CM . . .
. Volume XVIII Number 1. . . .September 2, 2011
Hearts at Stake. (The Drake Chronicles).
New York, NY: Walker & Company (Distributed in Canada by Penguin Canada), 2010.
248 pp., pbk., $12.50.
Brothers and sisters-Fiction.
Grades 9-12 / Ages 14-17.
Review by Tanya Boudreau.
"Solange, are you listening to me?"
I jerked my head up.
"Yes." I'd heard this particular lecture enough times over the last few months to know it intimately. "Nothing happened. You're all overreacting." I did feel guilty; I just knew better than to show it.
"There were at least three of them in the field tonight, maybe more." Nicholas scowled. "You know they don't all send flowers. Most of them just want to grab you and run."
"I scowled back. "I could have handled it. It wasn't even full dark yet. Besides, if they were so dangerous, why'd you nearly leave Lucy behind?"
"You were going to leave Lucy there?" my mom sputtered, and Nicholas narrowed his eyes at me. I crossed my eyes smugly. Growing up with so many brothers taught me the fine art of misdirection, self-preservation, and revenge, if nothing else.
Solange Drake is becoming weaker as her sixteenth birthday approaches. Drinking blood will help her, but she despises even the thought. The date of her bloodchange is near, and her family and friends are worried because it's a transition that could kill her. She tries to keep safe, but vampires are drawn to her because of the powerful pheromones she's emitting. The current vampire ruler wants to kill Solange because she feels her role as Queen is threatened if Solange continues to live past her sixteenth birthday. A violent vampire named Leander Montmarte wants to marry Solange so she can have his vampire babies, and the Helios-Ra want to capture her for bounty money. Solange struggles with feelings of entrapment and fear as her body (and cravings) change. She is confused when she develops feelings for a hostile vampire who tries to kidnap her, and she is uncertain of a future that foresees her becoming involved in a war among vampire tribes.
Hearts at Stake is the first book in the "Drake Chronicles" series. Told in alternating chapters by Solange and her best friend Lucy, this story is set in the summer, days before school is to begin. The chase scenes are as dramatic as the love scenes, and they take place above or below ground depending on the sun's effect on characters. When Solange is with her great-great-great aunt Hyacinth, her surroundings change to ones reminiscent of the Victorian Age. Lucy's narration adds humour to the storyline when she's involved in battle, and passion when she's near Solange's older brother, Nicholas. Teenage girls who are drawn to stories about the supernatural will like Hearts at Stake.
Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.
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