by Alexander Delacroix
Alexander Delacroix’s darkly romantic debut Heart of the Impaler is perfect for fans of Kiersten White’s And I Darken.
Vlad Dracula has long lived in the shadows cast by his bloodthirsty father, the voivode, and his older brother, Mircea. Despite their cruelty, Vlad has yearned to prove himself worthy of the throne his whole life. In the cold halls of the voivode’s palace, Vlad can only rely on his cousin and closest friend, Andrei Musat.
When Vlad and Andrei meet Ilona Csáki, the daughter of an influential boyar, they each find themselves inextricably drawn to her. But then Ilona is betrothed to Mircea as part of a political alliance, and Vlad’s resentfulness of his brother begins to seethe into something far darker.
Ilona has no desire to marry the voivode’s eldest son, but love and marriage are the least of her worries. The royal family’s enemies have already tried to put an arrow through her back—and if anyone discovers her blossoming feelings for Andrei and Vlad, she may just wish they’d succeeded.
Beneath the shadow of impending war, the only battle that will be deadlier than the one for Ilona’s life will be the one for her heart.
Heart of the Impaler (HotI) has a bit of a slow start, but once it picks up, it’s full of drama and intrigue. It’s fairly well-written and enjoyable. Although I found several errors, there is a note at the beginning about the version I received being “an uncorrected proof,” so I assume any mistakes have been found and corrected before publication.
I was rather surprised, given the title, that Vlad — the Impaler — was made into an unlikeable character. I certainly wasn’t rooting for him, and I’m hoping he has an unhappy ending in the seemingly guaranteed follow-up novel(s). I’m sure there will at least be a sequel.
I kind of expected a more “common” romance — not exactly erotica given the age range, but maybe some stolen moments of making out. I really shouldn’t have, given the historical era. A noble woman of that time wouldn’t have dared risk her reputation in such a way.
I appreciate the note at the end about the real history, what the author changed, and suggested reading material. Even with history I know well, but especially with history I don’t, it’s useful to have a “change log” from the author.
If you’re interested in the era and don’t mind drama and intrigue, I think you’ll enjoy HotI. If, however, you’re an Impaler fanatic, or looking for a steamy romance, this one isn’t for you.
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About the Author
Alexander Delacroix earned Masters degrees from Brigham Young University and Western Governors University. As an undergraduate he majored in French, Russian, and German but ultimately became a Language Arts teacher. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and writing. Heart of the Impaler is his debut novel.
Disclaimer: This review is based on a complimentary eBook I received from Xpresso Book Tours. The complimentary receipt of this book has in no way affected my review or rating.