Published by Swoon Reads on December 7, 2021
Ilona Csáki 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 her betrothed's cousin Andrei, and younger brother, 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.
In this dark, historical YA debut, two young men—one scarred and dutiful, the other wickedly magnetic—fall for the same young woman. But is it safe for her to love either of them back?
Heart of the Impaler is a young adult fantasy by Alexander Delacroix. I enjoyed this book, but I didn’t love it as much as I initially thought I would. The summary for Heart of the Impaler makes it seem like this is going to be a fantasy romance with an epic love triangle between two great friends. And then you throw in a betrothal to a third guy, and I was really pumped. I love some good love triangle action. And while all of that is true- there was a betrothal, and there was a love triangle between her Llona, her betrothed’s younger brother and the younger brother’s best friend, the story seemed much more focused on the political aspect of the warring factions than on the romance. And I wasn’t really invested in the love triangle aspect of the story. I liked one of the guys, barely saw the betrothed and strongly disliked the other guy from the very second meeting of him.
In Heart of the Impaler, my favorite character was our main character, Llona. I loved how strong she was and such an independent thinker. She was by far my favorite out of everyone. I also quite enjoyed Llona’s new friend Magda and the sweet Andrei. I was rooting for Andrei the entire time. Vlad creeped me out and seemed way too self centered for me to care about him as a love interest. I wasn’t connected to him at all. I was at their first encounter by by their second encounter it didn’t feel like he cared about who Llona was at all. (which might have been Alexander Delacroix’s point, I’m not really sure, but it did alienate me from enjoying Vlad’s side of the love triangle. Andrei was a winner for me though. He cared about Llona and getting to know her and her likes.
A large part of the story were the political tensions between Vlad and his family and between Vlad’s father and his enemies. That aspect of the plot kind of took over the story in my opinion, which leads me to believe that this book will resonate most with readers who enjoy political YA fantasy with action heavy plotlines. I think those readers will absolutely devour Heart of the Impaler. There are many darker themes of war and battle explored, and some of the characters are pretty grey/dark. I enjoyed those aspects of the story, but I did think they was a bit slow in parts. The book overall was an easy read that I finished in a couple of days. Overall, I thought Heart of the Impaler was a good read.
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