Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Pride & Prejudice with Dragons—FLAME BRINGER, A Heartstone Novel


Flame Bringer by Elle Katharine White is the final book in the Heartstone novel series by Harper Voyager. Heartstone is the first in the series, followed by Dragon Shadow, with newly released Flame Bringer being the last in the YA trilogy. 

In the first book, Heartstone, Aliza Bentaine's family of Merrybourne Manor has secured the funds to hire esteemed dragon rider Alastair Daired to battle gryphons. It's a story about war, kingdoms, class lines, and hearts. 

The Greater Lindworm is dead in book two, Dragon Shadow. Aliza and Alastair are a happy couple in the Daireds' fortress, safe from the Tekari. Unfortunately their happily ever after is soon interrupted by the reality of the mutilated bodies of humans and Oldkind creatures. 

Book three, Flame Bringer,  starts with Wydrick, sworn enemy of the Daireds, back from the dead. My favorite thing about these books is the fantastic world-building. These stories are far more Lord of the Rings than they are Pride and Prejudice, but in a world where women hold their own in a satisfying twenty-first century style. They're stories for this generation of young adults.

Young Adult dragon stories aren't often my go-to read, but I was drawn in by the first book's Pride and Prejudice with dragons tie-in. What I've enjoyed most is that Aliza is her own person and partner with Daired. If he's battle worn and weary riding his dragon Akarra, Aliza is usually with him.

What worked most for me were the wonderful details from the angry hobgoblin in the opening of the first book, to the Mermish in the second, and onto Master Gargoyle sliding through the walls to follow Aliza in the third. 

Elle Katharine White
reading at Bell's Country Coffee Elmira Heights, NY
Elle Katharine White grew up in Buffalo, New York where she learned valuable life skills like how to clear a snowy driveway in under twenty minutes and how to cheer for the perennial underdog. I'm looking forward to her next book The Book of Dragons, which releases July 7, 2020. Harper Collins lists her with the "Greatest Science Fiction and Fantasy writers working today", and I couldn't agree more. 

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