Dragonshadow (Heartstone #2) by Elle Katharine White

dragonDragonshadow is the second book in the Heartstone series by Elle Katharine White and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The first book was a retelling of Pride and Prejudice but with dragons and other fantastical beasts.  It was a great start to the series and one that took me by surprise as retellings can be a little hit or miss especially when they’re using a favourite classic as inspiration.  As it is Heartstone was a definite hit for me and so you can imagine how happy I was when I caught a whiff of No.2.

To be honest, I think I liked this book even more than the first although that hardly seems possible. Whereas the first book felt a little restricted by the Pride and Prejudice storyline and the author’s clear desire to stick to it as much as is possible in a fantasy setting, this book is able to ‘be itself’ to throw off any such restrictions and really come into its own.

The world building was good in the first book but with this instalment we get to travel much further afield when Alastair takes on a job at a remote castle on the Northern Border.  As the story begins Alastair and Aliza are enjoying a peaceful and romantic honeymoon when their time is interrupted by a rider from Castle Selwyn.  It seems that the castle is being targeted for attack by an unknown monster – the latest is the disappearance of a young girl from the castle. Alastair accepts the job but it seems that Aliza has some decisions of her own to make.

So, I love that the story has moved into its own territory now.  Aliza and Alistair are married and this is unfamiliar ground for both of them.  Alistair is a Rider, bonded to a dragon, Riders have a certain status and much like in Pride and Prejudice Aliza’s family is quite far removed in many people’s opinions.  Of course Aliza and Alistair are at the pink tinted glasses stage – okay they’re in love –  of their relationship but nonetheless they’re also both positioning themselves and trying to find their feet in terms of the future and this theme plays an important part in the story.  Aliza isn’t ready to become Alistair’s housekeeper and stay behind every time he flies into danger, let’s face it, she played a rather pivotal role in the war in the previous book, but Alistair doesn’t want Aliza to face danger, he has a point, she isn’t trained to fight and it means his attention will be split.  But, Aliza wins the battle to accompany Alistair on his most recent job.  To be honest, they both need to find their feet and fast.

On top of the character development there is plenty going on in the world.  It seems that somebody is paying an inordinate amount of attention to heartstones and also there are stirrings in the wild.  Things are roaming.  I don’t really want to go into what’s really taking place but Alistair’s and Aliza’s travels across the Old Wilds of Arle are beset by attacks, almost like they’re being followed.  Upon reaching the slightly eerie and ghost like Castle of Selwyn things escalate.  Ghosts of the past seem to come knocking on their door.  Things definitely take a creepy turn and the setting really helps to enhance that.  Mists, cliffs, dark waters, a castle with underground tunnels and secret passageways.  Lots of different creatures, centaurs and merpeople and so much more.  I’m not going to go further into the plot but more discuss the things that really stood out for me.

The expansion of the world and the people and fantastic creatures that dwell in it.  This is so well done and I loved it. Aliza really is the main character and she plays an almost detective role here, asking questions and coming up with suggestions while Alistair is roaming the place looking for beasts.  Aliza has really developed.  She wants to learn, she wants to help but more than that she has a sympathetic nature which almost makes a bridge between the humans and the beasts.  I think this is something that could really develop and I enjoyed this aspect of the story and in particular the connection that Aliza seems to forge with Akarra.

Overall, I loved this.  The plot is good, the character arcs are developing well and the world building has been strengthened.

I can’t wait to read more.

I received a copy through Edelweiss, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.





8 Responses to “Dragonshadow (Heartstone #2) by Elle Katharine White”

  1. Tammy

    I can’t wait to jump in. Hopefully this is next up😊 Glad you loved it!

  2. Daniela Ark

    I love books with well developed plot, characters and worlds. It’s not easy to do both! Glad to hear this was good!

  3. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    100% agreed with this, I feel like she got to really develop the characters here. They’ve come into their own, rather than be people based off existing characters.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I guess it helps that Jane Austen didn’t write a sequel to Pride and Prejudice – otherwise the author might have felt compelled to follow the storyline. As it is I thought this one really came into its own.
      Lynn 😀

  4. waytoofantasy

    Go glad you liked this one! I keep hearing good things. I think I will like this one a lot despite not really getting on much with the first one. Great review. 🙂

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