This book will be available in January 2010.
Solange Drake always knew she was destined to become a vampire queen. And as the only female vampire ever born, not made, she is surrounded by danger on all sides--from vampire suitors who want to join with her lineage to bounty hunters who are set on destroying her and her family. When she is kidnapped, it's up to her older brother Nicholas and her human best friend, Lucy, to save her. But can Lucy save herself from Nicholas, who tempts her with his every look? And what will be Solange's own fate if she surrenders her heart to the vampire hunter helping her survive the deadly intrigue at the royal court?
Character Development: 8/10
Overall Enjoyment: 6/10
Total Score: 47/70
Obtained: Free copy provided by publisher.
Age Appropriate? PG-13
Cussing: Quite frequently.
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: None.
Sexual Content: Suggestive comments, but no actual scenes.
Disturbing Images/Violence: A lot of supernatural violence, murder, blood, gore, etc.
Hearts at Stake surprised me. Vampire romance novels, while they seem to be the craze, are not my kind of book. And this was not my kind of book, either, but I actually found myself enjoying it. The plot was exciting and interesting, though occasionally confusing, and Alyxandra Harvey managed to incorporate the vampires without being too cliche.
Though the romance at times seemed unrealistically fast-paced (characteristic of this genre), the actual content and development was quite believable. I didn't care much for many of the characters, but their story was a good one.
The story is told through the alternating perspectives of Lucy and Solange. While their voices were strikingly (and confusingly) similar, the two characters were excellent protagonists. Most of the time I preferred reading Lucy, but toward the end Solange had the more interesting chapters.
I will probably not read the second installment in The Drake Chronicles, but I will pick up Alyxandra Harvey's next books, a Gothic Victorian series. Her writing is attractive and well-constructed, and she managed the whole superhuman-vampire thing with grace. So if you are one of those people that simply adore this genre, this would be a fantastic book for you to choose. If not, well...better luck next time.
NOTE: There are two trailers for this book, but I chose not to include them because I think they give a bad representation of the book. And they're just annoying. But, if you really want to see them, click here.