Hearts at Stake (Drake Chronicles #1)

My Love Lies Bleeding (Drake Chronicles, #1)Hearts at Stake Summary:
On Solange`s sixteenth birthday, she is going to wake up dead. As if that’s not bad enough, she also has to outwit her seven overprotective older brothers, avoid the politics involved with being the only daughter born to an ancient vampire dynasty, and elude Kieran Black—agent of an anti-vampire league who is searching for his father’s killer and is intent on staking Solange and her entire family. Luckily she has her own secret weapon—her human best friend Lucy. Lucy is willing to defend Solange`s right to a normal life, whether she’s being smothered by her well-intentioned brothers or abducted by a power-hungry queen. Two unlikely alliances are formed in a race to save Solange`s eternal life—Lucy and Solange`s brother Nicholas, and Solange and Kieran Black — in a dual romance that is guaranteed to jump start any romance-lover’s heart

Hearts at Stake Review:
This is one of the books that started on the path to YA. Up until here I was mainly reading Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. I practically read all the series 10 times each. So this book was a very nice change of pace.

The best was to summarize this book was that it was cute. Exceptionally cute and a great way to break into the YA genre. It's filled with just the right amount of humour, action and romance. I was first intrigued by the title because there was a pun right in the trial. And at this point I had watched the Twilight series (not proud I judged the series based on that but still...) and I didn't want another vampire series just like that. WELL I got what I wished for and found this as any amazing take on vampires. The vampires in this were actually believable! They did not glow, needed blood to survive and could get addicted to human blood.

In addition there was a new vampire history that was included. Instead of all the vampires being run-in-the-mill kind of there was monarchy here. There is a queen chosen by the person who can defeat the previous queen. Then there are the royal bloodlines that are the longest line of born vampires. The Drake's - this is Solange's family - are in exile because Solange is supposed to take the throne through a prophecy. On top of that there are three types of vampires as of right now. The Hel-Bar which are mad vampires that are the nightmares of a vampires. The Hounds who live in the caves and have two to three fangs. These vampires believe in magic and they are pretty awesome. Lastly there are the normal vampires who interact with humans. It does get a little complicated but it's only in the first novel so you just have to keep it together for now. Overall pretty cool idea that somehow seems similar to Vampire Academy.

The book was written with two POVs. Solange Drake and Lucky "Lucy" Hamilton. Solange is prophesied to the be the new queen and this really spikes up her life as everyone who isn't her family wants her dead or a tool to become queen. It brings about a lot of humour as she is constantly trying to fight her destiny and her 7 overbearing brothers! One part where Solange was being tested by the matriarch of her family really stuck with me,

“Her lips pursed. My palms went damp. Her fangs were out, as pointed and delicate as little bone daggers. "That’s disappointing, Solange."
"I was going to die because I couldn’t embroider roses on a pillow.”

While Solange is very quiet and reserved, Lucy is loud and rambunctious. She loves to have fun and even though she really isn't part of the Drake family, they love her as if she was their own. The romance between her and Nicholas was very funny and interesting. One funny quote I remember was,

“Why are you limping like that?' Nicholas demanded.
'I'm swaggering,' I informed him.
'You look like you're wearing a diaper." 

Now these weren't the only characters. There was the Drake family along the Kieran Black, the Hamilton family. There was also a number of bad guys as well (I say bad guys cause some of them were pretty weird). I really loved the Drake family and I am eagerly awaiting more tidbits from the series. They are a tight packed group and are about to go through hell. This book was AMAZING and it's on of my top favourites. And to this date it still hasn't been matched by many other books! I recommend this to people who want a much better version of vampires or want to be introduced into YA.

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