Friday, December 10, 2021

Happy Book Birthday, Heart of the Impaler by Alexander Delacroix with Giveaway!

 Today's book was released a couple of days ago, but since I consider the entire first week of a book hitting the world its birthday, I'm celebrating today, too! This one comes from Swoon reads...meaning romance probably...and has an eye-catching cover. I'm expecting danger, intrigue, wars, maybe royals and knights....possibly a dragon? Definitely some romance, too.

So, let's hit this new series and find out!


Heart of the Impaler
by Alexander Delacroix
Swoon  Reads
December 7th 2021
YA Historical

Alexander Delacroix’s darkly romantic debut Heart of the Impaler is perfect for fans of Kiersten White’s And I Darken.

Vlad Dracula has long lived in the shadows cast by his bloodthirsty father, the voivode, and his older brother, Mircea. Despite their cruelty, Vlad has yearned to prove himself worthy of the throne his whole life. In the cold halls of the voivode’s palace, Vlad can only rely on his cousin and closest friend, Andrei Musat.

When Vlad and Andrei meet Ilona Csáki, the daughter of an influential boyar, they each find themselves inextricably drawn to her. But then Ilona is betrothed to Mircea as part of a political alliance, and Vlad’s resentfulness of his brother begins to seethe into something far darker.

Ilona has no desire to marry the voivode’s eldest son, but love and marriage are the least of her worries. The royal family’s enemies have already tried to put an arrow through her back—and if anyone discovers her blossoming feelings for Andrei and Vlad, she may just wish they’d succeeded.

Beneath the shadow of impending war, the only battle that will be deadlier than the one for Ilona’s life will be the one for her heart.

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MY TIDBITS

I was really looking forward to diving into this one. The cover definitely caught my attention and the blurb had me more than a little excited to discover what adventure was in store. And this is a well written novel with wonderful world building.

Belonging to a once powerful but now weak family, Ilona lives with her parents and siblings under the care of the Voivode, who values her father despite whisperings. When her father is praised with a special honor by the Voivode, she's also given to the oldest prince as a wife. She has one year until she turns of marriage age and is determined to find a way to avoid becoming this heartless man's spouse. But she's not alone and finds herself aided by the younger prince, Vlad, who has plans of his own when it comes to his bloodthirsty father. 

The world building in this one drew me right in. It's rich and inviting and well-constructed. The Voivode is wonderfully horrible and so easy to dislike. It's hard not to root for Vlad as he begins to conspire against his father and older brother. Ilona's situation is obviously difficult, and that does make her easy to sympathize with and, from the beginning, fever that she finds away to avoid everything. Then, as the intrigue, battles, and plots settle in, it has everything to become a fantastic read with a thick plot to get caught up in. So, I did enjoy many aspects of this novel in many ways.

There is a love-triangle, and it puts interesting tension and twists into the plot, while the main theme does rotate around the building intrigue as well.  Ilona tries her best to deal with everything, and it's a lot. So, it's not unbelievable when she's caught up between this tug-a-war, especially since she'd do anything to get away from a marriage she knows has chances to utterly destroy her in so many ways. The problem is simply that the Vlad doesn't carry quite enough positive attributes to make him likeable, but rather, often didn't seem much better than his older brother. His sidekick was sympathetic in so many ways but carried too weak a personality when it came to his relationship with Vlad. So, it makes a 'better than terrible' situation for Ilona. Still, it was fun to watch this relationship plot twist and turn.

While there is so much richness in this plot and so much to make it epic (it's really a great weave), the author skipped right over some of the most grabbing, major scenes and just filled the reader in through conversations in the 'after'. This, while still interesting, kept this book from becoming everything it should have been. Yet, I don't want to say this was a bad read because it isn't. It's grabbing and well constructed, and definitely would have hit my favorite list...and still, is one I enjoyed reading.


And here he is...

Alexander Delacroix earned Masters degrees from Brigham Young University and Western Governors University. As an undergraduate he majored in French, Russian, and German but ultimately became a Language Arts teacher. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and writing. Heart of the Impaler is his debut novel.

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