Crystal ✬ Lost in Storyland's Reviews > Heartstone

Heartstone by Elle Katharine White
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really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy

Quite frankly, it was this gorgeous cover that piqued my interest in this novel. I'm in love with it, and I can't begin to express this love in coherent words. It's beautiful and says so many things about this novel.

I was also interested by the promise of "elements of Jane Austen's beloved Pride and Prejudice" (as advertised in the synopsis), but I wasn't prepared a full-blown retelling. That came as a surprise. I wasn't thrilled by how closely this novel follows the original storyline as it made the romance and general plot much too predictable (the author has crafted a fascinating world, and I was hoping to be more surprised by it). That said, there so many other compelling elements of this world that it more than made up for it. (And I can see other readers enjoying the P&P retelling much more than I did.)

Fascinating World Building
My favorite aspect of this novel is the world itself. Elle Katherine White has crafted a fascinating world in which magical creatures are divided among the Shani (friends of humans), the Tekari (who kill humans), and the Idar (indifferent to humans, for the most part). Some of my favorite characters are Shani. (I especially love how the hobgoblins are introduced.) I'd love to talk more about this world, but I'm going to refrain from further comments to avoid spoilers.

Compelling Secondary Characters
Many of the secondary characters are much more likable than their P&P counterparts. It delights me that these characters are given a chance to shine and to show growth (Leyda in particular). One in particular I detested and am happy that he's even more villainized in this classic retelling, though I can't morally support what happens to him in the end.

A Likable, if Bland, Heroine
Aliza Bentaine, our heroine, is a generally likable character. For the most part, Aliza seems smart and capable, and I love her friendship with the hobgoblins (they're delightful little people) and Akarra (now, that's a dragon with a personality). However, there's not much else to her. She doesn't have any dreams for the future as far as I can see, and she spends her time nosying about other peoples' business until she gets caught up with the battle (because: Alistair Dareid). It's the world and her adventures with the others that make this a compelling read.

A Solid Male Lead
Though Alistair is arrogant and prideful, he means well. As a Rider who fights Tekari as an occupation, I'd expect him to be blunt and down to business, so I was fine with him not being all sunshines and rainbows. Aliza's prejudice towards him isn't well developed and seems unfounded after all these nice moments (that is, until everything comes out following the failed proposal). Out of all the characters, Alistair shows the most growth. I would have loved to see his perspective added to the story.

Fast Pacing with Unresolved Storylines
For retelling of such a long novel, Heartstone wasn't long enough to do the whole story justice, especially given all the fantasy elements that are incorporated into the story. I feel like the author is too focused on retelling P&P for much of the novel and forgets to followup on other elements of the novel. The plot moves forward rather quickly, and some storylines fall through. In particular, it's disappointing that the storyline with the mysterious stranger is never fully resolved.

The epic battle at the end also begins and concludes rather abruptly. I wish that the buildup was more gradual and consistent with more hints at the fight to come. It also doesn't help that Aliza misses out on much of it and isn't able to tell us what happens. I would have loved to see another character's view on it, preferably one on the frontlines like Charis (now, that's a character whose backstory and perspective I'd love to see).

Wasn't thrilled with how my knowledge of P&P made the romance and much of the general plot predictable (this was such an interesting world; I wanted to be surprised). I did love the epic fantasy elements though. Looking forward to more from this author!

Kris @Imaginary Reads

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
January 20, 2017 – Shelved
January 20, 2017 –
page 70
21.02% "More than a book that "infuses elements of Jane Austen's beloved Pride and Prejudice," this seems like a fantasy retelling. Not sure how I feel about this, but so far the writing has been wonderful."
January 20, 2017 –
page 352
100% "Wasn't thrilled by how my knowledge of P&P made the romance predictable, but I loved the fantasy elements and the plot twist with Wydrick (though I don't know that what they did with him was warranted, terrible as he was). Also wish they wrapped up things with Gwyn's father. There was a lot of mystery surrounding his visitor."
January 20, 2017 – Shelved as: fantasy

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