Title: Bring Me Their Hearts
Author: Sara Wolf
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Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Release Date: June 5, 2018
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
ARC Received From: Entangled Publishing via NetGalley
Reviewed For: YA Bound Tours
Hosted By: YA Bound Tours
Zera is a Heartless—the immortal, unaging 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 Zera’s 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.
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I was reminded of Christina Perry's "Jar of Hearts", particularly the lines I've learned to live half a life / And now you want me one more time. Each time Zera is called to duty, the part of her that clings to hope for a better tomorrow seems to die a little more. But that hope isn't without strength. It perseveres and demands she plead for a chance, one chance, until it's granted. The condition, however, is gut-wrenching and means failure is not an option. It's her life, her future, on the line, no matter the cost.
But is that true? How true can it be once she's infiltrated the court and finds herself the object of Prince Lucien's interest?
It becomes a matter of following orders or defying them. Is happiness, true happiness, worth the pain that is to come?
I adored Zera's wittiness and sass. She holds her ground and stands alone in a sea of treacherous beauty and enemies disguised as friends. It's a gilded cage, one Lucien has lived in his entire life and despises. The artificial pleasantries and niceties are overshadowed by his working knowledge of the backstabbing and lying and underhandedness that goes on. Zera's presence offers a much needed reprieve for the unsuspecting Prince. Entertainment ensues as these two navigate each other and fight to save their world, maybe even make it better.
I'm discovering that YA holds more merit than I gave it credit for. In the hands of a capable author, YA subgenres can contend, and hold their own, with their Adult counterparts. Authors such as Ms. Wolf see beyond "normal" young adult tendencies to craft characters and create worlds that could be mistaken for mature yet carry notes of childhood long forgotten, of innocence not quite stolen, of dreams deserving of a chance.
Hearts is an unexpected gem, a darkly humorous offering of everything I didn't know I could find in a YA Fantasy novel. I look forward to the next book.
Please note: This is a cliffhanger, but that has no bearing on this review.
Sara Wolf is a twenty-something author who adores baking, screaming at her cats, and screaming at herself while she types hilarious things. When she was a kid, she was too busy eating dirt to write her first terrible book. Twenty years later, she picked up a keyboard and started mashing her fists on it and created the monster known as Lovely Vicious. She lives in San Diego with two cats, a crippling-yet-refreshing sense of self-doubt, and not enough fruit tarts ever.