My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
Length: 400 pages
Release date: 5 June 2018
Zera is a Heartless – the immortal, unageing 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 her 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.
A Heartless only ever burns for one thing–their own heart. And those who burn don’t easily blind.
This was…ok, I guess. Nothing special enough to make me want to read the sequel. If I’d known it was the first in a series, I probably wouldn’t have begun reading.
In a generic YA fantasy world, Zera is an orphan enslaved to her dubious guardian/abuser Nightsinger, tasked with stealing the literal heart of pretty boy Prince Lucien d’Malvane (yes, that’s actually his name, and don’t get me started on how much it annoys me that the contraction is used when his surname doesn’t start with a vowel). Zera is a Special™ and Strong™ Protagonist while most other female characters her age are shallow mean girls or airheads, and Prince Lucien is a Brooding Tortured Soul™ and secret Robin Hood sick of the airheads catfighting for his attention.
Cue the cheesy romance.
Oh yeah, I knew more or less what Bring Me Their Hearts was about. I enjoy my share of well-executed cheesy stories just as much as the next person, well-executed being a key term. Bring Me Their Hearts falls flat in several areas. Several portions of the book drag on for far too long, pacing issues making an interesting, dare I say unique premise needlessly dull. In the worst case, the novel starts with an intriguing opening scene then drops into a flashback/infodump that lasts a full third of the book before finally returning to the present.
In other news, there’s a big side plot involving unrealistic political manoeuvring in a poorly developed fantasy society. We even get our very own stock Evil Chancellor in Archduke Gavik, a villain who loves power and hates magic without reason like, well, lots of YA fantasy bad guys. Also, there was this massive conflict a while ago called the Sunless War in which the humans triumphed over the witches, but if you want to find out anything of substance about it you’ll have to stick around until the sequel. Want to find out more about Lucien’s family history or Zera’s origins? Too bad, you’ll have to wait for the sequel as well!
Overall the plot was extremely unmemorable, and the romance doesn’t make up for it. The relationship between Zera and Lucien is a cheap enemies to friends to lovers without much emotional bite. I honestly didn’t see them having any chemistry. At best maybe there was a little bit of unconvincing physical attraction, I guess. Zera spent way too much time for a hardened, heartless girl salivating over the prince she was supposed to consign to a fate worse than death.
There was never any doubt that she would spare him, and therefore no juicy angst–even though it’s a romance novel and you know they’ll end up together in some form or another, it’s no fun if the HEA is a done deal from page one.
I found Zera’s narration rather grating at certain points. There’s something childish and obnoxious about her holier-than-thou attitude. I imagine Bring Me Their Hearts might be better geared towards an MG audience. The rest of the supporting cast were middle of the road, not awful but not particularly compelling either.
To me, this book flirted with DNF levels of boring, to the point where I put off reviewing it for three weeks and when I finally got around to it had to look up the name of the protagonist, not something I easily forget. Bring Me Their Hearts took its time plodding towards an utterly predictable cliffhanger ending that won’t work in baiting me to read the next book.