Monday, March 18, 2013

Hearts At Stake by Alyxandra Harvey

Hearts at Stake (The Drake Chronicles, #1)Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Last week was stressful at work and included 2 roadtrips and teaching a 6.5 hour workshop on Saturday.  By rights, I had laundry and chores and errands to run on Sunday but I was burnt out and needed to unwind. 

Enter Hearts At Stake by Alyxandra Harvey which I curled up with around 2:00 pm and closed with a satisfied smile at 7:30 pm.  It was just what I needed at just the time I needed it.

If this book were a food it would be cotton candy. Fluffy, sweet, addictive and went down well in one sitting. Afterwards you may not feel terribly full and there may be a bit of a toothache but you have memories of an enjoyable indulgence. What I mean to say is that it is a light page turner that it in no way took itself seriously and which had characters I surprisingly didn't hate.  Sure, you don't want to think too hard about elements of its plot and its world-building because there are holes trucks can drive through and none of the characters really venture beyond the shallow end of the pool but it was a lovely way to pass a Sunday.

The story, such as it is, is told from the dual viewpoint (in alternating chapters mostly) of Lucy and her best friend Solange Drake who is about to turn 16 which in her family means simultaneously turning into a vampire.  What with living in a family of vampires and being the first female born vampire (in this world vampires can be born as well as turned) in centuries you'd expect Solange to be a highly engaging and interesting character.  However, I found her incredibly blah, and, for me, Lucy stole the show which was extra surprising because she really should have been annoying with her loud, brash, bossy personality.  She was unexpectedly awesome and really I think made the book for me.  I did occasionally get annoyed when I had to move into a Solange chapter but the author cleverly keeps the chapters short and moves things right along so it never became a huge obstacle to my enjoyment.  Lucy's romance is cliched as all get out, but still manages to be charming and fun.  Solange's romantic adventures on the other hand seemed more of an afterthought and had little to no development.   

Life-changing literature this ain't but if you need a little escapist candy that won't tax the brain too hard this is just the ticket.  It is the first in a series and I have already gone and picked up book two.  I'm not sure whether the enjoyment will continue as each book in the series shifts perspective to a new Drake sibling (there are 8 siblings all together).  Since much of my enjoyment in book one was Lucy, I really just wanna read more about her and the Drake families adventures from her perspective.  I embark upon book 2 with trepidation.

Have you read Hearts At Stake and if so what did you think?  How do you feel about candy reads?  What's the best detox candy read you've ever read?

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