Series: Bring Me Their Hearts #1
Published by Entangled: Teen
Published on 5 June 2018
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
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Zera is a Heartless – the immortal, unageing soldier of a witch. Bound to the witch Nightsinger ever since she saved her from the bandits who murdered her family, Zera longs for freedom from the woods they hide in. With her heart in a jar under Nightsinger’s control, she serves the witch unquestioningly.
Until Nightsinger asks Zera for a Prince’s heart in exchange for her own, with one addendum; if she’s discovered infiltrating the court, Nightsinger will destroy her heart rather than see her tortured by the witch-hating nobles.
Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the royal court as much as it loves him – every tutor too afraid to correct him and every girl jockeying for a place at his darkly handsome side. No one can challenge him – until the arrival of Lady Zera. She’s inelegant, smart-mouthed, carefree, and out for his blood. The Prince’s honor has him quickly aiming for her throat.
So begins a game of cat and mouse between a girl with nothing to lose and a boy who has it all.
Winner takes the loser’s heart.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
What I liked:
Zera was full of sass and really mouthy, but also funny and strangely charming.
Zera is plus-sized, though it didn’t make as much of an impact as I would have liked.
While Zera was thoughtless and reckless, she wasn’t actually stupid. She took action without thinking about the consequences, but her choices weren’t actually all that dumb. Or maybe it’s that the consequences never really arose?
Zera has a really cool relationship with Malachite, a complicated relationship with Fione and Y’Shennria, and her relationship with Prince Lucien grew organically.
Prince Lucien, again. Zera has to get close to him to take his heart, but the more time they spent together, the more they discovered how prejudiced against each other they had been, and uncovered the layers of each other’s personalities until they actually started to care for each other. It wasn’t fair on Lucien: he had to pick a girl to marry and Zera was the best of the bunch, also she was trying to make him fall in love.
Nightsinger, the witch Zera is bound to as a Heartless, is really kind and not at all mean.
What I disliked:
Zera focused more on the fact that she murdered five men, largely ignoring the fact that it was an act of revenge against the bandits that murdered her parents and herself. She was consumed with guilt that I didn’t quite understand. She used it to confirm her monster status, instead of other things that might have been more relevant to her other-ness. So, she’s a murderer… but she also vomits when someone else is stabbed.
Zera didn’t seem to care that the stakes were really high: Zera had to seduce Prince Lucien and get his heart to stop a war that would kill her for real, and if anyone found out about her mission she would be killed for real, but she didn’t seem very focused on the consequences of not succeeding. She made a lot of rash decisions that could have exposed her but miraculously didn’t.
Despite liking it, I actually found it really unengaging, and I think it was because although the stakes were really high, Zera really flip-flopped between taking this mission seriously and doing really stupid things that should have exposed her, like offering to help servants or chasing after a thief. Every time I read this on my phone I found myself clicking off to do something else. And it’s not like the writing was poor, or that I didn’t like Zera and the supporting characters… nor is it that Zera didn’t get how important this was, because she did… it was just… unengaging. And I don’t really understand why.
I mean… OF COURSE it ended the way it ended. I was hoping for something just a little bit different and right near the end I thought I was going to get it, but no, this is the first of a trilogy so of course it ended the way it did. Bah.