Heart of the Impaler
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: December 7th 2021
Genres: Historical, Young Adult
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 is a young adult romance set during Vlad II Dracul's Ottoman crusade. This story is not historically accurate but does show the political upheaval of the region during the mid-15th century. I was probably most interested in the portrayal of how Vlad II maintained his power and ran his household. The point of view switches between Ilona, Vlad, and Andrei as they discover what love means. Ilona's character is sensible and caring. Andrei is loyal and brave; Vlad's character is power hungry and relentless. Vlad becomes more and more unhinged as he becomes closer to power and his violent temperament comes through. The writing did make some time jumps that glossed over important events and made me think I missed something. The ending does leave more to be discovered for Andrei, Vlad, and Ilona as they are left in a suspenseful state.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
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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.
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