there's a lot of complicated politics to go along with it, not to mention warring tribes and vampires hunters. Solange's seven brothers are there for her, as is her best friend Lucy. What ensues is a mix of action, deceit, and romance.
Let it be known, if it's not already obvious, that I do not enjoy popular paranormal fiction. Twilight was my limit. I haven't read Vampire Academy or anything similar. I'm really not into the whole craze. I was, however, drawn to this for some odd reason. And am I glad I picked it up! I was pleasantly surprised by this fresh addition to the tired and wrung out genre.
I like alternating perspective a lot. I feel that it adds a whole new element to the story, and I can never get enough of it. Twice the excitement! Hearts At Stake flipped form Solange to Lucy, both of whom I enjoyed, though at times I confused one for the other. While some people may complain about this fact, friends in general like each other because they're similar, not wildly different. Solange's brothers all blended together, but I don't believe the author wanted each to have their own very individual personality. They were more of an entity or force that protected Solange. Nicholas stood out, but for obvious reasons.
I enjoyed the overall storyline. It was fast paced and action packed, touched with a bit of romance. I did, however, find the politics and many vampire groups hard to keep straight. There was a very quick explanation in the beginning. After that the reader was expected to remember all of the details. I would have preferred a bit more show, and a little less tell. It wasn't so bad that I couldn't keep up, though.
The romance element was nicely done in this book. It wasn't overly sappy, and it was based on true feelings, not just lust. Lucy liked Nicholas, who had been a protection and guidance figure to her over the years, so it only made sense. Solange feel for a certain vampire hunter who, oddly enough, saved her multiple times. All of the romance made sense and was natural.
Overall: Fresh. Natural romance (read: not based on lust!) Good addition to the genre. A tad confusing, but not overly so.
My Advice: Buy a copy. I can hardly stand this vampire craze, but I even want a copy for myself!
Cover: I like it well enough, but it doesn't astound me or anything. It definitely has mass market appeal. To me, it looks over exposed. The colors are too harsh. It's stark and much too contrasting, but I like the general feel and idea.
*This was read as a part of the 100+ Reading Challenge