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. Literally.
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What I Loved:
One of my favorite aspects about Bring Me Their Hearts is how it doesn't take the normal route. I went in expecting to hate the witch who owns Zera's heart from the start, but Nightsinger turns out to be different. The relationship between her and Zera is complicated since the witch actually saves Zera from a terrible death by turning her into a Heartless (meaning her personal soldier), and while Zera is grateful for what she did, her refusal to return Zera's heart is still something hard to accept and puts a strain in their relationship.
Whispers of a second war between Witches and Humans is what drives Nightsinger to strike a deal with Zera. In exchange for the Crown Prince's heart, Zera can take back hers as well as the other two Heartless the Witch owns. And thus the exciting quest begins for Zera as she has to infiltrate the castle as a potential bride for the prince and get close enough to steal his heart!
This is what I loved the most. Zera's mission involves learning noble etiquette and dealing with everyone at court. Thanks to the help of Lady Y'shennria, she manages to squeeze in as much knowledge as she can in a period of 3 days before being introduced to the Prince. It's hard work and so entertaining to read about, although at times painful since Zera would constantly have to battle with the heartless monster that she doesn't want to become.
Gosh, I just feel like gushing about this book! Honestly, I fell in love with Zera who is sassy, badass, and unflinchingly honest. I fell in love with the Prince who is more than what meets the eye. I enjoyed reading about the characters, Lady Y'shennria in particular who is willing to side with those she hates the most in order to stop a war. And most of all, I loved following Zera's quest to take back her heart, even when she finds herself risking more than just her own fate.
Bring Me Their Hearts is one of the best books I've read this year so far and one that had me reading well into the night. Cannot recommend it enough because not only does it introduces us to a fantastic yet dangerous new world, but it also gives us a heroine who despite being heartless, has the biggest heart of all. ?
Heartless are humans which have had their hearts removed and stored in jars by witches. They cannot be killed easily, as the connected witch can heal them immediately. The only way to kill a Heartless is to shatter their heart (kept safe in a jar by the witch) or to kill the witch that controls them. The Heartless have an appetite for death and struggle to fight this nature- eating raw animal organs helps to maintain their sanity. At the end of the day, the Heartless can be completely controlled by the witch who made them (orders must be followed). Occasionally, a witch will return their heart and they will become human again; however, during the time that they are Heartless, they are frozen in time, unable to age.
Zera became a Heartless when she was 16, and she and her merchant family were killed by thieves. Nightsinger, a witch, found her and made her Heartless, saving her life in a way- however, Zera sees being Heartless as a curse and would do anything to get her heart back. Nightsinger has two other Heartless, Crav and Peligli, also children who would have died without being turned into Heartless. When Zera is offered a bargain- steal the crown prince's heart (literally) in exchange for that of hers, Crav, and Peligli's- Zera is willing to do so.
However, things are not as simple as Zera had hoped, and Lucien is not as easy to hate as she would wish. As she becomes ingrained in the upper class society of the human realm, Zera finds that she may be more human than she previously thought. Filled with witty moments and stunning revelations, this book is one you shouldn't miss!
"Almosts, I'm starting to learn, are fuller of regret than absolutes- much sadder than certain yeses and nos. Yes and no mark ends and beginnings. But almosts cling, hovering on the boundary, never quite realized yet still there."
This book is a must-read! You won't regret picking up, and you'll be demanding book 2 as much as I am! Zera's journey is intense and wonderful with moments of love and humor so endearing you can't help but feel enthralled with the "monster" that is her Heartless. Not to mention all the incredible side characters that you will absolutely fall in love with, including her "auntie" and some of the other court schemers. This book is definitely one of my new favorites! I highly recommend.
Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.