Title: Bring Me Their Hearts
Author: Sara Wolf
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pub date: 5th June 2018
‘Zera is a Heartless—the immortal, unaging soldier of a witch. Bound to the witch Nightsinger, 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 Zera’s 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.
I loved this book. I admit that the structure of the opening third threw me a little, as it initially felt as if the reader was being walked through a lot of exposition, but the shift from one time frame to another swiftly becomes less jarring, especially as the scene the novel opens with draws nearer. The book opens with Zera at the court and moves backwards to recollect how she became a Heartless and what it means for one to be such, returning to the opening scene later in the novel.
Zera herself reads as older than she’s presented (though this might be due to the fact that she is older) and heavily relies on flippancy and sarcasm to get through her everyday interactions with others. Initially, this means she sounds quite arrogant, cold and too full of herself, but as the facets of her history and what lies beneath are revealed, the reasons for this behaviour become more clear, and as she truly starts to make connections with others, these features are somewhat toned down. She is confident, sometimes seemingly insufferably so, but she also makes mistakes and is not unbelievably gifted at everything she attempts, painting this element of her personality as a front that likewise becomes more understandable as the novel continues. Perhaps Zera is not immediately likeable, yet she is immediately interesting and engaging.
It seems that none of the characters in Bring Me Their Hearts are exactly what they appear to be, making for a strong cast that demands the reader pay attention to each one and not discount any. The romance is perhaps a little predictable and inevitable, though it’s primarily a relationship that doesn’t rely heavily on instant love and affection, but in characters trying to figure each other out, making it feel a lot less forced than the instant attraction and romances many YA novels feature.
I’ve recently read a lot of books that feature heavy cliffhangers… and while I’ve then wanted to read the next novel, I’ve not exclaimed over it quite so much as with this one. Next book needed now, please!
I received an ARC of Bring Me Their Hearts from NetGalley and the publisher.