Do you wish there were more books with dragons in them? Do you love Pride and Prejudice? If you nodded, shrilled, or whispered yes to either both of those statements, then you’re in luck! Heartstone by Elle Katharine White is the answer to all of our prayers.
A debut historical fantasy that recasts Jane Austen’s beloved Pride & Prejudice in an imaginative world of wyverns, dragons, and the warriors who fight alongside them against the monsters that threaten the kingdom: gryphons, direwolves, lamias, banshees, and lindworms.
They say a Rider in possession of a good blade must be in want of a monster to slay—and Merybourne Manor has plenty of monsters.
Passionate, headstrong Aliza Bentaine knows this all too well; she’s already lost one sister to the invading gryphons. So when Lord Merybourne hires a band of Riders to hunt down the horde, Aliza is relieved her home will soon be safe again.
Her relief is short-lived. With the arrival of the haughty and handsome dragonrider, Alastair Daired, Aliza expects a battle; what she doesn’t expect is a romantic clash of wills, pitting words and wit against the pride of an ancient house. Nor does she anticipate the mystery that follows them from Merybourne Manor, its roots running deep as the foundations of the kingdom itself, where something old and dreadful slumbers . . . something far more sinister than gryphons.
It’s a war Aliza is ill-prepared to wage, on a battlefield she’s never known before: one spanning kingdoms, class lines, and the curious nature of her own heart.
Elle Katharine White infuses elements of Austen’s beloved novel with her own brand of magic, crafting a modern epic fantasy that conjures a familiar yet wondrously unique new world.
White’s writing is good, if nothing amazing or awe-inspiring. I found it to flow very well and was able to capture the essence of the Regency period without bogging the story down by being overly wordy. I will say that pacing-wise, the story was a little slow in the beginning but I think that might be the case for anyone who’s familiar with the Pride and Prejudice story, because you’re too excited to get to the point where our protagonists finally come together.
Now I’m sure that the original Miss Elizabeth Bennett will always be your number one, Aliza Bentaine will also make a place in your heart. Our new heroine has the same personality but is no longer just a bystander to her man, she is also the savior. In fact, it is the females that actually carry this novel. They steal every scene from the men and are the more interesting characters. But don’t worry, if you’re worried that you won’t be able to swoon over the new love interest, Alastair Daired, then lay those fears to rest as he is still the proud and irresistible man for us to fall in love with. I actually found myself noticing Daired being even more proud and arrogant than Mr. Darcy. Of course, if I was bonded to a badass dragon then I’d probably be a bit of a bitch too. So can you really blame him?!
I think what really makes this story stand out from the original, other than the obvious dragons, is the action. White is able to rework the storyline into a full-on fantasy battle between fairy-tale creatures. I loved being able to see how she tweaked the story in places to seamlessly create a brand new fantasy version while staying true to its original inspiration. While the love-to-hate romance (I’m always trash for this trope!) still shines, I found myself more excited for the actual action scenes. I never knew what was going to happen next or what creature might pop up.
With that being said, I do feel that the world-building was just a tad underdeveloped. With this being a standalone novel, I didn’t expect it to really be able to expand on the world but I do wish this book would’ve been longer in order to flesh it out more. I would’ve enjoyed more history and how that played into the politics of the world. White does make some mention of it in places, but I think it could have benefited with more. What about the other kingdoms? Why are the different creatures on different sides of the conflict? What was the catalyst to all of it? I obviously have a few unanswered questions that I’m hoping White can explore in some spin-off novels. Pretty, pretty please?!!
Final Verdict: 4/5 Stars
Have you read Heartstone? What did you think of it? What are some other Pride and Prejudice retellings that you’ve enjoyed? Do you have any books with dragons to recommend?