Review: The Drake Chronicles by Alyxandra Harvey

As part of the Summer Break Reading Challenge here is a review of the first two installments of Alyxandra Harvey’s Drake Chronicles: My Love Lies Bleeding (known in places outisde of the UK as ‘Hearts at Stake – hey, we like to be different) and Blood Feud.

Title: My Love Lies Bleeding (Hearts at Stake)

Author: Alyxandra Harvey

Series: The Drake Chronicles #1

Genre: YA, Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Summary (from Goodreads)

The Drakes are rather different to your usual neighbours. They are vampires and some of the members of the family date back to the twelfth century. One of the children, Solange, is the only born female vampire known and, as such, she poses a direct threat to the vampire queen. Her best friend Lucy is human, and when Solange is kidnapped Lucy and Solange’s brother, Nicholas, set out to save her. Lucy soon discovers that she would like to be more than just friends with Nicholas. But how does one go about dating a vampire? Meanwhile, Solange finds an unlikely ally in Kieran, a vampire slayer on the hunt for his father’s killer.

What’s Good About It

There’s some really interesting Vampire Mythology, very different to many other Teen vampire romance books, and a lot of politics going on in the background. These elements raise the book above your average ‘girl meets boy and one just happens to be supernatural’ sort of fair. The boys in question are dark and mysterious, or dashing and handsome, so there’s something for every taste, and the female characters are lively and three dimensional. The pace is good, with plenty going on between the swoon moments and the premise is interesting enough to be sustained over several novels.

What’s Not So Good

I’d have liked to have seen more of the politics and mythology, and less of the romance. I love a bit of romance, and I particularly love a bit of paranormal romance, particularly when it’s the girl who’s the paranormal one (as is the case with Solange) but I don’t love it when romance is the primary plot point, at least, not in books that pretend to be otherwise. If you are going to do all out romance, do all out romance, and describe the minutae of the developing romance. If you’re going to to politics, do politics, and have the romance as a juicy extra. What you get with My Love Lies Bleeding is an awkward combination of the two. There’s not enough romance to make the book exceptional, and not enough politics to make it anything other than romance. Which is a shame because the characters are fab, and the writing is pretty good too. I hoped Alyxandra would build on her premis in….

Title: Blood Feud

Author: Alyxandra Harvey

Series: The Drake Chronicles #1

Genre: YA, Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Summary (from Goodreads)

It’s been centuries since Isabeau St. Croix barely survived the French Revolution. Now she’s made her way back to the living and she must face the ultimate test by confronting the evil British lord who left her for dead the day she turned into a vampire. That’s if she can control her affection for Logan Drake, a vampire whose bite is as sweet as the revenge she seeks.

What’s Good About It

Again, interesting premis, great characters and some fabulous scenes from the French Revolution that really bring to life the period of great excess and great deprivation. Isabeau is a sassy new female, with some really fascinating history and mythology. I love that the girls aren’t the helpless ones in this series, as often they can be in paranormal romance. Isabeau doesn’t need a knight in shining armour. It picks up where My Love Lies Bleeding left off, almost to the day, so there are some familiar faces returning, and the consequences of the climax of the previous book are explored.

What’s Not So Good

Well, I didn’t buy Isabeau and Logan for a start. Their entire romance, which happes over a few days, seems to be based on the idea that Logan feels like he’s met her somewhere before. Now I’m not against the idea of instant attraction to a person, but these two were confessing their love for eachother within about five days. Okay, some people are fast movers, and when you meet the one, you know (supposedly… it took me a bit longer than five days, but maybe I’m just slow) but where’s the story in that? Where’s the tantilising attraction that gradually becomes love. That’s the sort of romance I like to read about. And then the premis isn’t built on at all, really. Again, the book takes place over about a week and in that time too much is resolved a little too easily. Without giving away too much detail, I can’t really see where the next book could go. And I’m assuming there will be five more books, as five dashing Drake brothers remain…

Rating 3/5

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